ASM DIGITAL EDUCTION HUB

• How to file an RTI application for e-governance issues, • Does RTI apply to all e-governance services?, • The future of RTI in a digital governance environment, • Overcoming limitations of RTI in e-governance, • Balancing transparency and security with RTI in e-governance,

Right to Information (RTI) in e-governance

Importance of RTI for e-governance transparency

How RTI empowers citizens in e-governance

Benefits of RTI for effective e-governance

Information in e-Governance In the present era, information is the key to economic development, therefore, the entire system is revolving around information. Electronic government involves the use of communications and information technology to deliver government information and services to citizens, businesses, employees, and governments. This can save money and time by improving the efficiency of the system. If the work is done on the electronic system instead of the documented system, it can reduce the need for manpower and also reduce the work operation cost. The success of the state is measured by how easy it is for citizens to access government services. Therefore, governments are using modern means of information technology to deliver services to every citizen. Various provisions of the Right to Information Act impose the requirement of publication of information on the public authority which leads to automatic disclosure of information and promotes e-governance. Transparency of democracy can be enhanced by removing the technical challenges of this system.The information revolution has improved the quality of life of citizens. While the problems of the common people are solved quickly by e-governance, the administrative system also gets a new direction. With this, information about various schemes run by the government and administration is immediately available. The Right to Information Act imposes an obligation on all public authorities under its purview to publish a wide variety of information suo motu (in English ‘suo motu’) without request. This provision acknowledges that transparency is generally in the public interest and therefore public authorities should make every effort to make as much information as possible public. Section 4 (1) A directs the public authorities to list all their records in such a way that they are easily available on the computer network as per their resources and it is required that all the public information officers should automatically publish information on the sixteen points mentioned under Section 4 (1) B and also conduct audit every year. All the information in section 4 (2) should be made available on all the media on a voluntary basis so that the public has to make minimum use of this law. Under section 4 (4), this act refers to any event video audio media broadcasts internet etc.

e-Government

e-Government refers to the use of information technology by government agencies. With this, the person can get information from the concerned department through the computer sitting at home. This system facilitates the access of the general public to government functioning, information, services, public convenience and ends the problems of autocracy, corruption, lack of transparency and credibility in the administration. At present, the importance of e-governance for information exchange has increased. In fact, to fulfill the commitment to ensure accountable, transparent and sensitive governance, providing information and communication technology-based services to the public is also a major goal of the Central Government. Through e-governance, people are easily getting information about schemes from the central to the state government. After the implementation of the right to information, every citizen is getting information about different types of information. Every person wants information about planning, health, cleanliness, employment, price of food grains, education. According to the Right to Information Act, it is the responsibility of the government to provide information that can be accessed by the government online with the help of the Internet. Effective use of RTI has led to significant improvement in government machinery, reduction in communication cost and increased transparency.

How to file an RTI request for e-government information

Case studies of RTI success in e-governance projects

The future of RTI in a digital government

The impact of RTI on e-government service delivery

Overcoming barriers to RTI access in e-governance

Key Goal

1 To Increase accountability and transparency of government.

2 To ensure public participation in governance.

3 To increase the confidence of the citizens in the government.

4 Providing quick information at low cost at home.

The usefulness

1. An orderly maintenance of plans and documents is possible.

2. Right to Information and e-governance together can contribute to the development of the country.

3. Availability of information brings awareness to the service provider.

4. Right to Information is an important factor in building e-governance.

The information reaches directly to the person concerned.

e-Governance and Right to Information Information Technology facilitates efficient, speedy and transparent process of information dissemination. Coordinated use of information technology in governance is synonymous with e-governance. Most of the government departments, agencies and organizations in the country have their own internet websites. Information dissemination through these websites is proving to be more transparent, sensitive and people-oriented. In fact, e-Governance is a broad concept which not only deals with the governance system but also includes political, socio-cultural, economic, technological, administrative and other dimensions. Keeping this objective in mind, an online RTI portal has been created. Also, all the departments have been directed to voluntarily upload the frequently asked information in their website so that it is easily accessible to the common citizens.

Features of e-information Access to information and services on the Internet is a practical form of e-governance. This includes accountability for public services, instilling public confidence in the administration and bringing transparency in administrative work. This system reduces paperwork and prevents delays and babu raj. There is efficiency in administration. The right to information contains obligations that pave the way for following the principles of natural justice. Direct access to information to the service provider also helps in advancing democratic values.

Benefits of e-information

E-governance is easy and cost-effective for citizens. Through this, information is obtained without wasting time, energy and money. The benefits of e-governance include efficiency, better services, better access to public services and greater transparency and accountability. The Right to Information (RTI) Act provides information on organisational, functional and procedural information of government departments, details of schemes related to developmental and social welfare, orders, copies of documents, registration and disposal of complaints, lack of paperwork, scope of information domain, minutes in prescribed electronic form instead of publishing them frequently. Quick information is available from the online RTI portal and the concerned departmental website. With this, if an officer is not in direct contact with the servant, then there is no possibility of corruption. The work of a citizen also cannot be postponed for long. People’s trust in the right to information has increased due to information technology. Both the Right to Information Act 2005 and Information Technology have necessitated a change in the role of the bureaucracy. While the use of information technology can make administrative functioning more efficient and effective, there is a growing demand for transparency, openness, accountability and sensitivity in the bureaucracy under the Right to Information. The main aim of the government is welfare of the people through information service. In this context, rules and regulations need to be refined.

Section 4 (1) (e) of the Right to Information Act requires all public authorities to regularly make public and update 17 categories of information. This ensures that citizens always have access to useful and relevant information. The information to be published in the context of e-Governance includes:

Structure of government department, powers and duties of officers, directory of personnel and monthly salary of employees.

Decisions affecting the public, procedure of conduct of business, decision-making process, procedure, norms, rules, laws, orders, circulars which serve as guidelines to the public authority and the categories of documents available.

Financial statements and plans relating to the organisation, budget statements, reports relating to implementation, details of funds allocated and their beneficiaries, exemptions.

Details of consultations, opportunities for participation in formulation of policies or implementation thereof, details of Government Corporations, Committees, Councils and Consultative Groups.

Details relating to access to information, list of documents, electronic details, facilities available and names and posts and contact details of Public Information Officers.Public authorities need to ensure that information covered under Section 4 (1) (e) of the Right to Information Act is disseminated widely. Collecting them and keeping them in a file is not enough. They need to be published widely and in such forms that they are accessible to the general public. E-governance can be promoted by putting information on office information boards, publishing in newspapers, availability on government websites, public announcements, publishing in regional language. Every information officer should be provided with these information in a computer so that he can immediately produce them for inspection or provide them immediately if they are asked for in the form of print out or photocopy. Overall, the main objective of information obligations is to keep records ready at all times so as to facilitate and ensure access to them by the public at all times.

Information and Accountability

The government regularly develops policies, projects and schemes that affect the people. The Right to Information Act, 2005 demands that all public authorities publish all relevant facts while formulating policies and announcing decisions. This means that citizens can participate more actively in the policy process and more effectively check that decisions are made on sound grounds. Now the public authorities have to communicate the reasons for their decisions to the people who will be affected by those decisions. Decisions should in all cases be published so that the public can check that the decisions have been taken properly. The Right to Information Act envisages that information made public on its own initiative shall be widely published free of cost. No special application need to be made for this. Since there is no need to apply for it, there is no need to wait for 30 days to get the information and the information will be given immediately. Section 5 of the Right to Information Act also provides that the Public Information Officer shall hear the person seeking information and shall also reasonably assist him in providing the information.

Technical Challenges

 Under this, issues related to creation of online website for all departments, technical standard protocols, information quality, security, exchange and control, technical information.

Organisational challenges Issues related to multi-level approval system, departmental organization, designation, confidentiality.

Structural challenges Issues related to lack of separate information implementation mechanism, lack of authentic information, binding of liability.

The information revolution has served as a powerful tool in establishing good governance in India. Access to information through e-governance can be made simple, citizen-oriented, transparent, accountable and quick. By providing information faster, they can be made citizen-centric so that its benefits reach the right people. E-systems can enhance efficiency and productivity by improving information quality, reducing cost and time, empowering citizens and enhancing transparency in government functioning, modifying processes and procedures. E-information is being used to provide facilities to the general public and to speed up the work of administration. Despite the technical limitations, it is necessary to ensure that apart from the elites, people from the general level can also become partners in the administration. At present most of the public servants have an indifferent attitude towards the public in providing information. Such an approach needs to be changed because the main objective of the bureaucracy in independent India is the socio-economic development of the nation. Bureaucracy should adopt approaches that enable more people to participate in the information process of development. To provide transparent, timely and hassle-free citizen services, there is a need to ensure access to information to the last mile of the society.

Suggestions An inclusive and collaborative mechanism should be created by the government agencies by creating opportunities to help in the comprehensive development and expansion of e-governance-information systems. Efforts should also be made to address the technical problems at the earliest by developing infrastructure. To make e-governance successful, access to basic facilities at the grassroots level, promotion of use of computers and internet, collection and dissemination of information, information and training related to use of computers and internet should be promoted. Common citizens should be encouraged to use the right to information as much as possible.

  • How to file an RTI application for e-governance issues
  • Does RTI apply to all e-governance services?
  • The future of RTI in a digital governance environment
  • Overcoming limitations of RTI in e-governance
  • Balancing transparency and security with RTI in e-governance

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