Monday, April 21, 2008

Interesting RTI Applications (RTI Project Updates - 20)

RTI Applications
The last week has essentially been one of filing RTI applications. These are RTIs on RTI. I filed 30 RTI applications one with each of the district in Tamil Nadu. In this application I had asked questions on
1. Display boards of PIOs and AAs and upload of these details to the district website
2. Section 4 disclosures and upload of those documents to the district website
3. Trainings conducted for PIOs and AAs on RTI, budgets allocated and expense statements of funds for this purpose.
4. No. of RTI applications received, replied, no. that went to first appeal and no. that went to second appeal.

I filed an RTI application with the treasury as to how much amount it has received as RTI penalties so far. The Chief Commissioner in an article published in "The Hindu" has said that so far penalty has been imposed on around 100 officers. This information should give us a good idea of how much penalty has so far been recovered.

During a recent discussion with the commissioner, I learnt from him that a lot of his files are being stalled by the government. An example was a request for producing a video on RTI, wherein he said that the government sat on it for about 4 months and then approved it just a few days before the Financial year came to an end, when the funds sanctioned will lapse. I was wondering if I should check it up with the government using RTI and if it there is evidence, then we can highlight the issues and help the SIC work more freely. Though initially I was not for doing this myself since that might make the Commissioner unhappy and close the channel of communication that is now there with him, but then I realised that such things should not come in the way, since if this is not done, it will be real trouble if the government keeps getting away with stalling the commission's work, it will get even more bold and do worse things. So I filed an RTI with P&AR department wanting to inspect all the files related to the TNSIC that are available with them.

Also recently I came across this link where I saw that the P&AR department has proposed for 5 Lakhs in the FY 2008-09 for spreading awareness about the RTI act. So I filed an RTI application how much money it had received in the past years in the same manner and how they spent it.

The link is At the end of this page is the information regarding Right to Information Act.

The radio program happened this week too where we took two interesting callers. One was a person who lost his bike about 4 years ago, and had filed a complaing with the Police. But he got no information about it from the police on action taken etc. So I asked him to file an RTI asking about the action taken. Another caller had problems opening an account with State Bank of India. They took a long time to give him an account application form. But now that he has got the form and wanted to submit it back, they were generally dilly dallying, in receiving the application form. Since it was a government bank, I asked him to file an RTI application on the rules for acceptance of forms, reasons for not taking his form. Why these were interesting is that this will send the message across that even institutions like the Police and Government banks come under the ambit of the RTI act, which might not have been readily thought of by public.

When I went to the Radio office, I met a few people from TVS Infotech who had come there for another program. I talked to them and asked them if they could arrange for awareness sessions in their company. One girl said that they definitely can and also that she had previously worked in Xansa and that she will arrange for such a session there too.

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