File An RTI, Now Without Fear

Posted: June 21, 2011 in News, The NamoLeague Times
Tags: , , , ,

To celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, the Ahmedabad-based Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP) announced its plans to pioneer an effort to protect RTI applicants against any perceived or real threat. It added a service in its ‘whistleblower’ helpline for the RTI users.

The MAGP helplines: +919924085000 and 07926821553 (fax) will now take details of the applications, nature of threats and addresses from such applicants and forward them, along with a complaint, to the concerned Police Station, the Superintendent of Police, the District Collector and the State Information Commission.

MAGP Coordinator, Pankti Jog, expressed her concern over the activists being threatened and harassed in Gujarat. She said that the move is partly due to the murder of seven RTI activists across the country. Also, RTI users have to face oppositions from both the Government departments and anti-social elements that go to any extent to force applicants to withdraw their applications. Another concern is the limited awareness among the rural areas of Gujarat about RTI.

The helpline was launched on 11th May, 2006 and has not stopped ringing since then! Till date, it claims to have received 58,307 calls from both within and outside Gujarat. MAGP claimed that 75% of these calls were made by citizens, a little less than a quarter by Government officials, PIOs (11%), retired Government officers curious about their retirement dues (7%), deemed PIOs (5%) and other Government officers (2%). The statistics also mention that information on land entitlements contributed to the maximum (14%) of the calls, followed by retirement dues (10%) and development work (8%).The helpline was flooded with calls on the financial and performance details of trusts and NGOs.

This move is commendable as RTI in Gujarat is being strangled deliberately and getting weaker at various levels of governance.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=File%20An%20RTI,%20Now%20Without%20Fear_209

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