Right to Information – Master key to good governance

PIOs appointment as per RTI Act soon: Chief Secy

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 9, 2006

PIOs appointment as per RTI Act soon: Chief SecyNT Staff Reporter


Panaji, Aug 7: The state government will soon appoint public information officers (PIO’s) in various government departments as per the requirements of the Right to Information Act and make known their names and other details by way of advertisements in local newspapers.

This announcement came from the Chief Secretary, Mr J P Singh who was replying to a related question during an interaction on RTI organised by the Goa Branch of the Indian Institute of Public Administration in the city, this evening.

Mr Singh said that the government “would look at the Maharashtra model and adopt it suitably”. He agreed that it was important to identify the PIO’s and make the details available to the common man.

When it was brought to his notice that a copy of the Goa RTI was being sold at Rs 44 a copy as against Rs 2 per copy of the Maharashtra RTI Act, the Chief Secretary who confirmed of having been unaware of the cost promised that the state RTI Act would be soon made available within the Rs 5 price range. “We will also bring out the Act in Konkani and Marathi along with English so that it benefits the people at large,” Mr Singh announced.

“The government,” Mr Singh remarked, “would print leaflets in various languages, as a step to make the people aware.” With reference to the proposal for notings to be withheld, the Chief Secretary observed that matters pertaining to development, economic issues and social matters would have to be made known to the people under all circumstances.

In a lighter vein, the Chief Secretary said that transparency was quite large in Goa. “When a file leaves my office it is known to all in a matter of five minutes. Photocopies of the letters with my notings too are taken,” Mr Singh quipped further adding, “I also get calls minutes before a file reaches my table. Everything is being tracked, it is a good thing I guess.”

The commissioner, Public Grievances Commission, government of India, and former state chief secretary, Mr Baleshwar Rai delivered a talk on ‘Right to Information and Related Matters’ on the occasion.

He highlighted the various points that make the RTI Act a powerful tool in seeking information concerning the public.

The chief information commissioner, Goa, Mr Venkataratnam in his bid to highlight problems faced in implementing RTI in the state informed that the commission was yet to receive any funds, while at the same time no STD phone connection was provided to him to discharge his duties either at home or office.

Mr Venkataratnam maintained that these were essential requirements for the due discharge of the commission’s duties.

Responding to this, the Chief Secretary mentioned that things were now moving for sure and what Mr Venkataratnam was talking of were procedural delays. Mr Singh also agreed to a suggestion from an audience member that PIO’s should be appointed by designation and not by name.

GOACAN member, Mr Roland Martins, speaking on the occasion told the gathering that one had to access the Internet to have details of the RTI Act. “Look at Maharashtra, where things are simpler,” he said. Referring to the reduction in the cost of obtaining information under RTI (from the earlier fee of Rs 100 to Rs 10), Mr Martins charged that a Sanguem resident was recently made to cough up Rs 100 by applying the old Act.

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