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Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Archive for the ‘Andhra Pradesh RTI’ Category

AP: RTI: departments come under scanner

Posted by rtiact2005 on November 1, 2006

RTI: departments come under scanner

Special Correspondent

http://www.hindu.com/2006/11/01/stories/2006110108330300.htm

 



CORNERED: State Information Commissioner R. Dileep Reddy grilling an official for not displaying circulars relating to the Right to Information in the office, on Tuesday.

 

 

TIRUPATI : State Information Commissioner R. Dileep Reddy has expressed his displeasure over the lack of proper response from the various Government departments in enforcing the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

During his surprise visit to a dozen departments in the town on Tuesday, he could hardly conceal his dismay over the `indifferent attitude’ of the departments even in displaying related circulars on notice boards of their respective offices.

Warned

 

At one stage he reportedly warned the officials concerned that they could be fined up to Rs.25,000 each for not displaying the circulars duly highlighting the 17 items on which public could seek information from them under the RTI. According to officials who accompanied the Commissioner, the latter was particularly unhappy with the Commercial Taxes office, office of the Executive Engineer (Roads and Buildings) and the E.E (Irrigation).

Posted in Andhra Pradesh RTI | 8 Comments »

Beware, Danger to democracy is lurking, Keep vigil and be ready to fight second War of Freedom:: Anna Hazare

Posted by rtiact2005 on September 28, 2006

From : Anna Hazare.

Beware, Danger to democracy is lurking, Keep vigil and be ready to 
fight second War of Freedom;

Britishers enacted, “The Official Secrets Act 1923” to systematically 
loot India. This law of Secrecy became major enemy of democracy and 
while snatching away freedom from people, it became a weapon in handful 
officials with power to inflict atrocities on citizens.  This Act should 
have been scrapped or drastically pruned on 26th January 1950, the day, 
we celebrated free India’s first Republic Day but unfortunately even 
after 59 years of Independence this Act is very much in full force. In 
the state of Maharashtra, .Several activists had to struggle hard to 
protect citizens from social injustice by forcing government to enact new 
laws of right to information, enhanced powers for Gram-Sabha, removal of 
administrative delays and laws regulating transfers of Government 
servants 

Right to Information Act did not remain limited only to the state of 
Maharashtra, but it became Law for the entire Nation and citizens started 
experiencing new found freedom by reaping benefit of this law. However 
this new law started pinching few people in government and under the 
garb of improving the law, they plotted to take away freedom of people. 
Fortunately the calamity has been temporarily averted, but the situation 
calls for alertness on the part of citizens, as the danger of sabotage 
is still lurking.  

Dangerous changes that were projected in the Act;

The Central Government contends that the Act of 2005 was enacted 
without provision for making the file notings available to citizens and that 
the government now intends for the first time to incorporate the same 
in the Act.  

Factual position;

Information has been defined in Sec 2 (f) of the Right to Information 
Act 2005 and it includes “Records” besides other Information listed 
therein. Sec 2 (i) defines “record” to 

include any document, manuscript or “File”. When considered to gather, 
above provisions clearly include file in the definition of 
“Information”. Notings being integral part of “file”, notings can not be excluded.  
When we talk of a “file” we mean complete file with notings made in the 
file, which can not be separated. There is a clear provision in the 
present law that the notings in the file are available to the people. 
There is no justification what so ever to amend the Act for making 
available the file notings related only to social and development work as 
envisaged. Few bureaucrats and politicians having ulterior motives, who have 
taken wrong and unjustifiable decisions during the past and have fear 
that they will get exposed, have started creating impression that such 
rights are not  in the basic Act and are therefore pressing for the 
amendment to deprive people of their rights. If such amendment is 
implemented it will mean we have accepted the amendment which provides file 
notings in respect of social and developmental work only and the 
bureaucrats and the government will deny information about other file notings to 
people on important matters. It is therefore essential that the 
proposed amendment should be resisted at each level and a mass upsurge from 
the citizens is required to block the ulterior motives of vested 
interests. It is therefore necessary to form committees in each village to 
protect Right to Information Act.

More over it is planned to increase the number of exclusions under sec 
8 (1). Presently there are 10 existing exclusion clauses in the 
original act, which the government plans to increase by three more, thereby 
diluting the Act and limiting the right of Information to the people. 
e.g. (1). the current Act clause 8 (1) (i) permits publications of 
decisions taken by the Council of Ministers and the material on which the 
decisions are based. However, after proposed amendment, such information 
may not be available to the people.

In fact the RTI 2005 Act provides that any information that is bound to 
be supplied to the Lok Sabha and Raj Sabha, cannot be denied to the 
people. That is why the proposed amendments are unjust and incorrect. If 
these amendments are passed, the Council of Ministers may take decisions 
at will and not be answerable to the people. e.g. if a particular 
agricultural land is sought for industrial use and the council of ministers 
decide to acquire the land for conversion in spite of resistance by the 
concerned farmers and adverse file notings by the district authorities, 
the fact of case will never be known since file notings will not be 
disclosed.  

(2) The government also intends to conceal details of opinion, legal 
advice and recommendations of experts or group of people who have 
examined a project/program related to social or development work, outside the 
preview of section 8. 

Such amendment is unfair and unjust since there should be no harm in 
providing information, if an individual or a group of people who have 
worked sincerely and have given their professional / legal opinion keeping 
in mind public interest. If proposed amendment is allowed to be passed, 
people will have to accept public losses based on dishonest 
recommendations.  

(3), u/s 8 (1) the government also plans to exclude information about 
examinations conducted by the public authorities for appointment / 
promotion of candidates to various posts in the government. Similarly 
information will also be denied about admission criteria to be applied for 
various educational courses.  

This amendment too is unjust. It may not be objectionable to deny 
information about deciding eligibility of the candidate in various 
competitive tests conducted by various bodies, but once results are declared 
there should not be any objection for a candidate to see answer books of 
candidate, who have scored higher marks.

This will help bring uniformity in marking system in the written 
examinations and prevent malpractice in allotment of marks to improve the 
standard of examining answer books. It is also necessary to know the basis 
of granting promotions because there usually are many complaints of 
corruption and dishonest means used in this process. It is essential to 
maintain transparency in such matters.  

It is astonishing that the government wishes to keep the admission 
process to various education institutes out side the purview of information 
Act. It Is known fact that millions of rupees are collected by the 
educational institutions for granting admission to management, medical and 
technical faculties. In such situation, keeping the information outside 
preview of RTI will encourage corruption. It is therefore necessary to 
oppose this amendment with full force. If this amendment is permitted, 
auction system will prevail in the education system in the private 
educational institutions that will make education a profitable business.

(4) Exception in section 8 (1) is also planned to prohibit supply of  
information regarding notings, extracts, hand written notes, files and 
legal opinion until final decision is taken in the matter and the issue 
is complete and over.  

If these amendments are passed, the RTI will loose its soul. Deliberate 
attempt will then be made to take away all the rights given to people 
by the original Act. It has been experienced that decisions in 
government offices are invariably delayed and their implementations are also 
deliberately delayed. Once this amendment is passed, the Ministers and 
bureaucrats will further delay their decision – some times indefinitely 
and take shelter under “the matter is under consideration”, for not 
supplying information. Possibility decision taking process will continue 
indefinitely. Therefore it is necessary to resist these amendments, in 
order to protect the Act and effectively check corruption.

(5) In order make impression that additional powers are to be granted 
to the Information Commissions, government propose to add two 
sub-sections in section 18. According to proposed sub section 18 (5), the 
commissions will be given more powers and responsibilities to make the Act 
more effective. However, actually the proposed sub section 18 (6) takes 
away most rights of the commission. The original Act provides authority 
to receive application if PIO or AA refuses to accept the same. The ICs 
in such cases can take cognizance of the complaints and impose fine 
where necessary, after enquiring in to the complaint. But due to the 
proposed amendment the rights of the commissions to take decisions on 
appeals and complaints will be taken away and mere recommendatory powers will 
be vested in the ICs. Final decision shall rest with the government 
making the Act tooth less.  

(6). Some PIOs have started misusing provision of sec 8 (1)j, to deny 
information on pretext that giving information concerning you also is 
not in public interest. 

Right to Information Act is vital for healthy democracy. Similarly the 
Acts like additional powers to Gram Sabha, delays in official matters 
and government officer’s transfer laws are also important.  If members 
of public are educated and awareness created about this Act, 75 to 80% 
corruption will go away and people will enjoy true democracy.  Youth is 
real power for nation and if every youth participates in national 
cause, the whole picture of nation will change within no time.

Embolden yourself to fight Second war for Freedom.

( I am already touring remote rural areas of Maharashtra to create 
awareness about the Right to Information Act 2005 from 14th September 2006  
to 9th November 2006. Please help me in my endeavor and kindly 
circulate this message widely) 

From:"ramesh wasudeo" <rameshw@rediffmail.com>
Date: 27 Sep 2006 15:30:49 -0000

mumbai tel : 022-2636 6251
           : 022-6693 8776 faxfon
roaming    : 98690 12351

Posted in Andhra Pradesh RTI, RTI Activists | 3 Comments »

Essay contest on RTI Act

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 22, 2006

Essay contest on RTI Act
Monday August 21 2006 12:56 IST

http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEA20060821023508&Title=

Southern+News+%2D+Andhra+Pradesh&rLink=0

VISAKHAPATNAM: Jana Chaitanya Vedika on Sunday organised an elocution and essay writing competition on the role of Right To Information (RTI) Act, 2005 at Vysakhi Jala Udyanavanam in the city.

On the occasion, former chief secretary to Government of India EAS Sarma delivered a lecture on various aspects of the act and its usefulness to the common man.

He said that by conducting such programmes, one would create awareness among the public on the RTI Act.

Also, success stories related to RTI Act would also help in its wide spread, he added.

Posted in Andhra Pradesh RTI | 3 Comments »

Project for effective implementation of RTI

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 30, 2006

Project for effective implementation of RTI

Staff Reporter


  • Centre decides to take it up in 24 districts in 12 States
  • Info Commissioner satisfied with the implementation of the Act in VMC

    VIJAYAWADA: The Centre has taken up a pilot project in 24 districts across 12 States for effective implementation of the Right to Information Act (RTI) by 2008, according to State Information Commissioner K. Sudhakar Rao.

    During his visit to several Government offices in the city to examine the implementation of the Act, Mr. Rao said that the Centre and the United Nations Development Programme had selected Hyderabad-based Centre for Good Governance and Pune-based Yashwanth Rao Chavan Academy of Development Administration as implementing agencies for the pilot project.

    Portal launch

    Training would be given to officials at the State and district level, representatives of civil society organisations and media persons to make them resource persons for better enforcement of the Act. Besides, a portal called R2I.net would be hosted, in addition to holding workshops and publishing booklets.

    Mr. Rao said both the Centre and the State Government were keen on implementing the Act in its true spirit. The State Information Commission had received 840 appeals so far, out of which 600 had been disposed of. He wanted the officials to try giving the information sought before the stipulated time frame. If the information sought was not immediately available, whatever was ready should be provided and the remaining be given later.

    Mr. Rao visited the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) and expressed satisfaction over the manner in which the Act was being implemented in the civic body. Of the two appeals that reached the State Information Commission against the order of the VMC, one was pending in the High Court and the other was being looked into. He suggested that the VMC’s website be linked to the district portal. In response to a point made by town planning officials that people were seeking building plans and layouts, Mr. Rao suggested that they be displayed at the public libraries and other offices. The Commissioner also visited the offices of VGTM-UDA, divisional forest officer, superintending engineer of irrigation, executive engineer of irrigation and deputy transport commissioner.

    Mr. Rao made no secret of his displeasure over the implementation of the Act when he paid a surprise visit on the office of deputy education officer. He wanted the manuals to be prepared in 15 days.

  • Posted in Andhra Pradesh RTI | Leave a Comment »

    “RTI Act one of the most radical pieces of legislation”

    Posted by rtiact2005 on July 25, 2006

    “RTI Act one of the most radical pieces of legislation”

    Staff Reporter

    http://www.hindu.com/2006/07/25/stories/2006072510760500.htm

    Right to Information Act is pro-development: Arha

     

     



    INFO CAMPAIGN: Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah (second from right) at the workshop on `Right to Information’ in Hyderabad on Monday. Others seen are (from right): Syed Hasnain and C.D. Arha. — Photo: Satish. H

     

     

    HYDERABAD: Private institutions that are “substantially-funded” by the Government and those governed by Indian laws are also liable to be covered under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, according to Chief Information Commissioner, Government of India, Wajahat Habibullah.

    Inaugurating a workshop on `Right to Information’ organised by the Academic Staff College of the University of Hyderabad on Monday, he described the RTI Act as one of the most radical pieces of legislation even if comparisons were drawn with matured democracies.

    He said that the implementation of the Act depended upon whether people wanted good governance and were ready to participate in the process of governance. At the same time, the RTI should not be an instrument of humiliating the Government.

    Mr. Habibullah said enormous amount of awareness was needed across the country on the Act and how to use it, as very few people made use of its provisions.

    He said the Official Secrets Act had always been undemocratic and draconian and the RTI Act would rectify these shortcomings.

    Answering a question from the audience about reports of dilution of the RTI provisions, he said that the Commission was only concerned with what the Parliament had passed.

    State Chief Information Commissioner C.D. Arha said it was important for Government employees not to view the RTI Act as an adverse legislation that would affect their interests or functioning. “The act is pro-development”, he added.

    The University Vice-Chancellor Syed E. Hasnain spoke. P. K. Mohanty, Director, Centre for Good Governance, M. Narayana Rao, Director, Marri Channa Reddy Institute for Human Resources Development, Jayaprakash Narayan, founder Lok Satta and Siddarth Varadarajan, Deputy Editor, The Hindu were among those who participated in various sessions.

    Posted in Andhra Pradesh RTI | Leave a Comment »

    SVU in a fix over RTI Act implementation

    Posted by rtiact2005 on July 21, 2006

    SVU in a fix over RTI Act implementation

    Staff Reporter

    http://www.hindu.com/2006/07/21/stories/2006072111650300.htm

    Information Commissioner issues summons to Registrar

    TIRUPATI: The top brass of Sri Venkateswara University is in a fix over providing information to an employee, who is presently under suspension.

    The vacillation on the issue has landed Registrar N. Prabhakar Rao in trouble as the Information Commissioner has issued summons asking him to appear before the commission on July 28.

    The authorities would have had the last word under normal circumstances, but university engineer Ravi Shankar, who is presently under suspension, sought vital information under Right to Information Act. The details pertained mostly to the alleged irregularities in his very department.

    When the university did not act, he moved the appellate authority, who is the Vice-Chancellor himself. When there was still no action, he moved the Information Commissioner, who ultimately issued summons.

    ___________________________________________

    Posted in Andhra Pradesh RTI | Leave a Comment »

    Right to Information to go down to grassroots: Commissioners

    Posted by rtiact2005 on July 20, 2006

    Right to Information to go down to grassroots: Commissioners

    Staff Reporter

    http://www.hindu.com/2006/07/20/stories/2006072003180200.htm

    State Information Commissioners to review implementation

     

     

     

    KARIMNAGAR: State Information Commissioners R Dileep Reddy and A Subba Rao had said that they will conduct review meetings in selected revenue divisions in the next three to four months about the implementation of Right to Information Act.

    Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, the Information Commissioners have said that they had already reviewed the implementation of Right to information Act in all the 23 districts and observed that there was awareness among the urban public about the Act. Stressing on the need to spread the message of the Act to grassroot level, they said that they will play a proactive role for the implementation of the Right to Information Act.

    The Commission was taking all necessary steps to compile petitions received from the people and submit an annual report to the State Assembly by November this year. The Commission was constituted in the month of November, 2005 but the Right to Information Act has been implemented in the State from October 12 onwards.

    The Commissioners urged the people to pressurize officials to extract the necessary information required under the Act. If the officials failed to provide information, the people could approach the Commission for redressal of grievance.

    Earlier, at a review meeting with the district officials they had instructed the authorities to prepare manuals, in Telugu also, under the Right to information Act by August 15. .

    Posted in Andhra Pradesh RTI | 1 Comment »

    Government push needed in AP

    Posted by rtiact2005 on July 11, 2006

    Government push needed in AP

    KVVV CHARYA & SATYA NAAGESH AYYAGARY

    Posted online: Monday, July 10, 2006 at 0000 hours IST

    http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=133374

    According to Chief Information Commissioner CD Arha, “the implementation of RTI in some offices is extremely satisfactory,” but not so in others.The RTI Act is now being implemented across the state and all administrative offices have designated public information officers, as mandated in the Act. While the Act came into force in September 2005, the government was able to provide the required machinery, including the appellate state commission, only by November 2005. The government has also enacted legislation making it mandatory for the administration to provide information online.

    The real transformation has to come from officialdom, by accepting the need for a paradigm shift in their working. Interestingly, a large chunk of the applications (about 80%) received are from within the establishment, seeking to know about promotion files, allotment of office quarters and sundry other personal issues among officials. “This is my greatest concern,” says Arha. Though the applications are legitimate and they have a right to this information, the RTI Act has to be extensively used by the general public, he felt.

    On the other hand, Jayaprakash Narayan, national coordinator, Lok Satta, an NGO which initiated an extensive campaign—including TV capsules, radio spots and other communication channels — to bring awareness and educate the public about the RTI before it become an Act, says he is distressed at the lack of proper implementation. According to him, while the Act clearly says that almost 95% of the information should be in the public domain and some others on demand, it is not happening in the state. “Pro-active information disclosure is not happening.”

    According to an official, another type of information being sought by some members of the public is on land records, especially in the wake of a sudden jump in land prices all over. But the departments concerned are in a fix, being unable to furnish information within the stipulated 30 days, as records are scattered in different locations and are also in bad physical condition.

    Narayan says it should now be the efforts of the government and not that of civil society groups, to implement the RTI Act in spirit. He rues that at the moment it is legal-centric rather than citizen-centric. Also, people do not know where many of the departments are. So, there is an urgent need for a ‘single window’ where citizens can approach for processing the requests. The government also needs to make a uniform format and also communicate it to the public extensively through the media, which should do it as a public service.

    Posted in Andhra Pradesh RTI | 1 Comment »

    Dilip not happy over RIA implementation

    Posted by rtiact2005 on June 25, 2006

    Dilip not happy over RIA implementation
    Sunday June 18 2006 12:11 IST

     http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEA20060618015014&Topic=0&Title=Southern%20News%20-%20Andhra%20Pradesh&Page=A

    NARASARAOPET: State Information Commissioner Dilip Reddy has expressed dissatisfaction over the implementation of the Right to Information Act in government offices at Chilakaluripet and Narasaraopet towns. However, he made an exception to the municipal offices.

    Dilip Reddy, who was on a visit to the town on Saturday, went round different government offices in Narasaraopet and Chilakaluripet and reviewed implementation of the Act.

    While he was making surprise checks in the town, the commissioner had irksome experience at DSP office. Met by DSP B H Pridhvinarayana, Dilip Reddy posed some questions about the manual, which denotes officers’ duties and responsibilities, and also provisions of section 4/B of the act, the former cut a sorry face. However, DSP conveyed his regrets and assured to study the Act thoroughly.

    Dilip Reddy instructed all officials to display basic provisions of the Act in Telugu in their respective offices. RDO M Raghava Rao and MRO Bapi Reddy accompanied the commissioner.

    Posted in Andhra Pradesh RTI | Leave a Comment »

    `RTI Act enhances the role of media’

    Posted by rtiact2005 on June 17, 2006

    `RTI Act enhances the role of media'

    Staff Reporter

    http://www.hindu.com/2006/05/30/stories/2006053015960300.htm

    ADILABAD: Information Commissioner R. Dileep Reddy of the Andhra Pradesh Right to Information (RTI) Commission on Monday said the RTI Act, 2005 did not usurp the media's function to disseminate information on all issues concerning the common man. On the contrary it enhances the role of media in the gamut of dissemination of information, he claimed.

    Substantiating his contention here, Mr. Reddy said that the existence of the RTI Act put more responsibility on the media for correct reportage. Mr. Reddy and his colleague Information Commissioner K. Sudhakar Rao were on a visit to Adilabad to review the implementation of RTI Act in Government offices. The RTI Commission wanted the Act to be implemented in all its provisions by June 15.

    Posted in Andhra Pradesh RTI | 1 Comment »

     
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