The two-day tenth annual convention of the Central Information Commission concluded here today.
The two-day tenth annual convention of the Central Information Commission concluded here.
Chief Information Commissioner Vijay Sharma said the agenda of the convention had been finalised in consultation with state CICs and added that the aim of the convention was to ensure its continued relevance.
He said the RTI should be strengthened taking into account the emerging information demands of a modernised India and the technologies now available due to the momentum generated by the ‘Digital India’ initiative.
The convention provided a platform for discussions in drawing a road map for the future achieving the aims and objectives of the Act towards greater transparency and accountability in the working of the public authorities for the benefits of the public and the country.
The deliberations and discussions took place on significant topics such as Translating RTI into Citizen Welfare – the expanding horizons in Digital India, Rationalizing the nature and scope of the Act; gaps; implications for use and misuse, the RTI Act seeks a “practical regime” and Making RTI better: experience from the states etc.
The points of view of the various states emerged during the convention demonstrated the wide usage of the RTI Act by the citizens and their faith in the RTI instrument for the redressal of the grievances for the upgradation of the delivery of public service and control of corruption.
Representatives of the states said that it will help to bring in more consistency if there was uniformity in the rules. Some of the states felt that the issue of increasing burden of frivolous RTIs need to be addressed. Many states including the North East states stated that training is required for the staff in the public authorities who have to handle the RTI applications.
The infrastructure support to bridge the digital divide is required to achieve the aim of transparency through technology, the State CICs agreed.
The discussion on the privacy in RTI times involved much discussion having a bearing on account of the lack of clarity of the legal standing of the right to privacy.
The speakers agreed that it is a contemporary subject that ought to be discussed in the RTI times. Infact the RTI Act has brought law of privacy into focus.
The panelists said that a balance is needed between the public domain and the privacy issue while implementing the RTI Act.
There is a paradigm shift from the application driven RTI to the full and open information, the speakers observed.