‘RTI considered second independence in India’

Nagaland received 25,749 RTI applications in last 10 years

 

Kohima, October 27 (DIPR): The coming into effect of RTI is considered to be the second independence in the history of the country, and it has also facilitated in effecting an open government and governance, said Secretary, NIC, Worhonthung Ezung at the celebration of RTI Week, 2017 at Administrative Training Institute, Kohima on October 27.

 

The RTI Act, Ezung said, helps government get new ideas for formulating people friendly policies, making public decision-making more participatory, ensuring inclusive growth, making fair decisions, improving its processes and systems, managing records, and reforming the governance system. He further pointed out that RTI is simple and easy, cheap, time bound and citizen-friendly.

 

Chief Secretary Pankaj Kumar sharing his observations and experiences said the formulation of RTI Act witnessed huge public debate, with the government and the activists at the two extremes. The government before the formulation of the act was pessimistic that the same will paralyze the government’s independent and smooth functioning, he added.

 

With passage of time the government has realized that the act has not paralyzed the government. RTI Act though not a single solution to all ills has added valuable dimension to the system of governance, Kumar said. With the act, there is an avenue for interaction between the government and the citizens. Various NGOs are taking recourse on RTI to hold the government accountable, and there is maturity in the use of the act, he maintained.

 

The RTI Act has imposed an obligation on the government in two ways, pointed Kumar. First, the urgency of maintaining clear office records to respond to any query. Second, the need to recall opinion and take considered decision, including file noting so that the records will speak for itself. If this exercise is done, he said, optimum results can be obtained, and both the government and civil societies will function better. There is always considerable scope for improvement, he added, expressing optimism that the workshop will strengthen the working knowledge of the officials.

 

State Information Commissioner, NIC, Er. Chanbemo Lotha, in his introductory remark stated that RTI is a measure or an indicator of good or bad governance. He apprised that Nagaland among the North Eastern States is the second highest recipient of RTI applications. He highlighted that the State received a total of 25,749 RTI applications in the last 10 years (2006-2007 to 2016-2017). Out of the total, 61.49% was received at the district level followed by 24.22% at the directorate level and 8.18% at the secretariat level. The commission observed that 66.67% of second appeals/complaints came to the commission due to no decision or inaction by FAA, and 33.33% due to unsatisfactory decision of FAA.

 

Er. Chanbemo Lotha called on all stakeholders to use the occasion of the state level workshop to deliberate on issues of abiding interest in the areas of transparency, accountability and good governance. He expressed optimism that the workshop will come out with new ideas that can improve the implementation of RTI Act in the state.

 

The day long workshop was organized by the Nagaland Information Commission (NIC) to commemorate the RTI Week, 2017.