Transparency law RTI reduced to a joke in J&K
Some of the major findings of CHRI are:
- AÂ total of 1.75 crore (1,75,23,154)Â RTI applications are reported to have been made to the Central and State Governments during the periodÂ 2005-2015;
- Top-3: TheÂ Central GovernmentÂ received more than a quarter (27.20%Â i.e., 47.66 lakhs) of the 1.75 crore requests submitted by citizens between 2005-2015 (financial year). TheÂ Government of MaharashtraÂ also received more than a quarter (26.40%Â i.e., 46.26 lakhs) of the RTI applications submitted during this period. TheÂ Government ofÂ KarnatakaÂ receivedÂ 11.83%Â (i.e., 20.73 lakhs) of the RTI applications submitted during this period. Taken together, theÂ Central GovernmentÂ and theÂ State Governments of MaharashtraÂ andÂ KarnatakaÂ account for almostÂ 2/3rdsÂ (65.43%) of the RTI applications received from the citizenry, between the years 2005-2015.
- Counting the RTI statistics published by 15 Information Commissions during the periodÂ 2013-2015Â (taking into account statistics available only for the latest year) a total ofÂ 26.60 lakhÂ RTI requests were made by citizens during a period of one year. By a conservative extrapolation of this data to other States which have not published annual reports during the same period, it may be estimated said that the total number of RTI requests submitted across the country in a year during this period could be aboutÂ 53-56 lakhs.Â Based on official figures we stand by our conservative estimate despite other RTI activists pegging the figure at 75-80 lakh RTI applications per year.
- NoneÂ of the Information Commissions that follow theÂ financial yearÂ reporting cycle, have published their Annual Reports for the yearÂ 2015-16.
- Amongst the Information Commissions that follow theÂ calendar yearÂ reporting cycle, onlyÂ MeghalayaÂ andÂ SikkimÂ have published their Annual Reports for the yearÂ 2015.
- TheÂ Karnataka Information CommissionÂ is the only body that has published online, all annual reports due, since October, 2005.
There is an urgent need to ensure the publication of annual reports in the larger States of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Without data from these States which have a large number of RTI users and activists, it is not possible to draw a more accurate statistical picture of the volume of RTI applications filed across the country. RTI users and activists must work with their legislators to question their Governments about the delay in the publication of annual reports wherever they are overdue.
There is also an urgent need to bring about uniformity in the manner of reporting RTI statistics. Some Information Commissions report according to the calendar year while others use the financial year reporting cycle. If a uniform reporting cycle is adopted, it will be possible to arrive at a more accurate statistical picture of the manner of implementation of the RTI Act across the country.