Skip to main content

Government of India reports 6% dip in RTI pleas, as Prime Minister's Office receives 13% more applications

By Our Representative
For the first time since 2005, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has reported a 6% dip in the number of Right to Information (RTI) applications received by the Central Government. A preliminary review of the statistics in the Annual Report of the CIC for the year 2016-17 has revealed that the number of RTI applications has come down from 9.76 lakh in 2015-16 to 9.17 lakh.
Bringing this to light, an email alert from Venkatesh Nayak, senior activist with the top advocacy group, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), has reported that the overall proportion of rejection for the Central Government has come down only marginally from 6.62% in 2015-16 to 6.59% in 2016-17.
Nayak in his analysis says, the Ministry of Finance has "once again topped the list of Ministries with the most number of RTI applications received in a year, thanks to the inclusion of RTI data from banks, insurance companies and the income tax authorities", even though "there is a 2.65% dip in the number of RTI applications filed in 2016-17 as compared with the previous reporting year."
He adds, "175 public authorities under this Ministry received 1.51 lakh RTI applications as against 1.55 lakh RTI applications received the previous year. The proportion of rejection has also gone up marginally from 18.30% in 2015-16 to 18.40% in 2016-17."
Pointing out that the Prime Minister's Office received "almost 13% more RTI applications in 2016-17 as compared to the previous year", Nayak says, "In 2016-17 PMO received 12,787 RTI applications as compared with 11,138 in 2015-16. Interestingly, the proportion of rejection has fallen to 10.21% in 2016-17 as compared with 20.10% in 2015-16."
As for the Ministry of Home Affairs, Nayak says, it has "reported a 3.62% rise in the number of RTI applications received in 2016-17", adding, "28 public authorities under the Home Ministry received 59,828 RTI applications this year even though 33 public authorities reported 57,657 RTI applications the previous year."
He adds, "The proportion of rejection has gone up considerably to 16.10% in 2016-17 from the 14% figure reported in 2015-16. A bulk of these RTIs (6,422) were rejected by the exempt organisations under this Ministry such as Assam Rifles, Border Security Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Sashastra Seema Bal etc."
"The Ministry of External Affairs reported13.37% in the number of RTI applications received in 2016-17 although the number of public authorities under this Ministry has gone up from four in 2015-16 to 101 in 2016-17 with the recognition of all Embassies and High Commissions as public authorities in their own right", Nayak says, adding, "Interestingly, the proportion of rejection of RTIs in 2016-17 has fallen to 0.6% as compared to 5.74% in 2015-17."
He further says,"The Ministry of Defence reported a backlog of 89,391 RTI applications at the beginning of 2016-17 which is 39% of the bulk of RTI applications it had to deal with during the year. Only 58,339 fresh RTIs were received this year", adding, "This is an increase of 14.36% over the receipts in 2015-16. The proportion of rejection has fallen considerably to 6.80% in 2016-17 from 11.50% in 2015-16."
Giving a breakup, Nayak reports, "More than 97.5% of the backlog of RTI applications in the Defence Ministry were actually reported by the Indian Army -- 87,167 pending at the beginning of 2016-17. During the Army received 17,599 RTIs -- a 2% increase over the figures reported in 2015-16. The proportion of rejection has fallen to 5.50% in 2016-17 from 8.9% the previous year."
He adds, "The Indian Air Force did not have any backlog at the beginning of 2016-17 and received 3,947 RTIs during the year. The proportion of rejection has also fallen considerably to 17.50% from 36.30% reported in 2015-16. The Indian Navy received 1,645 RTIs in 2016-17 which is more than double (almost 55%) the number received in 2015-16. However, the proportion of rejection has fallen to 12.90% as compared to 18.50% during the previous year."
Nayak notes, "The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, the nodal Ministry for implementing the RTI Act in the Central Government, received 3% more RTI applications in 2016-17. However, the proportion of rejections has jumped to 5.76% from 3.4% reported in 2015-16."
Analysing the data of the higher judiciary, Nayak notes, "The Supreme Court of India received 3.8% more RTIs in 2016-17. However the Apex Court rejected a quarter of these RTIs (25.5%). In 2015-16, the Court had rejected only a fourth of the RTIs received (21.1%)." He adds, "The Delhi High Court received 12.18% more RTIs in 2016-17 as compared with the previous year. Interestingly, the proportion of rejection has fallen to 23.7% from 27.3% in 2015-16."

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?
There's a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content.
Please let me know. Thanks
Essbart said…
Sir,

This is in reference to the news report that there has been 6% dip in RTI applications in 2016-17 as per Chief Information Commissioner (TOI dated 17-1-2018). It will not be a surprise if the percentage dips even further in the coming years. Only the seasoned RTI applicant can file his application successfully and get it numbered at the first instant; he may or may not get the required information. An ordinary citizen will find it cumbersome to get the information required to file his application. A Government of India Circular which is available in the website very clearly states that the cheque or demand draft for the application fee should be drawn in the name of Account Officer followed by the name of the authority and this circular was sent to all the Chief Secretaries of the State Government and all departments of the Central government. The circular goes on to instruct the officers to open bank account in the name of Account Officer of the concerned authority if not already opened. The RTI Act says that the Application can be on a plain paper and it is not mandatory for any particular application form.
When a simple person (not the RTI Activists, lawyers and print and electronic media) sends his RTI application, it is very rarely accepted at the first instant. The Application will be returned finding fault with the name in which the cheque/demand draft are drawn and on another reason that the application is not in the format given by the particular authority. To simply return the application on some flimsy reasons itself takes anywhere between two to three months. This is done to frustrate the ordinary applicant. The Chief Information Officer of a particular authority to whom the applications are sent is drawn from the same authority and naturally he will try to shield his own department’s officers from inconvenient questions. Unless a Committee consisting of persons from public life is formed under whom the Chief Information Officer of such authority functions an ordinary citizen will have to move heaven and earth to elicit the required information provided he is very persistent in his efforts.

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Lack of welfare schemes, BSF curbs force West Bengal farmers to migrate far away

Counteview Desk  In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, a senior West Bengal based activist has complained that villagers living near the border with Bangladesh are forced to migrate to as far away as Mumbai and Kerala because of lack of government sensitivity towards their welfare in original villages. Giving specific instances, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, if the Border Security Force (BSF) had not put any restriction on agricultural activities, and if villages had properly implemented welfare schemes, these people would never migrate to other States. Text: I want to attract your immediate attention to the inhumane condition of the migrated workers of Gobra village, Swarupnagar Block in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to seek your urgent intervention to protect the rights of these people. Gobra is a village situated near the Indo-Bangladesh Border where the border fencing is about 500 meters i