Moving further towards greater transparency in governance, the government has started as a pilot project the facility of filing online RTI applications from April.
The facility, which was earlier restricted for information related to theDepartment of Personnel and Training (DoPT), was in a phased-manner extended to 37 central government ministries and departments. “This facility would be extended to all the Ministries or Departments of Government of India with effect from August 21, 2013,” said an official of DoPT, which acts as nodal department for the implementation of the transparency law.
The Centre’s flagship Right to Information Act, which was enacted in 2005, mandates timely response — within 30 days — to citizen requests for government information.
One has to pay a fee of Rs 10 for seeking information. An information seeker can submit a fee of Rs 10 via Internet banking through SBI and its associated banks using the website. One can also use credit or debit cards.
At present, the text of an application that can be uploaded at the prescribed column (on the website while filing application) is confined to 500 words only. “In case an application contains more than 500 words, it can be uploaded as an attachment,” the official said, adding that an applicant will also get an alert on his or her mobile about movement of the applications.
Information seekers can also get answers to their queries related to the portal on telephone number 011-24622461 during normal office hours, the official said.
The President and Vice President’s Office, Ministry of Personnel, Ministry of Home Affairs, External Affairs Ministry, CBEC, CBDT and Union Public Service Commission are among 37 ministries or departments facilitating online RTI applications.
“This is a very progressive achievement it will help people who are technological savvy to file RTI applications online,” said Venkatesh Nayak, coordinator (access to information programme), Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.
The facility of filing online RTI applications is currently not proposed to be extended for field offices, attached or subordinate offices of the central government.