Only 1/4th of govt bodies making mandatory RTI disclosures

Only 14th of govt bodies making mandatory RTI disclosuresNEW DELHI: The Central Information Commission today questioned the government bodies with regard to meeting the requirement of mandatory suo-motu disclosures under the RTI Act and said that there was need for “introspection” as only a little over one-fourth of the 2,276 public authorities have followed statutory guidelines.

Under Section IV of the Right to Information Act, a public authority is mandated to publish on its website 17 classes of information about its working and the records held by it so that people need not burden it with RTI applications.

The annual report of the CIC, which was released today, shows that only 667 of the 2,276 public authorities have fulfilled the mandatory requirement.

“This needs introspection by Ministry/Department/Public Authorities as to the reasons why despite having good ICT infrastructure available with them, its usages for strengthening the system of mandatory disclosure norms remains unattended,” the report said.

The report said that the public authorities with field formations need to assess the quality, citizen friendliness, and the periodicity of dissemination of information so as to institutionalize the disclosure mechanism as mandated under Section IV of the RTI Act, 2005.

“Ultimately, it is the creation of robust and dynamic citizen-government interface through sharing of information that should be talisman of our democracy,” it said. Giving details of the mechanism through which the figure of 667 for the year 2013-14 had been arrived at, the report said that all public authorities have to submit their returns online in a pro-forma prescribed by the CIC.

“In (block V), the Ministries/Departments/Public Authorities have to respond to a query ‘Is mandatory disclosure under Section 4(1) (b) posted on the website of public authority?’ If the response to the query is yes then Ministry/Department/Public Authorities have to provide detail/URL of webpage where the disclosure is posted,” the report said.

It said that the pro-forma also provides for other mode of dissemination if a public authority has not posted the disclosure on its website.

“Only 667 Ministry/Department/Public Authorities have given response in affirmative. This means that 667 Ministry/ Department/Public Authorities have posted their mandatory disclosure norms through their websites,” it said.–PTI

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