Skip to main content

26% fall in RTI pleas, Gujarat departments 'not registering' applications: MAGP

By Our Representative
The annual report of the Gujarat’s State Information Commission (SIC) for 2018-19 submitted to the state legislative assembly on the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act shows that there are over 4,800 cases pending before the SIC, even as five commissioners’ posts are vacant.
The report also says, the highest number of appeals -- 2,050 -- was filed against the panchayat and rural housing department, followed by revenue department, 1,874 appeals, and the urban development department, 1,187 appeals.
Pankti Jog, who heads the state’s RTI watchdog, Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP), said in a statement, said, “Surprisingly, some departments have shown that they have received zero applications throughout the year. This is because departments do not register the received applications as a rule.”
During the year, there were 79 cases for whom CIC fined government officials, including 16 taluka-level officials, including 16 talatis, 9 mamlatdar, 5 taluka development officers, 7 police inspectors, 10 municipal chief officers, municipal chief officers, 12 principals or headmasters. The total penalty amount was Rs 6.55 lakh.
“However”, regretted Jog, “No steps were taken to initiate department inquiry against defaulting officials.”
Pankti Jog
Pointing out that the number of applications during the year went down by a whopping 26% in a year (they dropped from 1,52,097 to 1,18,638), Jog said, “It is a matter of concern that the number of RTI applications is decreasing. This is because the level of transparency appears to have gone down. It is also a matter of concern that there have been more cases of rejection of information.”
She added, “The departments have not made any amendments in proceedings towards parting with information. Meant for RTI information, the boards, put up at panchayat offices, did not display anything during the 150th year of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth centenary.”
Calling this “a very serious matter”, Jog said, there have been as many as 50 cases of attacking those who had sought information sought from the state’s panchayats. This could be one major reason behind the decline in the number of appeals. ”
Jog demanded, the Gujarat government should develop a portal, where accurate information about the working of panchayats is made available at one place. For some reason, the government appears very apathetic in this regard. While old information is placed on government websites, misleading citizens, lack of transparency abounds. There is delay in examining people's grievances, and negligence in implementation.

Comments

TRENDING

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 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".

Contempt of court? UP CM taking 'personal vendetta' against Dr Kafeel Khan: Activists

Counterview Desk
Demanding that the Uttar Pradesh government immediately release well-known paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, a group of more than 100 academicians, activists, researchers, doctors and lawyers have said in an open letter that he is being “targeted at the behest of the chief minister”, wondering, “When is an act of challenging the government a threat under the National Security Act (NSA)?”

ASI has 'no funds' to protect five centuries old Goa church, a World Heritage Site

Counterview Desk
The century-old All-India Catholic Union (AICU), the largest Laity movement in Asia, has blamed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for neglecting the historic Bom Jesu church by keeping its ceilings  open to the vagaries weather, with no steps  taken to protect the five century old monument from damage on account of impending rains on the lame excuse that there are "no funds". In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AICU simultaneously asks the Government of India to devise a "comprehensive" national social security safety net, universal health Insurance and medical Infrastructure so that the “calamity” that has befalenl millions of migrant labour and jobless rural and urban poor in “the Covid pandemic-driven lockdown is “never repeated.”

Withdraw sedition charges against three young women activists: 1100 feminists

Counterview Desk
About 1,100 feminists from all over India – organisations and individuals across religion, class, caste, ethnicity, ability, sexuality and genders – have issued a solidarity statement condemning what they have called “the targeted crackdown on Muslims and women activists in Delhi”, who were at the forefront of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).

Will Govt of India, ICMR end 'perverse' practice of extracting profits from ill-health?

By Asmita Verma, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant*
The Epidemics Act, 1897 gives the central and state governments authority to impose any regulations which may be necessary to contain the outbreak of a disease. Some state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh have already used this power to bring private healthcare facilities in their state under government control.

A locked up offer? Govt of India 'not serious' in involving NGOs: IIM-A survey

By Rajiv Shah
Was the Government of India serious when it asked 92,000 civil society organizations (CSOs) in early April to “assist” state governments and district administrations in taking care of food, shelter and other needs of migrant workers, known to have been affected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ sudden 21-day lockdown in order to “combat” the spread of Covid-19 virus, announced on March 24?

Coping with Covid-19? Options before small, marginal farmers of rainfed regions

By Biswanath Sinha, Kuntal Mukherjee*
The global crisis due to Covid-19 has hit after reaching in western Europe. India’s response to curtail the spread of the disease was quite decisive. It announced a Janata curfew on the March 22, followed by a complete national lockdown from the midnight of March 24.

'Violation' of migrant workers' human rights: Legal notice to IIM-A director, govt babus

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the police action against protesting migrant workers off the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on May 18, senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik, in a legal notice to the IIM-A director "on their behalf" has said that the workers had only been seeking to to go back to their home states, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for the last more than 20 days because they were not paid their “earned wages because of the lockdown.”