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Govt Deptts turn SIC into toothless tiger
5/24/2018 11:09:19 PM
Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Early Times Report

Srinagar, May 24: It seems that State Information Commission(SIC) has turned into a toothless tiger with government departments rarely adhering to any of its directives for implementation of RTI Act 2009.
It has been nine years since implementation of RTI Act 2009 in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, the State Information Commission has expressed unhappiness over lack of implementation of RTI Act 2009 in Jammu and Kashmir.
Most government departments in Jammu and Kashmir are in clear defiance of an important section of the J&K Right to Information Act 2009 by either not developing their websites or not keeping the information available on the existing one.
As per section 4 of the RTI Act, every public authority is supposed to digitalise all its records that are fit to be computerised and keep the same available on network which is accessible.
However, in a circular, the General Administration Department has pointed out that "some of the departments are not implementing the provisions of Section 4 of the Right to Information Act and some of them have yet not created their departmental websites".
As per it, the departments are not updating their websites even though from time to time, instructions have been issued, impressing upon all the Administrative Secretaries, Heads of the Departments and Public Authorities of the State to ensure effective implementation of the same. The circular added that all the Administrative Secretaries have been asked to share the status related to the departmental websites with the General Administration Department and the State Information Commission within a week.
"All such departments who have not so far created their own departmental websites are impressed upon to do so within a fortnight and host the requisite material on the websites under the provisions of Jammu & Kashmir Right to Information Act 2009 on a regular basis."
Similarly, the SIC has written to the heads of departments that that there have been deficiencies, weaknesses in implementation of the Act that "deserve priority attention".
The SIC has instructed the departments that they were not following the rules in implementation of the RTI Act 2009 in the state.
The SIC has found high incidence of public information officers "not providing" information to the RTI applicants within the stipulated period of 30 days prescribed under section 7 (1).
The SIC has issued several instructions to departments while furnishing information to the applicant under the Act.
"Insufficient awareness about the JK RTI Act 2009 and the rules among the PIOs and first appellate authority. Quality of orders/disposal by the PIOs and FAAs is not always upto the mark," the SIC has said.
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