Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has failed to deliver on a deadline it had itself set to come up with an online portal to accept Right to Information (RTI) applications, within a year. As per a report by Indian Express, in January 2016, the government claimed that it would start accepting RTI applicants online in order to ensure a smooth processing of thousands of applicants. As per claims, the project should have been started by the end of April 2017, but still there was no update on the same.
However, the reply to an RTI plea filed by activist Neeraj Sharma to know about the status of an RTI filing website stated that the website work was halted due to the municipal elections in the national capital. “It may be informed that the process for online filing of RTI petitions is awaiting formal launch, which could only be there after elections for three MCDs in Delhi are over,” Indian Express quoted the reply sent by the Administrative Reforms department.
“Training sessions for PIOs and First Appellate Authorities at various departments of GNCTD (Delhi government) have already been conducted. Now since election to three MCDs are over, process for starting online RTI portal is now being expedited,” it added. The municipal elections were held in the last week of April.
Speaking to Indian Express, Sharma said, “It has been over a month since the polls, and the portal has still not been launched. The government had announced in 2016 that the portal would be ready in three-months’ time. That deadline has been missed entirely. The reply stated that portal was only awaiting a formal launch. If that was the case, why is it that even after almost two months since the MCD elections ended, we still can’t file an RTI online?”
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Meanwhile a government spokesperson informed that the project needs clearance from two quarters – the Administrative Reforms department and the Information Technology department. Both the departments have cleared the project and the proposal file is now with the National Informatics Centre. The spokesperson also stated that the file will cleared very soon and the website will be made live by July, 2017.
The idea to launch the website was aimed at helping residents of Delhi file applications from any government department, make payments online and receive replies through email. As off now, all RTI applications are filed in physically or by post and the applications are affixed with postal orders of Rs 10.