RTI For All

Written by The Financial Express | Updated: Oct 23 2014, 08:38am hrs
The political class has generally been wary of the Right to Information (RTI)remember how political parties, across the spectrum, maintained that they were not covered under the transparency law But the Narendra Modi-led government seems to be cut from a different cloth. The government has made it mandatory for all its departments to put replies to all RTI queries on their respective websites. Though such a move was ordered by the UPA government last April, it was never implemented. Thus, for the present government, the move not only gets the optics right with a surge in the transparency quotient but also makes the RTI process less cumbersome for both information-seekers and the authorities giving out the information.

With all information supplied so far put online, duplication of queries can be avoidedinformation seekers need only scroll through the replies to see if a similar query has been raised and answered. This cuts the processing time out completely and eases the burden on the information officers and their staff. It also cuts out the massive paper usage incurred in filing the query and replying to these. The move also can help serve as a template for the states to follow. Given there is a provision for suo motu disclosure in the RTI Act, putting the replies online follows as a corollary. The cause of transparency is better served with participation from both sidesthe information seeker as well as the information-giver. To this end, those who make queries should not be averse to share minor details.