Ground realities quite contrary to RTI mandate in Uttar Pradesh
Narendra Ch | 27 Feb 2014

While section 4 of the RTI Act says that every public authority shall maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed and ensure that they get computerized so that all important details related to these public authorities get published within 120 days of enactment of this Act, the ground realities seem to be quite contrary to this mandate.

These facts were brought through a study conducted by renown RTI Activists  couple Amitabh Thakur and Dr Nutan Thakur. They two studied the status of RTI in 81 Departments of the UP Government mentioned at the Home page of the website of Uttar Pradesh government (http://upgov.nic.in/allsites. asp), particularly as regards the mandatory information that needs to be provided under section 4(1)(b). The study found that almost none of them have provided the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by them for discharging its functions in the electronic form. 

It was also found that many of these information are quite old. Thus names of Nasimuddin Siddique in Cane development, Narayan Singh in Horticulture, Lalji Verma in Parliamentary Affairs and J N Rai in Handloom department remain on official records, while they left the office as way back as March 2012. Similarly, the names of such long retired officers like R K Sharma in the Horticulture, Sri Krishna in Handloom and S C Gupta in the IT Department is written.

Names of the PIOs and Appellate Authority of many departments are outdated while in many cases only the names and no other necessary details have been provided. Similarly in most cases, the years of the Budget presented on website has not been specified while in many other cases, the Budget of year as early as 2008-09 or 2009-10 have been provided. 

Departments like Basic Education, Coordination, Culture, Finance, Fisheries, Infrastructure Development etc have provided almost negligible information. Samagra Gram Vikas, Small Scale Industries and Export Promotion Departments do not even mention about the RTI Act while Revenue and Vidhai departments have links to the RTI section but these links are not operational. The Governor office has information only in English while the Chief Minister office has limited information provided under RTI Act.

Amitabh Thakur felt there seems to be an imminent need to pursue the matter to bring it to its logical end.