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Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Archive for the ‘ORISSA RTI’ Category

Got job cards using RTI

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 1, 2006

Got job cards using RTI

After returning from the camp organised in Bhubaneswar on ‘National campaign against Bribe using of Right to Information’ Mr. Dhaneswar Patra of Seva Bharati tried to experiment the use of RTI in his own area. He along with the members of ‘Jalaitamu Mahasangha’- the people’s network there, approached the BDO of Tumudibandha block of Kandhamal district of Orissa to know the following information:
(a)   List of all the names registered under NREGA in the Tumudibandh block.
(b)   How many job cards have been released by the block to Mundigarh panchyat
(c)   When job cards will be given to the people of the area
(d)   The work plans under NREGA for the financial year 2006-07 of the whole block.

The applicants reminded the BDO of his obligation of making suo motu disclosure under section-4 of RTI act.
The BDO quickly responded and visited the Mundigarh Panchayat the very next day and promised to release five hundred job cards within two days and the rest eventually. He promised to make available all the information sought and asked for the cooperation of the community to complete the registration and distribution of job cards under NREGA.

This is one of the few examples which proved the efficacy of the RTI as in instrument in getting the legitimate demands of the public fulfilled.

Regards
Pradeep Baisakh

Posted in ORISSA RTI | 2 Comments »

Orissa Campaign for Right to Information: A Victory small, but significant Right to Food Campaign, Orissa

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 17, 2006

Dear friends
Below is the one year campaign on Right to Information in Orissa. As many memebres have always shared their ideas on RTI in Agame Oridda Yahoo group, I do share the status of campaign in our beloved state.
With regards
Pradip Pradhan

Orissa Campaign for Right to Information: A Victory small, but significant
Right to Food Campaign, Orissa

Recognising the unique importance of Right to Information as a transformative tool for bringing about a transparent, responsible and responsive system of governance in the poor and backward society of Orissa, the Orissa Right to Food Campaign, an informal network of activist groups launched a State-wide campaign for ensuring a proper operationalisation of the RTI Act 2005 soon after it was notified on the Gazette of India in June 2005 last. In keeping with its strategy to mobilise as many civil society groups as possible in the campaign process, the Orissa Right to Food Campaign encouraged the formation and growth of an open-ended platform to spearhead the campaign for RTI covering the whole State. The specific objectives of the campaign were (a) to contribute to the advocacy efforts then going on at national level for pressing the Central Government to frame citizen-friendly rules as mandated by the Central Act; and more importantly (b) to effectively lobby with the State Government of Orissa to make the State rules under the Act as much pro-poor as possible keeping in view the interest of the overwhelming bulk of State’s population.

The campaign was formally launched from a two-day State level Seminar held at Capital city of Bhubaneswar on 12/13th September 05, in which articulate representatives from cross-sections of society, legislators, bureaucrats, legal experts, academia, NGOs, Panchayat leaders and media persons etc. took active part. From the rostrum of the Seminar and in a pre-emptive bid, a comprehensive Memorandum was addressed to both Central Govt and State Government of Orissa to ensure that the rules to be framed by each Government should perfectly accord with the letter and spirit of the historic law. The said Memorandum did also call upon all the public authorities at Central and State level to make proactive disclosure of 17 categories of essential information in a manner accessible to the public as required under Section 4 of the Act. Yielding to the combined advocacy at national level, the Central Government, which had fixed a tall fee of Rs.20/- against each succeeding hour of inspection following the first hour that was free, drastically reduced it to Rs.5/- only.

However, the Campaign faced a formidable challenge to its mission when the Government of Orissa announced on 7th October 05 a set of Rules that ran diametrically counter to the very basic mandates of the Act. Not only the various fees prescribed by it were exorbitantly high, so to say the highest in India, but also its entire corpus of provisions were found to be ultra vires the mother law and out and out anti-people. For instance, as for the fees, a page of xerox would cost Rs.5/-, a page of computer print-out Rs.10/- and a CD/Floppy Rs.100/- whereas the respective fees at Central level were Rs.2/-, Rs.2/- and Rs.50/- only. As for the inspection fee, the Central Rule made the 1st hour free and charged only Rs.5/- against each succeeding hour, whereas Orissa charged Rs.15/- against each hour from the start. When the Centre in complying to the injunctions of the mother Act didn’t charge any appeal fee at all, Orissa charged Rs.40/- against 1st appeal and Rs.50/- against the 2nd appeal. Further, the Orissa Rules contained some draconian provisions too, which had no parallel anywhere. For instance, an applicant seeking information in the shape of a sample has to pay the damage of the entire structure from which the sample is collected, if the said damage be caused during the collection of sample sought. Similarly, an appellant has to deposit in advance the expenditure to be incurred for production of witness and evidence before the Information Commission, otherwise his appeal won’t be entertained. Again, the most detestable provision made under Orissa RTI Rules was the Rule-13, which said that if an applicant failed to pay any dues within 30 days of the notice to that effect, it would be realized by way of recovery of arrears of land revenue, which meant that his property may be confiscated and auctioned off for the purpose, or alternatively he may have to undergo civil imprisonment ranging from 6 weeks to 6 months. Besides the formats for application, intimation, rejection and appeal were also so ill-designed as to circumscribe an average citizen’s legitimate right to approach any public authority under State Government for accessing the information or approach the State Information Commission for disposal of his/her complaint and appeal. Of all, the Application Form was the worst one. While the Central Act specifically prohibited the public authorities from asking the applicant about any personal information, the Application Form under Orissa Rules contained certain columns (such as name of father/spouse, permanent address and identity as a citizen) which, ironically enough, demanded informations which were outright personal in nature.
Another provision that makes the Orissa Rules largely unworkable is the single mode of payment, that is by cash only (not through MO or Cheque etc.), against the information to be supplied by the PIO. In practical terms, it means that even if a person applies for information from afar through post, he or she has to travel all the way from his/her location to the concerned public office, only to deposit the fee by cash towards the cost of information. Under the circumstances, the Campaign soon resolved to focus all its energy to make the broad mass of people across the State aware about the ‘illegitimate’ and ‘absurd’ nature of the provisions so made under the Orissa RTI Rules and thereby build up a pressure of civil society on the State Government to make amends.

To spread the message of the campaign, a bunch of bilingual publications (both in English and Oriya) were made such as:

1) RTI Act 2005, Central Rules and Central Appeal Rules,
2) The Template for Information Handbook under Section 4(1b) of the Act,
3) The RTI Act from the civil society perspective,
4) Orissa RTI Rules 2005, Why Absurd and Illegitimate?

The last named book that contained an in-depth and discrete clause-by-clause treatment of the Orissa RTI Rules along with contributions from eminent RTI protagonists like Aruna Roy, Maza Daruwalla and Shailesh Gandhi could bring round the mainstream intelligentsia of the State to the campaign’s critical position on the Orissa Rules. To carry the message of our campaign further across to other States and networks at national level, a website was also launched at http://www.orissarti.com and the events and memoranda of the campaign were displayed there for perusal by all.

Finding that the route of Section-6 of RTI Act has been practically rendered inaccessible and risky for a common citizen in the peculiar context of Orissa, the Campaign explored the alternative route of Section 4 to enable the people from all walks of life to get whatever information they wanted from a public office, and that too instantly and without having to submit any application or fees whatsoever. In fact the Section 4(4) of the Act enjoins upon each public authority to provide all proactively disclosed information free of cost or at their cost price, due to be prescribed by an appropriate Government. Since neither the Centre nor the State of Orissa prescribed any fee under Section 4(4), logically it becomes the duty of each public authority concerned to provide the said kinds of information for free to the desirous citizens. Moreover the Section 4(2) of Act mandated that each public authority ought to disclose liberally as much information as possible through the modality of Section 4, so that the people won’t have to invoke the other provisions of this law to obtain information. All these nitty-gritty were explained in detail to the groups of activists in series of training programmes held in quick succession across the State. On the closing day of each programme the trainees conducted experimental visit to the public offices to field-test their newly acquired knowledge on Section 4. In most of the cases they succeeded in obtaining the information they wanted on the same day without having to make any application or payment. This wonder experiment to get instant and free information from any public office on an oral demand, which was liked particularly by the poor and illiterate people of Orissa, and is perhaps the first of its kind ever conducted in the country went hand in hand with the broader campaign demanding a drastic overhaul of the State Rules which was ultra vires the RTI Act. And this double-pronged movement is still the dominant pattern along which the Campaign around RTI moves forward throughout the State.

Recognising the role of legislators in influencing the process of rule-making by the Government, the Campaign convened a Consultation with MLAs to convince them of the illegitimate and anti-poor nature of the Orissa RTI Rules and also canvassed them individually from house to house for the purpose. As a result, 11 MLAs all belonging to ruling BJD-BJP coalition (none from opposition was present then due to the boycott of Assembly by them on other grounds) rose in one voice on the floor of Assembly on 3rd April 06 to demand a thoroughgoing amendment of the notified Rules. Though the MLAs had suggested an alternative set of draft rules quite in line with the Campaign’s perspective, the Minister of State for Information and Public Relations in responding to the 3-hour marathon debate so held announced impromptu that the Orissa RTI fees would be reduced to bring the same in correspondence with the Central pattern and a few more discrepancies would be sorted out from the Orissa Rules.

As per the Notification made on 30 May 06 in Orissa Gazette, the cost of xerox or computer print-out of a page of A/4 or A/3 size would be Rs.2/- only in place of Rs.5/- and Rs.10/- respectively and that of a CD or Floppy Rs.50/- only as against the earlier Rs.100/-. The fees for 1st appeal and 2nd appeal would henceforth be Rs.20/- and Rs.25/- in place of Rs.40/- and Rs.50/- respectively. As for inspection, the first hour would be free, and Rs.20/- is to be charged for each succeeding hour, whereas earlier the inspection used to cost Rs.15/- per hour from the start itself. Moreover, a printed publication would now cost only the pre-fixed price, irrespective of its number of pages, whereas as per the earlier norm it would have cost at the rate of Rs.2/- per page towards xerox charges.

Another significant feature of the Amended Orissa RTI Rules is its spacious provision for allowing the visitors to access and inspect the proactively disclosed information as required under Section 4 of the Act. Moreover, the amended Rules does also provide that each public authority shall maintain the registers for recording the particulars of the persons seeking or inspecting information along with the fees collected from them, and the said registers shall remain always open to inspection by the public. Another amendment has sought to rectify an important omission in the original Rules. The applicant while filling up the Application Form shall additionally mention whether he or she wants the information through email.

Another Notification under RTI Act that was published in Orissa Gazette in March 2006 concerned the Orissa Information Commission (Appeal Procedure) Rules 2006. It is interesting to observe that while the Rule 12 of Orissa RTI Rules had provided for advance deposit of expenditure for evidence/witness etc. by the appellant himself, the Appeal Procedure Rules didn’t mention any reference to it, implying that the Commission was not serious about the earlier provision made under the original Rules. Moreover, the Appeal Rules appear to be the sanest of all Rules made so far by the Government of Orissa under the RTI Act. Its provisions including even the very words and expressions used therein are almost similar to those found in Central Appeal Rules, of course with only one significant and welcome exception. Unlike the Central Appeal Rules where there is no separate mention of Complaint under Section 18 of RTI Act, the Orissa Appeal Rules has made an explicit and elaborate provision for it (vide Rule 6). Under the new dispensation, a person can now lodge a direct complaint before the Orissa Information Commission under Section 18 of the Act, without having to pay any appeal fee whatsoever, since the appeal fees prescribed by Orissa RTI Rules are required to be paid only when one goes for 1st or 2nd appeal under Section 19 of the RTI Act, not for any complaint under Section 18.

Despite such amendment, the Orissa RTI Rules still remains afflicted with its original pathological character. So long the procedure to apply remains flawed, obstructive and skewed against the average citizen, the common people of Orissa won’t be able to exercise their right to information easily and smoothly as required under the RTI Act, no matter the various fees have been almost halved and appeal rules liberalised. The major omissions and commissions of the Orissa RTI Rules, which the Campaign had identified in the beginning and which still stamp these Rules as ultra vires the mother law do stare the RTI activists all over in face and continue to beckon all of us to carry the ongoing struggle forward to its logical culmination. The recent series of amendment of Orissa RTI Rules, which is but a small victory of the voice of civil society as articulated through our campaign, signifies however the promise that the said Rules may and shall one-day be fully re-written in tune with the civil society’s legitimate aspirations, provided we keep on flying the flag of the Campaign in the face of any odd whatsoever.

Prepared by
Chitta Behera M-98610-91455
Pradip Pradhan M- 99378-43482

From: “TheHumanity Humanity” <thehumanity@rediffmail.com>  
Date: 16 Jul 2006 05:50:22 -0000

Posted in ORISSA RTI | 1 Comment »

RSP officer makes mockery of right to information Act

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 17, 2006

RSP officer makes mockery of right to information Act
Aurobinda Das | Rourkela
Rourkela Steel Plant’s public information officer has been absent from his office, making the mockery of Right to Information Act 2005. It may be mentioned that to make governance more transparent and accountable, the Right to Information Act 2005 was implemented by the Centre and all State Governments from October 12, 2005. This act is applicable to all Government and Government-aided organisations.
 
As per the act, to make information easily accessible by the public each organisation has to appoint a public information officer, before whom general public can address their grievances directly. Accordingly, the plant authorities appointed a public information officer (PIO) in the rank of DGM, but that officer and his subordinates sit in the plant’s main administrative building, making difficult for ordinary man to access them.
 
Therefore a person desiring to meet the officer has to pay unnecessary postal / courier charges for submitting his application. The complainant is deprived of getting even an acknowledgement notification. Not only this the provision of the Act provides if an illiterate person wants some information then he can take the help of the officer in filling up his application, but it would be impossible in case of Rourkela Steel Plant.
 
The act also prescribes a fee of Rs 10 as application money for getting information. According to Gazette notification of Sep 16, 2005 for providing the information under sub-section (1) of section 7, the fee shall be charged by way of cash against proper money receipt or by demand draft or bankers cheque payable to the account officer of the public authority and as per the gazette notification of May 17, 2006 IPO is also permissible. But in case of Rourkela Steel Plant, the PIO only entertains demand draft or bankers cheque and the provision for receiving cash.

Posted in ORISSA RTI | 4 Comments »

Anti-bribe campaign in Orissa is in full swing

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 14, 2006

Anti-bribe campaign in Orissa is in full swing

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bhubaneswar
: A massive nationwide awareness-cum-assistance campaign program called the “Drive against Bribe through use of Right to Information” started from 1st July 2006 to 15th July 2006 in forty eight cities of the country at the same time. In Orissa,
Bhubaneswar
was chosen as the place for this campaign program. A group of NGOs under the banner of “Orissa Soochna Adhikar Abhijan” launched the campaign here. The NGOs are : CYSD, Orissa Jagaran Abhiyan (OJA) , ODAF, Sahavagi Vikas Abhiyan, RCDC, Utkal Sewak Samaj, Task Force on Women and Violence, AGRAGAMEE, Abhiyan, The Humanity, SODA, NYK, NSS, OLS-Awareness, ADHIKAR, NIPIDIT, BGVS, Indian Red Cross,  Natya Chetana, Prajna Sathi Abhiyan, CHETABANI, DAGAR, Yusuf Meheraulli Centre, ISD etc. The campaign is in full swing in
Bhubaneswar
.

A rally was organized on 10th of July 2006. As many as 320 volunteers took part in the rally from Vani Vihar to PMG chowk. Jagadananda, Secretary of CYSD and D.N.Padhi, Chief Information Commissioner of Orissa addressed the rally at the end point.

Peculiar cases relating to Indira Awas, Pesions, Land disputes, Passports, B.P.L. Cards, electricity bills etc are coming to the camp. Some of the peculiar cases are mentioned below:

The PIO at Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, Mr. Patnaik demanded a sum of Rs. 20/- as the application fee irrespective of people belonging to the BPL list. He said that their office has not received any circular regarding the revised fee structure even though the fee structure has been revised vide IPR department letter no.-S.R.O. No. 251/2006 dated 29th May 2006.

Rourkela

Municipality

officials refused to accept the application forms under RTI.

Similarly

Nayagarh

Municipality

officials do not have an idea about RTI.

One gentleman, Mr. Sarat Padhi deposited a sum of Rs. 1 lakh as the first installment and then Rs. 85,000/- as the second installment to purchase a house at Kalinga Nagar from BDA. He withheld the payment of subsequent installments in apprehension, as he did not receive the receipt slips of the first two installments about which he duly intimated the BDA vide a letter and the letter is also there with BDA. He requested for the receipt slips a number of times but in vein. After a span of around 6 years, BDA sent a receipt slip of the first installment. After being convinced about the deposit of the money, Mr. Padhi deposited the rest of the amount in full. Now the BDA is asking Mr. Panda to deposit an interest of around 6 lakhs to get the house.

45 labourers representing 428 labourers of Balugaon sub-division in Khurda returned back satisfied from the 15-day Right To Information awareness-cum-assistance camp at CYSD. Apart from being told about their rights as citizens of the country, the labourers were also given information on issues related to pending bills and compensatory packages for those working abroad, particularly in Kuwait.

People who have not received their BPL cards are coming in large numbers with their grievances.

People have not received their passport in the stipulated time period and coming with their grievances.

“In all these cases, we are trying to facilitate as to how people should fill up the application form with right kind of questions, which would enable them get the right information within the stipulated time limit” says Mr Nishikant Mohapatra, the State Coordinator of the campaign.

“We have a number of cases being registered daily but successful cases can only be noted when we follow up the cases in the immediate future. In this national level campaign, we get to know about successful stories of people from other parts of the country, particularly
Delhi
, Maharastra etc. The reason being that Right to Information is quite popular in those places and even prior to the RTI Act 2005, they had their own set of rules on RTI. People in those places are more aware in comparison to places like Orissa, where we have started operating since last nine months only. Therefore, this awareness cum assistance campaign formally paves the way for a bigger and continuous campaign across the state in the most immediate future .” says Dr Srimat Roy, an active volunteer of the campaign .

Tapan, Nirupama, Rita, Sujata, Madhu, Namita, Anita are some of the volunteers who are guiding the members of public in filing RTI forms to redress their grievances.

Report by Pradeep Baisakh

Posted in ORISSA RTI | Leave a Comment »

Orissa anti-bribery camp-update

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 11, 2006

The table below lists out the detailed data regarding the cases in the camp till 10th July

DAY WISE RTI CASES IN THE CAMPAIGN PROCESS

SL. NO.
DATE
TOTAL VISITORS
CASES REGISTERED
PHONE CALLS RECEIVED
VOLUNTEERS DEPLOYED
1
1/7/06
105
24
40
38
2
2/7/06
27
22
30
37
3
3/7/06
53
26
29
37
4
4/7/06
62
37
35
35
5
5/7/06
42
24
24
26
6
6/7/06
94
51
21
32
7
7/7/06
121
29
20
30
8
8/7/06
93
27
19
29
9
9/7/06
37
28
17
30
10
10/7/06
153
48
29
70
11
Total
787
316
264
364

SL. NO.
TYPES OF CASES REGISTERED
NUMBERS      1
Problems relating to BPL card    82
2
Problems relating to pension and gratuity
67
3
Problems relating to lands
27
4
Problems relating to transfer of employees
21
5
Problems relating to old age and widow allowances
12
6
Problems relating to sanitation in slum areas (Municipality)
20
7
Problems relating to expectation of bribe
17
8
Problems relating to non payment of dues
22
9
Problems relating to passport    09
10
Problems relating to loans
13
11
Others
26

The rally was organized on 10th of July 2006. As many as 320 volunteers took part in the rally from Vani Vihar to PMG chowk. D.N.Padhi, Chief Information Commissioner of Orissa addressed the rally at the end point.

Peculiar cases relating to Indira Awas, Pesions, Land disputes, Passports, B.P.L. Cards, electricity bills etc are coming to the camp. Some of the peculiar cases are mentioned below:

The PIO at Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, Mr. Patnaik demanded a sum of Rs. 20/- as the application fee irrespective of people belonging to the BPL list. He said that their office has not received any circular regarding the revised fee structure even though the fee structure has been revised vide IPR department letter no.-S.R.O. No. 251/2006 dated 29th May 2006.
Rourkela Municipality officials refused to accept the application forms under RTI.
Similarly Nayagarh Municipality officials do not have an idea about RTI.
One gentleman, Mr. Sarat Padhi deposited a sum of Rs. 1 lakh as the first installment and then Rs. 85,000/- as the second installment to purchase a house at Kalinga Nagar from BDA. He withheld the payment of subsequent installments in apprehension, as he did not receive the receipt slips of the first two installments about which he duly intimated the BDA vide a letter and the letter is also there with BDA. He requested for the receipt slips a number of times but in vein. After a span of around 6 years, BDA sent a receipt slip of the first installment. After being convinced about the deposit of the money, Mr. Padhi deposited the rest of the amount in full. Now the BDA is asking Mr. Panda to deposit an interest of around 6 lakhs to get the house.
45 labourers representing 428 labourers of Balugaon sub-division in Khurda returned back satisfied from the 15-day Right To Information awareness-cum-assistance camp at CYSD. Apart from being told about their rights as citizens of the country, the labourers were also given information on issues related to pending bills and compensatory packages for those working abroad, particularly in Kuwait.
People who have not received their BPL cards are coming in large numbers with their grievances.
People have not received their passport in the stipulated time period and coming with their grievances.

In all these cases, we are trying to facilitate as to how people should fill up the application form with right kind of questions, which would enable them get the right information within the stipulated time limit. We have a number of cases being registered daily but successful cases can only be noted when we follow up the cases in the immediate future. In this national level campaign, we get to know about successful stories of people from other parts of the country, particularly Delhi, Maharastra etc. The reason being that Right to Information is quite popular in those places and even prior to the RTI Act 2005, they had their own set of rules on RTI. People in those places are more aware in comparison to places like Orissa, where we have started operating since last nine months only. Therefore, this awareness cum assistance campaign formally paves the way for a bigger and continuous campaign across the state in the most immediate future.

PLACE OF THE CAMP  CYSD, E-1, Institutional Area, Gangadhar Meher Marg, Bhubaneswar– 751013, Orissa.
CONTACT  Tel.:- 0674-301725, 2301339, 2300774. Fax:- 674-2301226.
MOBILE: – 9937533730, 9861117243, 9937997853.

Prepared by Srimat

Posted in ORISSA RTI | 1 Comment »

Anti-bribe drive a success – ORISSA RTI

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 9, 2006

Anti-bribe drive a success

http://www.dailypioneer.com/indexn12.asp?main_variable=BHUBANESWAR&file_name=bhub13%2Etxt&counter_img=13

Pioneer News Service | Bhubaneswar
As part of the nationwide ‘Drive Against Bribe’ launched in 46 cities on July 1, 45 labourers representing 428 labourers of Balugaon sub-division in Khurda returned from a 15-day Right To Information awareness-cum-assistance campaign. Apart from being told of their rights as citizens of the country, the labourers were also imparted information on issues related to pending bills and compensatory packages for those working abroad, particularly in Kuwait. The camp at the CYSD was held to train a sample population of labourers would go back home and train others on their rights and benefits of the RTI.

Posted in ORISSA RTI | 1 Comment »

Orissa RTI Rules: Amendments fail to make them citizen-friendly

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 6, 2006

Orissa RTI Rules: Amendments fail to make them citizen-friendly
Pradeep Baisakh | Bhubaneswar
http://www.dailypioneer.com/indexn12.asp?main_variable=BHUBANESWAR&file_name=bhub8%2Etxt&counter_img=8

A cursory glance at the Right to Information (RTI) rules formulated by the Orissa Government to put it into effect would suggest how blatantly they violate the letter and spirit of the Act. Concerned citizens are reminded of the colonial era when laws and rules were framed arbitrarily shedding all pretences to democracy.

Regrettably, even today in a State like Orissa rules are framed by a handful of bureaucrats who either lack the understanding of the basics of democracy and rule of law, or knowingly ignore them with all impunity. More importantly, the rules, before being finalised, should have been circulated for public opinion; but in the case of Orissa they were framed clandestinely.
Various civil society organisations, activists, intellectuals and concerned citizens of the State have been holding seminars, workshops in different corners of the State discussing the character of the Orissa RTI (ORTI) rules and demanding that the Government remove discrepancies between the Central act and the State rules by suitably amending the latter.
On December 23, 2005 Aruna Roy, the chief architect of the central RTI Act, along with some enlightened citizens of the State submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik demanding the amendment of the ORTI rules.
The Chief Minister promised that the Orissa RTI rules would be revised by making them citizen-friendly and consistent with the Act, However, the CM failed if the recent amendment to the rules by the Assembly on April 2, 2006 is taken into account. In the amendment, only the fee structure has been reduced broadly by 50 per cent. The application fee has been reduced from Rs 20 to Rs10; the first hour inspection of the public records by the public is now free which was earlier Rs 15.
The per-page information in A4 and A5 sized pages has been reduced to Rs two from Rs five earlier. The cost of floppy and CD carrying information is now Rs 50 each in place of Rs 100. Fees for first appeal and second appeal were changed to Rs 20 and Rs 25 respectively instead of Rs 40 and Rs 50 earlier.
But Form A of the ORTI Rules, which is designed to be filled up by the applicant to ask for information is unnecessarily complex and lengthy and has all the potential to discourage the applicant from seeking information. It asks for information such as permanent address and proof of identity which are not necessary under the Act.
Rule 4(2) says the applicant has to satisfy the Public Information Officer (PIO) about his identity, and only then would his application be entertained. This is wrong as Section 6(2) of the Central Act says an applicant shall not mention any personal detail except the contact address.
Similarly in Form C, there are some ill-conceived, extraneous and abstract grounds for rejecting an application, such as ‘Your application is not complete in all respects,’ ‘Your identity is not clear,’ ‘The information is available in the published material’ and ‘For any other reason…’ etc. These give enough scope to the PIO to deny information.
Under Rule 4(1) BPL persons are exempted only from paying the application fee; they are required to pay for the fee of the information sought, and fee for appeals etc. But Sec-7 (5) of the Act exempts the BPL persons from any fee.
Under Rule-10, the cost of damage caused to public property during sample collection is to be collected from the applicant. But there is no such provision in the parent Act. Moreover collecting the sample of material is the responsibility of the PIO, but here the rule says the applicant is liable to pay for this.
Under Rule 12, the applicant is supposed to deposit the projected expenditure to be incurred on production of witness/evidence in case of appeal made to the IC. But sections 19(5) and 20(1) of the Act clearly say that the burden of proving that denial of a request of an applicant was justified shall be on the public authority who denied the request.
Rule 13 says any penalty or damage caused to public property in course of collecting the information will be realised from the applicant as arrears of land revenue if he fails to pay the same. In fact there is no parallel to this section in the whole country.
Both Rule 12 and Rule 13 are thoroughly archaic. They not only grossly violate the letter and spirit of the Act but also disregard all the norms of democracy.
The fees for the first and second appeal have been fixed at Rs 20 and Rs 25 respectively (they were rupees 40 and 50 before the recent amendment). But Sections 27 and 28 of RTI Act have categorically specified the four kinds of fees only, beyond which no appropriate Government or competent authority can impose any other.
For any comments, queries or feedback, kindly mail us at feedback@dailypioneer.com or pioneerletters@yahoo.co.in

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‘Officers must provide information to public’

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 5, 2006

‘Officers must provide information to public’
Pioneer News Service | Jagatsinghpur

http://www.dailypioneer.com/indexn12.asp?main_variable=BHUBANESWAR&file_name=bhub17%2Etxt&counter_img=17

A one-day workshop on Right to Information (RTI) Act was held her at Sadbhabana Gruha under the auspices of the district administration.
State Information Commissioner Prof Radhamohan, who was the chief guest, urged the officers to provide information to the public whenever they need it.
He said an information officer should be appointed in every department, so that one can get information easily. He cautioned that if an officer does not provide information to the public and harass them, he would be punished and fine would be imposed on him for his delinquency.
The fine may amount to Rs 250 to Rs 25,000, wile the action against him would be quite stringent, Prof Radhamohan warned.
He said awareness meetings should be organised at block and panchayat levels to educate rural people about the information Act.
Among others, district Collector Satyabrata Sahu, Project Director, DRDA, Sitanath Rath, Sub Collector Devendra Singh, ADM Laxmidhar Nayak, many senior citizens attended the workshop.

Posted in ORISSA RTI | 2 Comments »

“Orissa Soochna Adhikar Abhijan”: Things are going on in full pace in Orissa.

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 21, 2006

 “Orissa Soochna Adhikar Abhijan”: Things are going on in full pace in Orissa.

On 17th June, we had a preparatory meet of NGOs and In Orissa, a group of NGOs that include CYSD, OJA, ODAF, Sahavagi Vikas Abhiyan, RCDC, Utkal Sewak Samaj, Task Force on Women and Violence, AGRAGAMEE, Abhiyan, The Humanity, SODA,  NYK, NSS, OLS-Awareness, ADHIKAR, NIPIDIT, BGVS, Indian Red Cross,  Natya Chetana, Prajna Sathi Abhiyan, CHETABANI, DAGAR, Yusuf Meheraulli Centre, ISD, Atheist Center etc in association with the State Information Commission and various other stakeholders/social change agents are spearheading this significant Campaign.

The name of the campaign has been decided to be Orissa Soochna Adhikar Abhijan”.  Mr Nishikant mohapatra and Dr Srimant Roy are coordinating it. For the purpose, different committees have been formed to take care of the specific aspects like media liaison, information and communication, volunteer mobilization etc.
 

On 23rd June, there will be a one-day orientation programme for the volunteers who will be helping the public in all aspects during this fifteen-day campaign.
  For out station volunteers, 30th June may be fixed for orientation.
  For wide-scale publicity of the campaign, it has been proposed to undertake inter alia, padyatras, nukads, pestering, wall painting, leaflet distribution at schools and colleges etc.
  Although NDTV and Dharitri have agreed to be the partners of the campaign by providing ad space, other media houses are most welcome to share the huge responsibility and contribute toward the success of the campaign.
  On 19th June a press conference was organised to brief the media about the campaign. The response from the media was highly satisfactory. TOI, Indian Express, Statesman, Pioneer Dharitri(Oriya daily), Anupam Bharat ((Oriya daily) and OTV (Vernacular TV news channel) carried the story
  
  The budget and details are being worked out. Individua;l NGOs have made some contributions.  Some funding agencies are also being approached for finance.
  
  For further details, Contact   Mr. Nishikant mohapatra, moblile no.:09861117243
  Dr Srimant Roy, phone no: 0674-2301725/2301339/2300774 , ext-233
  Mr. Pradeep Baisakh, mobile no.: 09861251152
  Ms Nirupama Rath, mobile no: 09937997853

Posted in ORISSA RTI | 1 Comment »

Orissa SIC – PIO’s –

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 12, 2006

Orissa
 

Shri. Dhirendra Nath Padhi
 Off: 91-674 – 2534300 
 Orissa Soochna Commission, (Secretary),

State Guest House Annexe,

Room No. 44,

Unit 5, Bhubaneshwar

-751001
 hon_scic@ori.nic.in

http://orissasoochanacommission.nic.in
 1) Shri Radha Mohan
 
 

Departments in Government of Orrisa

PIO Details

http://rti.nic.in/state_orissa

Commerce & Transport
Energy
Fisheries & ARD
Health & Family Welfare
Home
Information Technology
Information & Public Relations
Industries
Labour & Employment
Panchayati Raj
Parliamentary Affairs
Public Enterprises
Public Grievance & PA
Planning & Co-ordination
Revenue
ST & SC Development
Science & Technology
Steel & Mines
Water Resources
 Right to Information Act 2005
Orissa Right to Information Rules 2005
Constitution of Committee
Office Memorandum/ Orders/Circulars

 http://orissa.gov.in/rti/

Posted in ORISSA RTI | 1 Comment »

 
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