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Ministry of Personnel, PG and Pensions
Dated: July 18, 2013
Subject: Guidelines on Awareness Generation and Capacity building components of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme on "Improving Transparency and Accountability in government through effective implementation of Right to Information Act" for the year 2013-2014 to 2015-2016.
The Right to Information Act was enacted in 2005 to further the objectives of making the governance more transparent and accountable. In the last 7 years, an elaborate institutional mechanism, including setting up of Information Commissions, designation of large number of officers as CPIOs/ SPIOs and Appellate Authorities and laying down of detailed guidelines and instructions for dealing with RTI requests, has been set up, in line with the mandate of the Act, to ensure that the right of information is exercised freely and with ease.
To further strengthen the RTI regime, a centrally sponsored scheme was launched in 2008 with the primary objective of creating awareness and for training of officers, both in central and state governments. This scheme was sanctioned for 2 years. A new scheme titled 'Improving transparency and accountability in government through effective implementation of Right to Information Act" was approved for the remaining two years of the 11th Plan period (2010-11 and 2011-12). Guidelines for sanction and release of funds to SICs and ATIs for two components of the scheme namely 'awareness generation and capacity building' were issued vide O.M. No.1/6/2010-IR dated 16.8.2010. Almost all the ATls availed of the grants given by this Department for the various activities under the components of awareness generation and capacity building.
Keeping in view the feedback received from the ATls and the evaluation of the scheme conducted by IIPA, the guidelines on the various components of the plan scheme for which financial support would be provided by DOPT to the ATls and SICs are revised as follows:-
2.0 Awareness Generation for RTI:
Both Central and State Governments are obligated to create awareness about the provisions of the Act. Financial assistance under this component will be provided to supplant these efforts of State Governments:
3.0 Support for Capacity Building -Training of SPIOs/CPIOs and First Appellate Authorities (FAA).
State ATIs will be supported for undertaking training of SPIOs/CPIOs and AAs in a cascade model. In the first instance, ATIs will train District Resource Persons (DRPs) who will in turn train SPIOs/CPIOs and AAs in the districts.
4.0 Simplification of processes for filing of RTI - The facility of filing RTI applications and appeals online through RTI online web portal has been launched and is being implemented in all the Ministries/Departments of Govt of India situated in New Delhi. The same facility can be extended to the State Govt offices by sharing with them the software developed by NIC (Headquarters). New Delhi. The ATIs may play the role of catalyst in the implementation of the facility in the Public Authorities located in the state. Proposals in this regard are invited from ATIs and funds would be granted on the basis of such proposal.
5.0 Improved record management /Suo motu disclosure - In order to attend to RTI requests promptly, it is necessary to index and store records properly. Similarly, suo motu disclosure would help in disseminating as much information as possible to the public which would obviate the need to seek information through RTI. GOI has issued guidelines on suo motu disclosure under Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005 to be followed by the Ministries/Departments of GOI. It would be desireable that such guidelines are adopted by the State Governments as well. DOPT would grant funds under this scheme as follows:-
6.0 Institutional mechanism for collaborative working with CSOs and Media:
DOPT would provide funds upto Rs.5 Lakhs(in each case) for field based study/research on RTI. The ATls may invite proposals for field based study/research on RTI from Civil Society Organisations or individuals. Proposals found suitable may be submitted to DOPT for final selection. Funds would be granted by DOPT only for the selected proposals. Mentoring for the study/research would be provided by the ATls.
7.0 Sanction and release of Financial Assistance:
SICs and ATIs are required to submit detailed proposals for seeking financial assistance for 2013-14 under the scheme, as per proforma at Annexure I. The proposal must include detailed cost estimates for various activities and the time-lines for physical achievement. Scheme Monitoring Committee (SMC) will review the proposals and sanction assistance.
Funds will be released to ATls and SICs directly as per the following:
8.0 The first meeting of the SMC is scheduled for late August 2013. All complete proposals received in DOPT by 20th August, 2013 will be processed and put up before SMC. SICs and ATIs are requested to submit their proposals in the prescribed proforma as soon as possible. In case, you need any information, you may contact Shri Sandeep Jain, Director (IR) at contact details given below.
9.0 These guidelines are in supersession of OM No. 1/6/2010-IR dated 16th August, 2010.
10.0 Proposals may be sent in the prescribed proforma (Annexure) to Shri Sandeep Jain, Director(IR), Room No. 279, Department of Personnel and Training, North Block, Telephone 23092755, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Improving Transparency and Accountability in Government through effective implementation of Right to Information Act
D. It is certified that:-
Note: Should be signed by DG/Director in case of ATI and by Secretary in the case of SIC