Friday, August 07, 2009

Zero penalties in Sikkim Information Commission to 40 RTIs since 2005

GANGTOK, August 6: The Sikkim State Information Commission (SIC) would soon come up with a cache of publicity materials in local vernacular languages to create more awareness among the people about the benefits and usages of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI).
The pamphlets and booklets in Nepali, Bhutia and Lepcha language would be used as a tool to inform about RTI to people at all levels.
Established under the RTI Act 2005, the State Information Commission has recorded zero penalties in the State in relation to 40 RTI queries filed with the SIC since it assumed office in 2005.
Sikkim is among the first States in northeastern India to issue a notification for implementation of the RTI Act.
The SIC has also conducted several training programs for the officers and bureaucrats to ensure better understanding of the Act. The commission which has its State office in the capital would soon set up district units at South and West districts to make RTI more accessible and effective for the people of the districts.
It is also learnt that, though the State’s performance hasn’t been ranked at the national level, the State report for 2007-09 has been forwarded to the State government for its consent and approval. The report would then be sent to the National Information Commission for further analysis.
The Right to Information Act 2005 was enacted by the Parliament of India giving its citizens’ access to records of the Government at all levels. The Act, guarantees that any citizen may request information from a ‘public authority’ (a Government body) which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days.
Information disclosure in India was hitherto restricted by the Official Secrets Act 1923 and various other special laws, which the new RTI Act now relaxes