Friday, September 28, 2007

RTI on awareness sessions conducted by Personnel dept

Sec 26(1) of the Right To Information act, 2005 says the following.

26. (1) The appropriate Government may, to the extent of availability of financial and other resources,—
(a) develop and organise educational programmes to advance the understanding of the public, in particular of disadvantaged communities as to how to exercise the rights contemplated under this Act;
(b) encourage public authorities to participate in the development and organisation of programmes referred to in clause (a) and to undertake such programmes themselves;
(c) promote timely and effective dissemination of accurate information by public authorities about their activities; and
(d) train Central Public Information Officers or State Public Information Officers, as the case may be, of public authorities and produce relevant training materials for use by the public authorities themselves.

To see how far this has been done, I filed an RTI application with the PIO of the Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department asking for details of training, awareness camps and the like that they had conducted to fulfil the requirements of this section. The information I received can be viewed here.
One look at the sheet says there have been no awareness programs for the public AT ALL. That means, if not for NGOs or activists working on RTI, people would have had to find their own way around. Even as a formality, the department has not conducted any programs for the public. This shows how much the department wants people to use the act.

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