Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Archive for the ‘NORTH EAST STATES RTI’ Category

State RTI in a Fog

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 5, 2006

State RTI in a Fog


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Babu Ego or Real Fear

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 5, 2006

Babu Ego or Real Fear


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Babu Ego or Real Fear

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 4, 2006

Babu Ego or Real Fear
Posted: 2006-08-04

The Right to Information Act, RTI, is applicable in all of India except Jammu and Kashmir. The reason for the exception to the rule is not explained, but it is obvious. Although not agreeing, it is understandable that the Union government would be considering the state too sensitive to throw open all information, especially with many vested interests from across the border inimical to India’s interest, snooping. Whether this is a legitimate fear or a mindless paranoia is debatable, but we tend to think it is in the nature of an overdone apprehension generated by an excessively bureaucratized intelligence establishment that depends more on dusty records available in dog-eared files rather than a continually updated assessment of the ever evolving and transforming reality. How can for instance, making public the records of fund allocations for developmental work, or making the assessment processes of examinations for government job recruitment transparent, or letting below
poverty line, BPL, public know how much subsidized essential ration and kerosene oil they are entitled to receive through the public distribution system, be a threat to national security, be it in Kashmir or New Delhi. It cannot be by any coincidence that almost all of the RTI cases that have come up so far, relate to these matters. Search the internet for what organizations like Arvind Kejriwal’s Parivartan have been doing to confirm this personally. Even then, to be fair, it may be that the Manipur government’s reticence about the RTI is for similar apprehensions as Kashmir. If it is so, does not the government owe an explanation?

It is also interesting that in the controversial move by the Union government to have the RTI amended, one of the considerations stems from a proposal by the Union Public Service Commission, UPSC, to have their examination evaluation processes excluded from the purview of the RTI. Expectedly, this has been met with vehement oppositions from the Indian civil society, who have already raised suspicions of the UPSC trying to hide filth within. If a recent Union Cabinet decision is any indication, the UPSC’s plea would be dropped, but the one that seeks to make bureaucratic “file notings” as classified information would probably stay, if the government has its way and an amended RTI becomes reality.

The point that we are making is, the RTI does give allowance for making certain category of information as not suitable for public consumption. Sensitive security and economic information, copyright protected information and information that infringes on the privileges of institutions that enjoy special privileges under democratic norms such as the courts, Parliament and Assembly etc. But even these exceptions are with a qualification for it also says that if the public interest of the information outweighs the security concerns, the information shall have to be revealed. So when the Manipur government, in its gazette notification of the formation of its half-baked Information Commission, lists administrative units such as the vigilance department as exempt from the purview of the RTI, it should keep in mind the qualification that the original text of the RTI makes on such matters. Furthermore, some questions still remains even if the Manipur government is apprehensive of a
functional RTI in the state becoming the tool for vested interests hostile to the establishment to sap sensitive information. The first and foremost of these is, how legitimate is such a fear. One the one hand we see no reason to fear a siphoning of sensitive information as the RTI has enough safeguards and valves to prevent such a consequence. On the other hand, we do foresee plenty of lobbies coming alive to have their men or women in the panel of Information Commissioners (who incidentally would enjoy the salary and allowances of chief secretary, and understandably too for they would have to be dealing with senior officers of the government) even if the State Chief Information Commissioner is out of bound of one and all. As has happened in so many similar autonomous bodies before, we do foresee a lot of less than qualified, less than informative, less than eminent individuals being forced into the panel by these lobbies. This, in our opinion is a legitimate concern, not
so much out of fear, but more out of utter distaste. But then again, the Manipur government’s reluctance to have the RTI implemented in its letter and spirit may have bureaucratic ego as its background. For indeed, who amongst the bureaucrats can tolerate seeing a non-bureaucrat catapulted to the protocol of the most senior bureaucrat overnight, even if an Act of the Parliament says this must be so.

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Sikkim gets its first CEC

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 2, 2006

Sikkim gets its first CEC

Statesman News Service
GANGTOK, Aug. 1: Mr DK Gazmer was today appointed as the first chief information commissioner (CEC) of Sikkim since the Right to Information Act was implemented in the year 2005 all over the country, including Sikkim.

In a solemn function at Raj Bhawan today, the acting governor Mr RK Gavai, administered the oath of office to Mr Gazmer in presence of various cabinet ministers, DGP and senior government officials.

Mr DK Gazmer, an IAS officer of the 1984 batch, had served in various capacities in the state government, including the secretary of social welfare department. He also has the credit of establishing the pay and accounts office. Mr Gazmer had and retired from his services in 2003.

Speaking to repoters after assuming office as the state EC, Mr Gazmer said that although the Right to Information had been enacted in 2005, the ordinary people has not utilised it as comprehensively as desired. He cited that the reason of lack of awareness among the people for not using it more. He also expressed his desire to work diligently and in a transparent manner for providing information to the people as per the principles and provisions of the Act.

The lone opposition MLA, Mr Acharaya Tshering Lama, who was also the member of the selection committee to appoint the chief information officer, boycotted the oath taking ceremony. He alleged that Mr Gajmer’s appointment violates important clauses of the Right to Information Act. Mr Acharaya has already filed a letter to the Governor where he has alleged that his reservations over the selection as a member of the selection committee were disregarded.

This makes Mr Gazmer’s appointment purely on the “mythical rule of majority”, a decision tainted by views of the party in power and thus one “actuated by political considerations and motive”, he had written in the letter. Meanwhile, a regional political party, Sikkim Himali Rajya Parishad (SHRP), has also thrown its weight behind the lone opposition MLA.

In a letter addressed to the Governor, Mr AD Subba, the SHRP president has furnished some reasons on which they have relied on to express their opposition to the appointment and the consequent swearing-in ceremony today of Mr Gazmer as the chief information commissioner.

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487 CIC’s of NORTHEAST to form RTI NETWORK to spread AWARENESS about RTI Act 2005 to Citizens of NORTHEAST INDIA.

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 3, 2006

Hello all Employees at 487 CIC’s of NORTHEAST,

Since you all have good NETWORK established, IT is the suggestion of eGovINDIA Group to all of you to form RTI-CIC NETWORK in NORTHEAST. This helps to educate people at each center about RTI.

We have more information that are available for all of you to look into at INDIA RTI Group and Right2Information website. These will give information for CIC’s to give it out to people and spread the AWARENESS of RTI,

All comments and suggestions are welcome.



V. M. Kumaraswamy

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