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Section 4 of RTI Act yet to be implemented in JK
Voluntary disclosure by depts still a distant dream
1/19/2021 10:50:29 PM

JAMMU, Jan 19: After lapse of over 14 months since the implementation of Central Right to Information Act (RTI) majority of the government departments in Union Territory have yet to implement the provisions of Section 4 of the Act, which enjoined upon departments to pro-actively disclose certain types of information within 120 days of the enactment of the Act. After the conversion of State into Union Territory on 30th October 2019, the Section-4 of the Central Right to Information Act 2005, had to be implemented within four months that was till March 2020 but after lapse of over nine months, since the expiry of date the Section-4 of the Act is not implemented by maximum of the government departments and other public authorities. The Section 4 directs the public authorities to suo-moto disclose particulars of organization, functions duties, powers and duties of officers beside others. “Most important among over 20 types of suo-moto disclosures to be made by public authorities, include powers and duties of officers and employees, statement of categories of documents held by it or under their control, a directory and monthly remuneration of officers and employees, manner of execution of subsidy programmes including amounts allocated and details of beneficiaries of such programmes”, the Section-4 reads. The suo-moto disclosure was made mandatory under Section-4 as it would help the public to easily get information and would desist them from resorting to use of the RTI to obtain information. “If list of BPL beneficiaries, or beneficiaries of PM Awas Yojna and other schemes would be available to public, than it would help to check the credentials of beneficiaries and check the corruption level.
Similarly if all hospitals will disclose the availability of medicines, blood and other items available in their stock, it will be beneficial for public and check corruption”, RTI activist Raman Sharma said, adding that it was unfortunate that maximum of the departments have not implemented the provisions of Section-4 of the RTI Act, despite lapse of over 14 months since the implementation of Central Act. Another activist said that only the General Administration Department (GAD) has been updating the orders regularly but that too selectively, which was evident from the serial number of the orders as many orders were missing from the serial. “If Section 4 will be implemented by all departments, it will help in reducing the number of RTI applications as maximum of the information will be available to public free of cost and without any effort”, the activists said, adding that if Lieutenant Governor administration would be able to get implemented the Section-4, the corruption level and work load in context of RTI applications would reduce to certain level.
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