Right to Information

Right to Information

Please click here to download the Department of Personnel and Training's revised version of RTI User Guide. To know what the RTI User Guide has for information seekers, please click here

DoPT's guidelines on proactive disclosure

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has recently uploaded the second installment of guidelines for implementing the proactive disclosure obligations under Section 4(1)(b) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (click here for guidelines issued in November, 2013). These guidelines have been circulated to the States. It has asked state governments to put all information related to implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Public Distribution System in public domain. The states have been asked to ensure proactive disclosure under Right to Information (RTI) Act of information on public works done by a department at block and panchayat levels.

The Task Force constituted by DoPT has recommended guidelines for disclosure by state governments along with templates for disclosure at various levels. Illustrative templates have been recommended for disclosure under PDS, Panchayats, MGNREGA and primary and secondary schools.

In the case of PDS, disclosures at the level of Fair Price Shops (FPS) should go down to the level of ration card holder, while at the level of district or state, agencies dealing with the disclosures would need to be more broad-based. The public information at FPS should have detail of entitlement, complaints register, helpline number (in case it is available), procedure for applying ration cards under various categories and vigilance committees, as per the template issued by the Centre.

Panchayats have been asked to put in public domain information including sex and age-wise population of a village, families with and without toilets at home, animals, gram sabhas, details of various monitoring committee (on MGNREGA and others), list of records available for free inspection (Panchayati Act, audit reports, etc), details of panchayat taxes, budget, availability of water and various development work done by them.

Information on grievance redressal mechanism at government schools, number of teachers and students (including those with special needs and belonging to backward classes), entitlement and incentive information, budgetary expenditure and mid-day meal programme has to be made public.

The latest set of guidelines focus on practical guidelines for disclosing information about crucial social development programmes at the State level. These will be applicable from the village panchayat level up to the Secretariat level in each State. The DoPT has specifically addressed a letter to the Chief Secretaries seeking their involvement in the use of these guidelines to implement the proactive disclosure obligations of public authorities under the RTI Act.

The DoPT constituted a Task Force in April 2011 to come up with Guidelines for implementing Section 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act. Civil Society Organisations and senior government representatives were part of this Task Force. The first set of guidelines was publicised in April this year (click here for guidelines issued in April, 2013). The DoPT deserves to be congratulated for completing the long-pending work of the Task Force before the end of the year.
 


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