October 21, 2019
The newly-formed RTI Activist Trust has a unified agenda and will get down to generating awareness among all sections of the citizens.
Nearly 4,800 RTI (Right to Information) are being filed every day in India after the government gave more teeth to the law.
The RTI Act was enacted by the Indian government in 2005 to empower citizens to get information from the government, and more recently it was made more approachable leading to better public response.
In its infancy, government officials actually urged citizens to utilise it for any civic or personal issues. However, after nearly a decade, the large number of RTI petitions, many of which contained repetitive queries or may have already been answered, has led to delays and vague responses.
A group of RTI activists in Coimbatore have tried to remove this government/citizen roadblock by forming a registered association titled RTI Activist Trust, this year. It has nearly 400 RTI activist members from all over Tamil Nadu. Previously, these were scattered associations under varied names.
Manoj Arun a member of RTI Activist Trust told The Covai Post: “We held one meeting a month ago in Coimbatore for the RTI members of all districts of Tamil Nadu. We honoured them with a uniform shield and spoke about a unified agenda. The Trust also plans to conduct awareness programmes for laymen, students, women, disabled and also the visually impaired with fortnightly meetings.”
He added, “Besides this we will launch a website which will have district-based information about government departments, contact numbers and information of previous queries, replies, pending petitions and others. This will prevent public from making repetitive queries and act after reading the answers. We will be updating this site regularly which will be accessible to everybody.”
The rules of RTI:
1.An RTI application can be filed by any Indian citizen.
2.Petitioners can ask information from any government body at central, state and local level. Even government aided bodies either Central or State come under this purview.
3.Some government bodies are exempted from RTI, whose information is available at http:/rti.gov.in.
4.Address the application to correct government bodies. Usually a Public Information Officer (PIO) at the government department will be responsible to handle the queries.
5.Attach appropriate RTI fee with each application.
6.A reply or response will be given within 30 days.
7.The application may be rejected for incomplete details, non payment of RTI fees or querying RTI exempt government bodies. However if a response is wilfully withheld the government official or department will be fined.