New Delhi : An event was held in Central Information Commission (CIC) today to commemorate the 18th anniversary of enactment of the RTI Act, wherein all the Information Commissioners, Secretary and all the officials and staff participated.
The Information Commissioners addressed the gathering which reflected upon Commission’s achievements as an important stakeholder in the RTI regime. Over these years, CIC has facilitated and disposed of more than 3.5 lakh second appeals/complaints.
The Commission’s efforts towards leveraging technology and other areas were highlighted during the meeting, particularly in the area of holding hearings through Video Conferencing (VC) Mode. Commission conducted 4783 VCs in the year 2020-21, 7514 in the year 2021-22 and 11090 in that of 2022-23. With such improvements the pendency of appeals and complaints was brought down progressively from 38116 in the year 2020-21 to 29213 in 2021-22 and further to a record low of 19233 in the year 2022-23.
It was also recalled that as part of outreach efforts, CIC conducted a public hearing from 3-7-2023 to 5-7-2023 for the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir at J&K Institute of Management and Public Administration, Srinagar to reach out to citizens in far flung and inaccessible areas who due to distance, old age and other limitations could not appear for physical hearings in Delhi nor do they have access to NIC Studio to attend virtual hearings. A workshop was also organized on 6-7-2023 at Srinagar on the topic of “Challenges in implementation of the RTI Act”. The workshop was attended by 150 CPIOs from various Public Authorities and officials of CIC and J&K Administration.
Focus and attention was also paid to a very important component of the RTI act, the ‘Suo Moto Disclosure’ and transparency audit of various Public Authorities was carried out annually. In addition to this, a more rigorous and detailed sample transparency audit for selected Public Authorities was also done every year. This was followed up with suggestions to the Public Authorities to improve the quality of suomoto disclosures.
Finally, it was expressed that the CIC has played an important role in making the RTI mechanism more effective for access to information and disclosure by authorities, towards an informed citizenry. The meeting concluded after extending gratitude to all the citizens and all other stakeholders for their continuous support and participation in fulfilling the objectives of the RTI Act and raising it to the greater heights.