“People should have a right to question the government. This is the foundation of democracy, this will increase faith in democracy. When matters go online, transparency increases automatically. Trust also increases,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the eve of celebration of 10th year of RTI but facts show neither PMO nor the state governments are interested in revealing information under the act.
On the 10th anniversary, data journalism portal, Factly, analysed the Section 4 disclosures made by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the various chief minister offices (CMOs) since they are the highest power authorities in the country.
Factly analysed the CMO websites of 29 states and two UTs (Delhi & Puducherry) that have a chief minister. Five states out of 31 States/UTs made ‘proactive disclosures’ Under RTI, section 4.
Only in one out of every six states, the CMO made proactive disclosure as mandated by the RTI act even after 10 years.
These five states are Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
In these five states, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab CMOs made their disclosures only in English. In Maharashtra, the disclosure was made only in the local language. In Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, the disclosures were made in both English and the local language.
The CMO of Uttar Pradesh does best as far as the RTI disclosure is concerned. The disclosures are detailed and available in both English and Hindi.
Section 4 of RTI says, “It shall be a constant endeavour of every public authority to take steps in accordance with the requirements of clause (b) of sub-section (1) to provide as much information suo motu to the public at regular intervals through various means of communications, including internet, so that the public have minimum resort to the use of this Act to obtain information.”