Right to Information Act

The term ‘information’ refers to any material in any form such as records, documents, emails, press release, circular or report, etc. related to decisions taken.

Relevance of information for ethical governance

● If clean and efficient public services are to be provided to the public, information sharing has to be made proactive.
● The unethical practices find a conducive environment in opaqueness because transparency fosters a positive work culture.
● The evils like corruption, nepotism, favouritism, and conflict of interest can be tackled only through proactive information sharing.
● Information is the panacea for most of the problems being encountered in public services. Because only transparency can ensure accountability.
● Without access to information, participatory form of governance will remain a dream. Because the vast majority of common citizens can participate only by
keeping watch on the functioning of the government.

Problems faced in the functioning of Right to Information 

● The level of awareness among the citizens is quite low. Common Indian is not aware of the significance of information for his/her life. Even citizens do not know
much about RTI and because of this effective exercise of this right is not taking place.
● PIO’s and Appellate authorities dealing with RTI applications at times do not have proper training to deal with matters of such importance.
● Applications are kept pending till the last day of time limit and they are processed in haphazard manner giving incomplete and irrelevant information.
● The punishment provided for failure to provide relevant information on time is not acting as a deterrent.

●The information Commission enjoys excessive discretionary power to decide cases involving denial of information. As a result of this, the PIO’s do not work
effectively and efficiently to provide required information at the earliest possible time.
● RTI rules lack uniformity among various states. Because RTI Act empowers state government and competent authorities related to information sharing.
● In some states fees for accessing information through RTI is too high.

Way Forward
● The government should ensure that chiefs and members of ICs are appointed on time.
● To guarantee that people may exercise their fundamental right to information, it is vital that all information commissions hold timely and effective hearings and resolve cases.
● Cases with information pertaining to life and liberty should be prioritized. Information related to matters like food distribution, social security, health and COVID 19 should be disclosed proactively.
● It is critical to digitize records as soon as possible and to keep track of them properly.

Discussing the relevance of information for ethical governance, state the problems faced in the functioning of the Right to Information. (10 mark) (150 words)

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