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Thread: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality

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    Re: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality


    Karira You are correct Though there is no difference between English and Hindi, But we should prefer english because it can been read by wide forum. Though Hindi is national as well as official language. still many parts of india cannot read it. Here we find citizen from entire nation and we should prefer English at least from those person who knows English.


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    Re: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality


    Many feel that the PIO and AA are guarded by the CIC too!?

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    Re: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality


    And sometimes the PIO has to take approval from from the same officer (FAA) to sent the RTI reply. Then how FAA can disagree with his junior when one files an appeal!!

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    Bimal Kumar Khemani
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    Re: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality



    As per the provisions of RTI Act the PIO is not supposed to take any approval of any one, who ever he is.
    All the officers even WE THE PEOPLE are accountable to the CONSTITUTION of our country
    BIMAL KUMAR KHEMANI
    a CONSUMER and RTI activist
    ALIGARH, U.P.
    ****************************
    Officially Certified A Grade by DoPT

    ****************************

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    Re: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality


    One of my basic suggestion is that change the official name of PIO to PIA to change the present attitude and behaviour of PIO with RTI applicants. Instead of Public Information Officer designation shall be Public Information Assistant. Becuase their basic duty is to help,guide and assist the RTI applicants

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    Re: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality


    My suggestion will be the First Appellate Authority and the PIO should not be from same office and it should be from higher office only. Else their is judgement is biased judgement.

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    Re: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality


    Major Impediments in the effective implementation of the Act:
    i) CPIOs are not made aware that they are the facilitator for Applicants to get as much information as possible from the concerned Public Authority for whom they are functioning as CPIOs. They behave as if Applicants are asking information from them, which they are forced to give by this Act. They generally give the information limited to their portfolio instead of collecting from all sources including the highest Public Authority of their Organization.
    ii) There are lot of practical difficulties in payment of fees and cost of information. Some sort of stamp, as done by Govt Of Maharashtra through Court Fee Stamp and accepting Applications/Appeals/Reminders etc at specified Post Offices, as done by Central Government should be done for all kinds of payments. All Banks, Post Offices and Govt Offices should be asked to accept payment/ Applications etc to ease the present practical difficulties.
    iii) Cost of information in many cases is Rs 2 or 4 or some such small amounts for which either Money Order or Demand Draft is to be sent or one has to go personally. When all the information asked from Govt Departments by letters is generally supplied free, why not give all information under this Act up to certain limit free. This will expedite the supply of information and avoid harassment of sending by M.O./DD etc. Some CPIOs are charging Rs 25 for sending intimation about details of cost and Rs 25 for sending one or two pages of information, though no rules for postage charges are laid down under powers under Sec 28 & 29 of the Act. Senior Citizens should be given information free.
    iv) According to Sec 7(2), if no reply is received within 30 days, it is to be treated as deemed to have refused. This provision creates confusion and requires to be scrapped. In each case, CPIO must give reply within 30 days.
    v) The present provision in Sec 5 to appoint as many officers as CPIOs/SPIOs by Public Authority results in to lot of confusion for general public. In one Public Authority, one Public Information Officer only should be allowed. This has been successfully adopted by Ministry of Railways at Board’s level as well as General Manager/Divisional Rail Manager etc level. All Public Authorities must follow this to avoid confusion about which Public Information Officer is to be contacted for which subject and most of the times; subjects of more than one department of the same PA are involved. Moreover, Public Information Officers do not transfer cases to concerned PIOs within 5 days as laid down in Sec 6(3), resulting in many complications, delay, payment of fees etc. Different PIOs of the same PA give reply for their portfolio and not on behalf of PA.
    vi) Most of the AAs call the Appellate & PIOs and give speaking orders after some time but without enforcing/ensuring the supply of information. Once they have passed orders, they do not bother further or take up with PIOs, as there is no punishment for them in Sec 20. Some AAs do not bother to reply Appeals. AAs being more senior officer must be made to get complete information from Public Information Officer/PA and supply to the Appellate instead of giving so called speaking order and waist time of 30/45 days. Responsibility of supplying information must be put on such Senior Officers instead of only giving speaking order, which is nothing but waste of energy & time.
    vii)CICs/SICs also call appellants and where they can not be present, give orders on the basis of what is told by CPIO/AA without studying requirement of Appellant. Just as there is aprovision of giving facility of Video Coferencing, there should be provision for Tele Conference at the time of Hearing in all cases, where Appellants are not able to be present and request for such Tele Conference. Internet is not used by most of the Ministries, Departments and no replies are given on internet, though asked. E/Mail addresses, full postal address with Pin Code, Tele Nos, Mobile nos etc and details of AA are not being given by most of the Public Information Officer/AAs. Reply by Speed Post reach after 5-7 days and by ordinary post by 10-15 days!! Such delays also are major impediments in using the Act. Replies by Public Information Officer/AA/SIC/CIC should be by speed post and not by ordinary post.
    viii) CIC/SICs do not give acknowledgements or Registration no for the Appeals and do not dispose of Appeals for months/years together. This is the worst kind of impediment. Time limit of 30/45 days must apply to them also. CIC has given ruling that cases of Senior Citizens should be given priority & finalized within 4 months of receipt. This Ruling is also not followed and cases of Senior Citizens also are pending with CIC/SICs for months/years together.
    ix) Instructions issued to PAs etc by CIC/SIC and other Authorities should be notified in Press/Media periodically and copies given to registered organizations of R T I like our organization, as all in our country do not have Computer. CIC/SIC should have no powers to overrule/sidetrack provisions of the Act-e.g. 1) Some orders are stated to have been issued to reject Appeals having some lacuna or not conforming to some provisions of the Act without informing to Appellants. All Appellants are not experts and some mistakes can be there, which can be rectified. 2) Not to transfer to concerned Public Information Officer under Sec 6(3). 3) Not to reply Applications containing why/what etc.

    Strengthening the Act and Amending the Act:
    i) The Preamble of the Act and Sec 4, especially 1(c & d) lay much emphasis on promoting transparency & accountability in the working of Every Public Authority, which should publish all relevant facts, while formulating policies/decisions and provide reasons for their all decisions. This Aim of the Act is not achieved, as definition of Information and other Sections restrict the giving of information, which is not in files/records. The following 2 examples shall clarify the point raised:-
    (a) Rule/orders exist for all Municipal Corporations that any portion of road dug for water, gas, phone etc should be restored to original position before leaving the place after completing the work. Information in respect of who dug, for what, measurements of the dug portion, money paid for digging etc is given but why it was not restored to original position by tarring and when it will be done, though months have passed after digging is not being given, as it is not available in file. Is the same PA not responsible to ensure that the road dug is restored to original position immediately or in reasonable time? Why should he not give information as to why it could not be done and now that it is brought out, when it will be done?
    (b) Committees are formed and asked to give recommendations within stipulated time but no target or time schedule is laid down for acceptance/rejection of recommendations. If information is asked about this from PA, the PA should apply its mind and give firm/likely targets/time schedule. A garden (any facility) is ready but not being inaugurated for so called administrative reasons for a year or more. Information except ``Administrative Reasons`` is not being given, as not available in file/records.
    ii) The Act should include the solving of grievances aspect to be effective, instead of having another Act for that purpose, as suggested by another Parliamentary Committee. To day, the Rule of ``Apply, Apply- NO Reply`` prevails with most of the PAs. There are no Grievance Cells or Ministries in many States. Working of Ministry of Administrative Reforms & P.G. at Delhi also does not help the Public to get relief to even small grievances. Here also, I shall give 2 examples and request to get the ACT amended to include the aspect of solving the Public Grievances:-
    (a) Maharashtra Housing & Area Development Board, a very big Public Organization in Maharashtra has provided a very good garden at Mira Road, a Suburb of Mumbai with good walking track, a covering hedge with various equipments for children and sufficient number of benches to sit but without light, though open from early morning 5 to late night 10. Large number of ladies, children & Senior Citizens are taking advantage of this facility. As it was found difficult and not desirable to have no lights, matter was represented repeatedly to the authorities. As there was no response to representations, matter was taken up under R T I on 1-5-2006. Reply was received on 15-6-06 that there is no provision to provide light. I talked to the concerned officers repeatedly and requested to provide 1 or 2 lights, as this does not require any specific provision or large funds but to no avail. I reported the matter to Ministry of A.R. & P.G. vide DARPG/E/2007/07477 on 25-10-07,which says they are not required to chase and I should deal with that authority. A simple case of providing one or two light in a garden provided at public cost of more than 2-3 lakhs!!
    (b) In Mira Road-Bhayander Area, rickshaws are not running on meter and exorbitant rates are charged even for short distances. No action is taken on large number of representations of citizens for last 4-5 years. Matter was repeatedly taken up under
    R. T. I. and stock reply is given that all rickshaws are running on meter as per Rates fixed. First Application under R.T.I. was to Collector, Thane on 1-5-06. Second was to RTO, Thane on 22-11-06, which came up for hearing before SIC, Mumbai on
    1-1-2008. Reply was given that as regards charging of fares by rickshaws according to meter, it was promised that necessary drive would be taken to enforce compliance. After written promise also, rickshaws are still running without charging as per meters, though all rickshaws are having meters and running on CNG. This matter was also reported to Min of AR&PG vide DARPG/E/2007/07480 dt 25-10-07 and is still pending with that highest Grievance Solving Machinery of the Country, which says they are not required to chase and I should deal with that authority.
    M.V.Ruparelia.

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    Re: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality


    Excellent post Mr Ruparelia. However, even President's helpline, the highest authority of our republic does not help in redressing the most serious grievance, rather advises to chase directly.
    aamaadmi

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