Right to Information – Master key to good governance

ASSAM – http://www.assamtribune.com/ EDITORIAL on RTI Act

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 8, 2006

And yet the order of the acts is planned. The way’s end destinate and unconcealed.
— Boris Pasternak

Right to Information ActRS Mooshahary, the State Chief Information Commissioner, appears unhappy at the tardy implementation of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) in Asom even after eight months of the RTI Act coming into force. In his first interaction with the media, he lamented that requisite number of officials in various government departments are not available to dispense specific information demanded by the public. Only about 50 per cent of the offices have started work, putting up information on the websites. The State Information Commission, set up on March 1, 2006, received only three complaints during the last four months which speaks volumes about public awareness towards this important piece of legislation conferring such a valuable right to its citizens. It is really a sad state of affair that the people of Asom have not taken advantage of the RTI Act to seek information on various critical matters. Lack of public awareness, State government’s apathy in the speedy implementation of the RTI Act, inadequate training of the officials appointed as public information officers/assistant public information officers have all contributed to the ineffectiveness of this important and revolutionary piece of legislation in Asom.

The RTI Act, 2005, conferred to the citizens of India right to information from the Central and the State governments, Panchayat Raj institutions, all public authorities whether controlled, owned or funded by the governments and even the NGOs receiving government assistance. All public sector undertakings come within the purview of the RTI Act. The universities receiving government grant are also within the ambit of the RTI Act. The citizens are empowered to ask questions, inspect sites, take photo-copies of record and files except on those matters specifically prohibited under the Act. The RTI Act, 2005 also empowers the appropriate governments to develop and organise educational programmes, to advance the understanding of the public and to exercise the rights contemplated under the Act. It also makes the appropriate government mandatorily liable to prepare guide book in easily comprehensible form and manner containing such information as may be required by a person who wishes to exercise any rights specified in the Act. Thus the RTI Act, 2005 puts much responsibility on the State Government to create public awareness about the Act, in educating the public in general by organising seminars, workshops, training programmes and making available literature in the local languages regarding the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 and the prescribed procedure to apply for information from the concerned public authorities. So far the Asom Government has miserably failed on both the counts and only a few organisations and NGOs have come forward to create public awareness campaigns on the RTI Act, 2005. If such public apathy continues, the RTI Act, 2005 would remain a dead statute like the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

The Government of Asom is one of pioneers in bringing a statute – Right to Information Act, 2001, which received the assent of the Governor on May 1, 2002. However, due to reasons best known to the Government, this Act was never implemented and silently buried. In the meantime, the Union Government passed the RTI Act, 2005 extending to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Asom Government constituted the State Information Commission only on March 1, 2006. The fact that this high-powered body has not been provided with adequate staff and infrastructure befitting such an institution, shows the commitment of the State Government in implementing the RTI Act. It is also reported that the Saikia Commission of Enquiry headed by retired Supreme Court Judge KN Saikia enquiring into the secret killings during the chief ministership of Prafulla Kumar Mahanta has not been provided with fund to run the office. Such shabby treatment to a judicial body is unwarranted and the Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi should take the concerned officials to task for lowering the image of the Government by their disregard for such high-powered bodies like the State Information Commission and Saikia Commission.


7 Responses to “ASSAM – http://www.assamtribune.com/ EDITORIAL on RTI Act”

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  3. Today the 24th January 2009 I with my family and the quest from village had a look some good places of Guwahati. After going to different places we went to Machkhowa,and hired a country boat to take us to Umannanda Temple (Island Temple of Brahmaputra river). We reached at about 16:10 hrs. We could see few pairs of Romeo & Juleit chatting with a lots of for each others. On reaching 4 metres beach we got down & up the stair ways. To my surprise I saw 2 man in uniform without their proper badge, head tied around with black scarf + So Call A.K. 47 Assault rifles folded caught a innocent boy on his colour and slapping him up a and his Co-Uniform was canning the helpless boy. Even the young girl was crying not & plead them but its of no use. As i was watching what is wrong there was no answer rather they drag him up and beat him more. I feel that even love of one another among human being is under their control. Will any good citizen help this kind of helpless fellow human be treated as an animal. I am sure that the concern officer in charge would surely look into that who are the fellows deputed for Umnanda Temple on 24.Jan.2009 at 16:00 hrs to 17: hrs. I am sorry that iI don’t know who was the innocent boy & what he had done wrong. From Ben. Ghy

  4. mijing basumatary
    bangalore-29 koramangalore

  5. To 15 of june2009 time.8:10 pm. i am from,bangalore mr,mijing basumatary, i working in a small company “Rockwell india
    now i am a little happy and my family was live in karbianglong assam vill-amraguri p/o samelongso dist-k/a.Assam-782441.

    mijing basumatary
    #56 4th cross cauvere layout,
    thaverekere main road bangalore-560029.

  6. hollo hi all Today july of 3th 2009 i am from mijing basumatary bangalore-29.

    Rti information act is a necessity common peaple like us.i am a emplemt. i am request all the our assamtribune please you recived for in this information,i want to job in our state(assam)

    thank you

    your faithfully
    mijing basumatary

  7. great website, you obviously care enough about the site to create great content. The web needs more sites like this. keep it up.

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