Is the RTI becoming weaker over time?

  • Activists are concerned about the Right to Information Act of 2005’s eroding efficacy in keeping government responsible.
  • Political parties, the judiciary, and intelligence agencies are immune from the Act.
  • Recent revisions, such as personal data protection provisions, have raised concerns.

RTI and the DPDP Act

  • The Digital Personal Data Protection Act of 2023 forbids the sharing of personal data, even for social audits, lowering openness.
  • Critics are concerned that this blanket restriction will stymie accountability and transparency measures.

About the Right to Information (RTI)

EnactmentJune 15, 2005
ObjectivePromote transparency and accountability
ApplicabilityAll public authorities at central, state, local levels
ScopeAccess to information on matters of public interest, government policies, budgets, etc.
RTI ApplicationFiled in writing with the concerned public authority
Response TimeWithin 30 days (48 hours for life or liberty issues)
ExemptionsSome information exempted to protect national security, privacy, etc. Judiciary
FeesNominal fee varies based on state and information requested
First Appellate AuthorityFiled if dissatisfied with the response
Second AppealFiled with the relevant Information Commission
Whistleblower ProtectionSafeguards against victimization for exposing corruption
ImpactPromotes transparency, accountability, and good governance

Implementation Difficulties

  • Implementation concerns weaken the Act’s goal of transparency.
  • The effectiveness of the Act is dependent on subordinate rules established by the Union and State Governments.
  • Slow nominations to information commissioners cause appeals to be delayed and undermine trust in the system.

Obstacles and Online Solutions

  • Payment mechanisms for RTI applications differ between states, complicating matters.
  • Online RTI portals remove barriers, however they are not widely available, limiting access.
  • The usability of the Union Government’s RTI portal is affecting data retrieval.

Increasing Dissatisfaction

  • Rising first-time appeals reflect increased discontent with the information provided.
  • RTI efficacy is hampered by structural issues in institutions and websites.
  • Activists stress the significance of addressing larger institutional concerns.

@the end

  • The effectiveness of the RTI Act is limited by implementation issues, changes, and internet restrictions.
  • To maintain and improve the Act’s effectiveness, a comprehensive approach is required.
  • Addressing these concerns will improve transparency, accountability, and access to information for citizens.
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