To make the process of filing Right To Information (RTI) applications easy, Maharashtra will soon become the first state to enable people to seek information online under the Act. Presently, people file their RTI applications physically and pay a fee of Rs10 via modes like a court fee stamp, demand draft and Indian postal order. The system of filing RTI applications online will help simplify the process.
The Centre has already launched a portal to enable online filing of RTI applications with major ministries and departments located in New Delhi. Here, applicants can get a unique registration number for future reference and can also provide mobile numbers for SMS alerts.
“People will soon be able to file RTI applications online,” Maharashtra information technology (IT) secretary Rajesh Aggarwal told dna, adding that the National Informatics Centre (NIC) was fine-tuning the system. “This will be online in around two to three weeks’ time,” he said and added that they would start accepting such online applications for the general administration department (GAD) and then extend it to other departments and districts later.
Under the system, people will be able to apply for information and pay the necessary fees online, noted Aggarwal. “We have to get it customised,” he said, adding that the NIC was working on fine-tuning the payment gateway, which will enable people to make payments via credit or debit cards or net-banking.
“Allowing people to file RTI applications online will be useful in taking the RTI act forward,” said RTI activist Shivaji Raut. “Students and professionals in sectors like IT and women are not using the RTI act too vigorously. The online filing of RTI applications will help get them into the RTI net and these (educated) people will help expose corruption fast,” he added.
Raut, however, cautioned that public information officers (PIO) in rural areas could face problems receiving and processing RTI applications online. He added that instances of PIOs not accepting RTI applications or trying to hoodwink people would come down due to the new system.
From January to December 2012, a total of 6,82,286 RTI applications were filed in Maharashtra.
Out of these information was given for 6,54,067 applications. A total of 92,649 RTI applications were pending since 2011.
Simplifying the process
Under the system, people will be able to apply for information and pay the necessary fees online.
The government would start accepting such online applications for the general administration department (GAD) and then extend it to other departments and districts later. The system of filing RTI applications online will help simplify the process.