Tag Archives: RTI

RTI – A Retrospective

Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act lets people to access government data but the process of getting the data is daunting. We have law in place for a decade now but we have not been able to put the data on the fingertips of people.

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Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act (RTI) initially came into force in 2004. There were some amendments done in 2008 and it was then finally replaced with Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act 2009. It is important to get data from government agencies as it helps people to educate themselves and make informed decisions. This law is designed to increase the transparency of the administration so that people can keep themselves abreast of the work that is being performed by government agencies. In a system of government designed by the people, for the people, the RTI helps to access information that previously would have not been available to common people. The law has helped many people to uncover facts, results from unpublished studies, which would not have been otherwise available to the public. However, the process of getting the data from the government agencies is intimating, it is time consuming, needs people to interact in person, etc. We need to build a process around it so that everybody has data readily available and doesn’t have to go from door to door to fetch it.

There is a similar law like RTI in States, which has the same purpose and it is known as Freedom Of Information Act. If we want to get any information under this act, we can visit FOIA website and do the quick search if the information we need has been requested by someone else and there is a good chance that it may have been already requested. If anybody requests the information under FOIA, it is publically made available on the website so if anybody else needs the same information it is immediately available and same request doesn’t get processed over and over again. If the required information is not already available we can submit the request online or we can send via email or even postal mail. When the request is processed the information is made available immediately on FOIA website and we don’t have to run after people or be anywhere in person. We need to build similar process in Jammu and Kashmir as well, which will empower people.

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