Citizen consumer and civic Action Group
Posted by rtiact2005 on June 17, 2006
Citizen consumer and civic Action GroupAddress : No 8, Fourth Street, Venkateswara Nagar,
Adayar, Chennai – 600020, INDIA.
Phone: +91- 044 – 24460387
Telefax: +91- 044 – 24914358
Email : email@example.com
Sriharini Narayanan is a post-graduate in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences with specialisation in Social Welfare Administration. At CAG, Harini works on Policy Analysis and Research on issues such as Right to Information and Water Security. Before joining CAG in September of 2003, Harini worked in the area of behaviour change and disability.
Delay in implementing Right to Information Act
|Uncertainties, lack of awareness among officers blamed|
CHENNAI: Procedural uncertainties, lack of awareness among Public Information Officers and inadequate infrastructure have caused unnecessary delay in successful implementation of Right to Information Act 2005 in the State, according to some civil society groups that recently launched the Tamil Nadu Right to Information Campaign (TNRIC).
They told reporters here on Thursday that these reasons deterred many citizens from using the "powerful tool" to address their day-to-day difficulties and organisations from accessing public documents lying with the Government.
Though Tamil Nadu was the first to introduce a law on right to information, it had not made much headway in implementation of the RTI Act that had received the President's assent on June 15 last year and came into effect 120 days after its enactment on October 15, 2005, according to a trustee of the Catalyst Trust, A.K. Venkatasubramanium.
Section IV of the RTI Act stressed the need for informed citizens, transparency of information, containing corruption and accountability in a democracy. To achieve these ideals, the Act had to be implemented in letter and spirit, he said.
Though the Act provided for pro-active disclosure of details, only 13 out of 35 departments in the Secretariat had come out with such information. Some had provided only partial information. The State Information Commission might have received around 250 appeals so far.
The employees' associations could play a key role in sensitising the Government personnel on various aspects of the law, he said.
Director-in charge of the Human Rights Research and Advocacy Foundation Ossie Fernandes said during the TNRIC programme from July 10 to 25, camps would be conducted in Chennai and various other parts of the State to highlight issues such as obligations of public authority, definition of information, how to apply for information, mode of payment of request fees, time limit for obtaining information, appeals and penalties.
The State Government itself was not aware of some of the aspects of the Act, he added.
Sriharini Narayanan, a functionary of the Citizen consumer and civic Action Group, said the TNRIC would be conducted with the twin objective of efficient implementation of the RTI Act and creating more awareness among citizens on the importance of right to information.
As part of preparatory work, the TNRIC would hold a meeting of the district representatives on June 17 and a training programme for volunteers on June 24, she said, adding that the campaign also proposed to involve the Government and the State Information Commission in the camps.
She also highlighted the difficulties faced by the people in receiving information from different departments at different stages.