<TABLE width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top>No money spent on advertisement of RTI Act
</TD></TR><TR><TD>Monday - Jun 18, 2007</TD></TR><TR><TD class=sb13 vAlign=top>Televisionpoint.com Correspondent
The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, launched with fanfare by the Congress-led UPA government, is suffering from paucity of funds.
An application filed under the RTI has revealed that the government has not spent a single penny on the advertisement of RTI Act, 2005, in the year 2006-07. A meagre amount of Rs 12,98,169 was spent in the year 2005-06 on RTI advertisement by the directorate of advertising and visual publicity (DAVP) from funds allocated to it by the ministry of information and broadcasting.
In reply to an RTI application seeking details of how much amount was spent by the government to spread awareness of RTI Act, 2005, through print and electronic media in the year 2006-07, DAVP, the nodal multimedia advertising agency of the government, has replied saying that it had "issued two advertisements in the year 2005-06 amounting to Rs 12,98,169 from funds allocated to it by ministry of I&B".
DAVP carried out these advertisements only twice, once in October 2005 and once in May 2006, as part of the government's awareness campaign for the RTI Act, 2005.
"However, no amount was spent on advertisement on RTI Act, 2005, in the year 2006-07," DAVP confesses.
To a question on whether any directions have been issued to all the chief secretaries of the states by the government to carry on the RTI awareness campaign through district magistrates, DAVP has said that it is not aware of any such directions. DAVP also has 'no information' of how much funds have been allocated by the government for the purpose of spreading the awareness programmes of RTI Act 2005 nationwide.
As far as the government's efforts are concerned for spreading awareness of the RTI Act to farflung areas and villages in the country, DAVP responds saying that, "AIR's Vividh Bharti has a reach in far-flung areas of the country.
I am personally of the opinion that the media are the only beneficiaries of Government funds! It does nothing for the benefit of citizens in general if Government spends its scarce resources on this through advertising budgets as all ministries and departments have a role to play!
A good media person anyway benefits by getting news items! They should try and spread the message as a social service and not expect Government handouts!
The Government can give necessary information of various departments by using modern technology and freely making available allk non-secret information on Websites of various departments! Simply by updating sites most useful information can be widely disseminated!Cost also would be minimal! Big budgets are not necessary fore every action! It is the necessary political will that is lacking!
Hari Gautam Obhrai.