Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Govt to Train Nodal Officers on Do's and Dont's of RTI Act

 In a move aimed at strengthening the Right to Information Act, the central government has decided to train nodal officers dealing with RTI applications both at the Centre and in states on various do's and don'ts of the transparency law.

Officials said the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has planned a detailed training programme for Central Public Information Officers (CPIOs) and State Public Information Officers (SPIOs), who act as nodal officers to deal with RTI applications.

The officials will be made aware of periodic changes made in the RTI Act and e-handling of applications.

"There have been many queries from CPIOs and SPIOs while resolving RTI applications. The department has taken an initiative to train the officials dealing with RTI applications at the Centre and in states through a centrally sponsored scheme," a DoPT officer said.

He said the officers will also be trained on ways to provide the information sought in an RTI query.

"There have been instances where information seekers ask for opinion rather than information. The CPIOs and SPIOs face lot of problems in responding to such applications as the fear of facing penalty or admonishment from the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission is always on their minds. All such issues are also taken up during training programmes," the official said.

The DoPT had in 2010 introduced a plan scheme 'Improving transparency and accountability in government through effective implementation of Right to Information Act' in order to continue to support the State Information Commission and Administrative Training Institutes in the area of awareness generation and capacity building.

The officer said the government has issued instructions requiring all public authorities to update records, improve infrastructure and bring out necessary manuals as provided in the Act and comply with the provisions regarding suo-motu disclosure.

The RTI Act, which was enacted in 2005, covers disclosure of information on almost all matters of governance.

The government has also decided to give a grant of Rs 2.5 lakh each to a State Information Commission for organising RTI week between October 5-11 every year, another Rs 2.5 lakh each to training institutes for innovative awareness generation programmes and Rs 50 lakh each for organising workshops and seminars.

"Every year there is a surge in filing of RTI applications with every public authority. Hence, there is a need to train officials dealing with it to timely respond to queries raised by an information seeker. The training will be aimed at enhancing competence and computerisation of whole information delivery system," he said.

According to the DoPT, the CPIOs and SPIOs will also be trained in computer literacy.

"The DoPT will seek details of utilisation of funds by SICs annually and only after receiving it further grants will be issued," the official said.
Filed On: Jun 20, 2012 22:42 IST ,  Edited On: Jun 20, 2012 22:42 IST
FILED IN: RTI | Government-Governance-Government Policies etc

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