RAJKOT: The Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT), Ministry of Personal public Grievances and pensions, government of India, issued a guideline and templates for better implementation of section 4 (1) (b) of the Right to Information Act (RTI) and asked the states and union territories to implement it to bring transparency into the administration at local level.
According to sources, in order to further improve the proactive disclosure, government of India constituted a task force on Suo Moto disclosure in May 2011 which included representatives of civil society organizations active in the field of RTI.
Sources said that section 4 (1) (b) of the RTI act lays down the information which should be disclosed by public authorities on pro active basis. The purpose of the pro active disclosure is to place large amount of information in public domain on a proactive basis to make functioning of the public authorities more transparent and also to reduce the need for filling individual RTI applications.
Though, experiences suggests that governments have not been implementing it and people have to file RTI applications which ideally should be available on pro-active disclosure where one need not to file an RTI application.
The task force recommended guidelines for disclosure by state governments along with templates for disclosure at various levels. Four Illustrative templates have been recommended for disclosures under Public Distribution System (PDS), Panchayats, MANERGA, Primary and Secondary schools. These four areas have been selected on the ground that they constituent some of the most significant services being provided at the ground level.
"The templates would not only improve the quality of disclosure but would also facilitate more transparency in governance'' says Pankti Jog of Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP), one of the constituents of Task force.
"If the guidelines and templates of pro-active disclosures implemented, it will help a lot to bring transparency in administration and lower the pendency of appeals before the Gujarat Information Commission (GIC) as citizen have to approach to GIC even in matters which should be available on pro-active disclosure'' Jog said.
The templates and guidelines issued by government provide the methods about how the information at local level should be displayed or make available pro-actively.