Skip to main content

Lack of RTI-related data blamed on "poor inputs" from public authorities of Central ministries, state departments

Counterview Desk
As India's Right to Information Act (RTI Act) will enter the 12th year of implementation on October 12, a new study by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has said that “not all Information Commissions come out with their Annual Reports in a timely manner.”
“A major reason for the delays in the preparation of the annual reports is lack of inputs from the public authorities through their parent ministries and departments”, a CHRI report, prepared by senior RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak, says.
“Although the Information Commissions are known to press upon the respective Governments to fulfill their reporting obligations, compliance is poor”, it adds.
This year, like before, CHRI says, “There are only a handful of annual reports published for the latest year due. As a result, it is difficult to answer the most basic question - how many RTI applications are received from citizens all over the country in a given year.”
Based on the data collected by CHRI about RTI applications from all the annual reports of the Information Commissions available on their websites, the report says, “A total of 1.75 crore (1,75,23,154) RTI applications are reported to have been made to the Central and State Governments during the period 2005-2015.”
Giving a break up, it says, the Central Government received more than a quarter (27.20% i.e., 47.66 lakh) of the 1.75 crore requests submitted by citizens in 2005-15, followed by the Maharasthra government, which received 26.40% i.e., 46.26 lakh, the Karnataka government 11.83%, Tamil Nadu 4.89%, and Gujarat, long propagated as India's model state, 4.32%, less than the proportion of its population, which is about 5%.
“Counting the RTI statistics published by 15 Information Commissions during the period 2013-15 (taking into account statistics available only for the latest year) a total of 26.60 lakh RTI requests were made by citizens during a period of one year”, the report says.
Based on this, the report adds, “It may be estimated said that the total number of RTI requests submitted across the country in a year during this period could be about 53-56 lakhs.” Other RTI activists peg the figure at 75-80 lakh RTI applications per year.
The report regrets, “None of the Information Commissions that follow the financial year reporting cycle, have published their Annual Reports for the year 2015-16”, adding, “Amongst the Information Commissions that follow the calendar year reporting cycle, only Meghalaya and Sikkim have published their Annual Reports for the year 2015.”
It further says, “The Karnataka Information Commission is the only body that has published online, all annual reports due, since October 2005”, insisting, “There is an urgent need to ensure the publication of annual reports in the larger States of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.”
The report underlines, “Without data from these States which have a large number of RTI users and activists, it is not possible to draw a more accurate statistical picture of the volume of RTI applications filed across the country.”

Comments

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

One lakh schools closed down, draft policy 'seeks' commercialisation: Whither RTE?

By Our Representative
A national consultation on the new draft National Education Policy (NEP) with senior experts, teachers’ association representatives and other stakeholders at the India International Centre in New Delhi on July 11, organised by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, has expressed serious concern over curtailment in the budgeted expenditure on education year after year, even as closure of more than one lakh schools over the "last few years."

Lynching as state terror? Complete dearth of 'political will' to deal with mob violence

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
On Friday July 5, thousands of people had gathered at a rally in Surat to protest against the growing mob lynching incidents in different parts of the country. There are different interpretations at what happened during the rally: with police blaming the rallyists and those in the rally blaming the police for using teargas shells upon them without any reason.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.