Applicants can deposit fees at e-mitra outlets
“The Rajasthan Information Commission (RIC) is working on having online process of RTI in collaboration with state’s Information and Technology Department, and it would be made functional soon,” Mr Agrawal said during a conference here on ‘RTI: Present Status and Prospects’.
A provision of fee deposition would be made available at e-mitra outlets so that RTI seekers would not have to travel much, the Commissioner said, adding the manual process to get information under RTI Act will continue to remain in place in addition to the online access.
Pointing out the lacunae in the existing RTI Act which had been implemented in 2005, the Commissioner said there was no deadline or time frame for the second appeal authority to give reply to an RTI seeker, and thus, it required amendments.
“A Lok Soochna Adhikari (public information officer) has a limit of 30 days while the first appeal authority gets 30 to 45 days to give reply, but the second appeal authority has been given no time limit,” he said “RTI applicants have been seeking information from the state government or bodies even before 2005 when the RTI Act did not exist,” he said, adding that many of the departments in the state government did not have a record room or keeper.
More public information officers are required to be deputed in departments like Housing Board, Municipal Corporation and Jaipur Development Authority to speed up reply to the applicants, he said.
Mr Agrawal said a video-conferencing facility was also available for physically challenged applicants, but it required improvement.
He said that to contain the abuse of RTI provisions, the public should be educated and trained by NGO groups.
“Those belonging to BPL category can seek information under RTI Act for free, but it is being misused by elected members in villages, and this needs to be checked,” he said. -- PTI