Taking a step towards greater transparency in governance, the government today launched an exclusive portal to enable citizens to file RTI applications online for all central government ministries.
The portal--www.rtionline.gov.in-- was launched today by Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions V Narayanasamy here.
"This is a very important initiative by the government. Without filling any paper or going to any office, citizens can file RTI applications online," he said after inaugurating the website.Narayanasamy said the RTI was a weapon in the hands of people and it was doing wonders across the country.
"At present, about 82 central government ministries have been covered with this portal. Soon we will bring all Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) under it," the Minister said.
The Ministry of Personnel, which acts as administrative department for implementation of the transparency law, will also write to all state governments asking them to adopt this platform of online filing of RTI applications.
"We will be writing a letter to all state governments asking them to follow this facility," he said, adding the government intends to strengthen people by many more such steps.
The Centre's flagship Right to Information Act, which was enacted in 2005, mandates timely response-- within 30 days -- to citizen requests for government information. One has to pay a fee of Rs 10 for seeking information.
An information seeker can submit a fee of Rs 10 via Internet banking through SBI and its associated banks using the website. One can also use credit or debit cards.
At present, the text of an application that can be uploaded at the prescribed column (on the website while filing application) is confined to 3,000 characters only.
In case an application contains more than 3,000 characters, it can be uploaded as an attachment. An applicant also get an alert on his or her mobile about movement of the applications.
Secretary in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), S K Sarkar, who was also present at the function, said the launch of RTI portal is a "culmination of efforts being put up by the government since 2005" towards strengthening people's right to know.
"There has been increase in filing of RTI applications. There were about 24,000 RTI applications filed in 2005-06. In 2011-12, the number has touched 6.7 lakh," he said.Central Information Commissioner (CIC) Satyanand Mishra said it was an extremely relevant contemporary step.
"The information can be sent online via database or scanning hard copies of documents. There will be no exchange of papers. Online filing of RTI applications will take away the use of papers," Mishra said.