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

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

JP advised RSS to give up Hindu Rashtra, disband itself: Ex-IAS officer tells Modi

Counterview Desk
Major MG Devasahayam IAS (Retd), chairman, People-First, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Jayprakash Narain’s (JP’s) death anniversary (October 11) has wondered whether he remembers “a patriot called Jayaprakash Narayan”. Recalling what JP thought on issues such as communalism, freedom, democracy, Hindutva etc., Devasahayam says, Modi has been been doing “the very opposite of the principles and values for which JP lived and died.”

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

UP chief secretary, DGP have 'surrendered' to political diktat: 92 retired IAS, IPS officials

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, 92 retired IAS, IFS and IPS bureaucrats, commenting on “blatant violations of the rule law” following the Hathras incident, have blamed that the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police for abjectly failing to exercise control over a “highly compromised” administration the state.

Hathras reflects Manu's mindset dominates: 'Women are false, it's in their nature to seduce'

By Parijat Ghosh, Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
The woman died and then we woke up to protest. She was alive for two weeks after the heinous incident. Many of us even didn’t notice what had happened at Hathras, how she fought during the next 15 days. Those who noticed, many of them were not sure what actually had happened. So much so, we as a nation were more busy in finding out who among the Bollywood actresses were taking drugs, who smoked weed, who had ‘inappropriate’ or more than one relationship, what kind of private conversations they had in their chat boxes and what not!

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.

Delhi riots: Even British didn't accuse Bhagat Singh of reading Lenin, Jack London

By Vikash Narain Rai*
After the #BlackLifeMatters movement seriously tested the credibility of police across America, the Houston police chief Art Acevado talked of ending “lawful but awful” policing. No comparison, but in India, a citizens’ committee comprising former top judges and bureaucrats is now set to inquire into the role of the state machinery and media in handling the February 2020 Delhi violence, which followed protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), “as the investigation by the Delhi Police has evoked extensive critical commentary in recent times.”

Degrading conditions amidst Covid-19: Toxic ship at Alang, Gujarat, 'endangers' migrants

Counterview Desk
Evironmental activist Dr Gopal Krishna, who edits the ToxicsWatch journal, in an open letter to the chairman, Ship Breaking Scrap Committee, Union Ministry of Shipping, with copies to the joint secretary, Union Ministry of Shipping and other Government of India ministries* has said that there exists “threat to Indian maritime environment and security from viral diseases like Covid-19 from ballast water and toxic substances.”

Human rights 'abuses': Funding to India should be vetted, Greens tell Australian govt

Counterview Desk
A roundtable organised by Australian Greens, which is the third biggest political group in the country, held to discuss human rights situation in India at the New South Wales Parliament in Sydney has insisted that parliamentarians, human rights activists and lawyers should play a more active role “standing up for human rights not just in their own places but also in India.”