Friday, January 27, 2017

Digital India? Gujarat behind Odisha, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, "fails to create" online RTI portal

Jadeja
By Our Representative
Failure of the Gujarat government to create an online portal to file right to information (RTI) applications online of Government of India for the last four years has started becoming a major issue with the state’s top activists, who have started a sustained campaign for it, citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strong support to online payment following demonetization.
At least two senior activists – Shailendrasinh Jadeja and Kirit Rathod – have written separate letters to the Gujarat chief minister to ensure create a sustainable mechanism in all the departments across the state to obtain online RTI applications, and electronically send replies.
Jadeja of Seva Foundation, Rajkot, has in a letter to the CM claimed that while Modi has “relentlessly tried for the inclusive development of Gujarat in a most transparent way”, which has led to “consistent, reliable results”, his home state has failed to make headway in the concept of “digital India” for e-governance.
“Modi conceptualized Digital India for e-governance to ease administration in a people-friendly mode”, says Jadeja’s letter, adding, “States like Odisha, Maharashtra and Rajasthan have already taken a leap forward for giving the replies in electronics form to the people through Online RTI Portal for RTI.”
While, he insists, this has “reduced” paper work substantially and speed of getting and giving the information in other states, quickening up payments received for RTI pleas, there is reason to wonder, “Where is Gujarat – the fastest developing state, in initiating an online portal?”
In a separate letter sent to Modi, Jadeja urges Modi to “give order to the state government to start an online RTI portal”, sending out messages on the social media and via email, to begin a sustained campaign for this. 
Rathod
“You can do this by sending your name, mobile No, name of the city and email address on 09825197973, 09825465556 in the form of SMS or WhatsApp, or send an email on sevafoundationtrust@gmail.com” or “write on http://www.pmindia.gov.in/en/interact-with-honble-pm” he adds.
“The sole purpose behind this movement is to embark upon the government to bring all is offices under one umbrella so that every citizen of the state can avail the e-information from the online RTI portal”, adds Rathod of the Dalit Adhikar Andolan Samiti in his letter to the Gujarat chief minister, adding, “It seems the state government is drifting away in the Prime Minister’s Digital India.”
Both Jadeja and Rathod refer, in this context, refer to a letter written by secretary, department of personnel and training, Government of India, SK Sarkar, on December 3, 2013, to the Gujarat chief secretary, urging the latter to launch a web portal named RTI Online on lines of the Government of India for all ministries and departments.
At the Centre, he says, there is a facility for online filing of RTI applications/first appeals and also for online payment of RTI fees, adding, the replies to RTI applications/first appeals can also be given online. This web portal has been designed and developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC).
Pointing out that NIC has been asked to “provide technical support such as software ad source code to the state governments who desire to replicate the web portal on online filing of RTI applications at state level”, the letter adds, just as for the Centre, the State Bank of India (SBI) has been asked to create a payments gateway for state RTI online portals.

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