Right to Information Current Affairs - 2020

Rajasthan launches ‘Jan Soochna Portal’

The state government of Rajasthan launched ‘Jan Soochna Portal’, a portal for quick access to information on government departments. The portal was launched by Rajasthan’s Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and is a step of state government towards making Rajasthan a model state for good governance and accountability in administration.

About Jan Soochna Portal

The public information portal has been developed by state’s information and technology (IT) department. In portal 23-24 types of information will be made available pertaining to 13 departments on a single platform. The information will also be available on self-service ‘E-Mitra Plus‘ kiosk.

Rajasthan has now become first state in country to provide information about a dozen departments on a single platform.

The portal has been launched under Rajasthan Innovation Vision (RAJIV) campaign.

The move will bring transparency and accountability, and empower the right of people to seek information.

With the launch of portal, state government has expressed its intention of using technology for transparency and would further strengthen and expand the scope of the Right to Information (RTI) law. Through this portal common man will get information pertaining to 13 departments online in a lucid language. The portal is inspired by the very spirit of Section 4 (2) of RTI Act, 2005, i.e. Proactive Disclosure of Information.

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NRIs cannot file RTI applications: Government

Government has informed Lok Sabha that Non-Resident Indians (NRI) cannot file Right to Information (RTI) applications to seek governance-related information from Central government departments. It mentioned that only citizens of India have the right to seek information under the provisions of RTI Act, 2005 and NRIs  are not eligible to file RTI applications.

Right to Information Act 2005

This law was passed by Parliament on 15 June 2005 and came fully into force on 12 October 2005. It mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information by various public authorities under Central Government as well as the State Governments. The law imposes penalty for wilful default by government officials. Citizens can ask for anything that government can disclose to Parliament.

Objectives of RTI are to empower citizens (as right to information is fundamental right of the citizens under Article 19), promote transparency and accountability in working of Government, check corruption and make our democracy work for the people in real sense.

Public authorities defined under this law are required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days of the request. The law also mandates every public authority to computerise their records for wide dissemination and proactively certain categories of information so that citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.

Note: Information that can prejudicially impact internal security, relations with foreign countries, intellectual property rights, breach of parliamentary privilege and impedes investigations cannot be shared with public under RTI. Cabinet papers are exempted from RTI until decision has been implemented. However, discussions within Cabinet are never disclosed under RTI.

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