Union minister Jitendra Singh Monday said that avoiding duplication and "misguided RTIs" will lead to reduction in pendency and workload, besides enhancing efficiency, according to an official communique. Addressing an event here, Singh underlined that almost all information today is available in public domain, and suggested that information authorities should ponder to “avoid the avoidable RTIs”.
He said the RTI disposal rate had remained unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic and during certain given intervals of time, the disposal rate was even higher than the usual. Addressing a meeting of the Central Information Commission and State Information Commissioners, Singh said that ever since the Modi government came into power in 2014, transparency and citizen-centricity became the hallmark of the governance model.
He said that in the last six years, every conscious decision was taken to strengthen the independence and resources of the Information Commissions and all vacancies were filled as fast as possible, according to the statement issued by the Personnel Ministry.
Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, said that the rate of RTI disposal remained unaffected by the pandemic and from March to July 2020, disposal of cases by Central Information Commission was almost equal to the corresponding figures from the preceding year. He said that in June 2020, RTI disposal rate was higher than June 2019 and everyone took note of that, according to the statement.
This reinforced the vigour proved to society and the nation that nothing can deter the working of the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the minister said. The statement said, “He also added that avoidance of duplication and misguided RTIs will lead to reduction in pendency and workload and will enhance efficiency.” Singh said that it goes to the credit of the CIC and its functionaries that in the midst of the pandemic on 15th May this year, the transparency watchdog started entertaining, hearing and disposing of RTIs from the newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, through virtual means.
The minister said that any citizen of India can now file RTI pertaining to matters related to J-K and Ladakh, which was reserved to only citizens of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, before the Reorganisation Act of 2019, the statement said. Consequent to the passing of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019, the J-K Right to Information Act 2009 and the rules thereunder were repealed and the Right to Information Act, 2005 and the rules thereunder were enforced from October 31, 2019, it said. This measure was widely hailed by people of Jammu and Kashmir and the administration of the UT, the statement said.
Chief Information Commissioner Bimal Julka said the Commission had effectively continued its interactive and outreach activities during the lockdown period and afterwards. These, he said, included video conference with civil society representatives and with members of National Federation of Information Commissions in India (NFICI), the statement added.