Revenue, urban development depts draw over half of all RTI queries

Accounted for 1,60,064 of 2,93,405 applications in 2011-12, as per KIC report.

 The departments of revenue and urban development together draw more than half of queries under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, according to the annual report for 2011-12 released by the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC).

The two departments ranked high among the 34 departments of the State government. The findings suggest that the two departments are most people-oriented and decisions taken by them have a direct bearing on the common people.

The two departments together accounted for 54.84 per cent of the total applications received by all the 34 departments in 2011-12. The revenue department received 85,584 and the urban development department (UDD) 74,480 applications. The total number of applications received under RTI by all the departments is 2,93,405.

The two departments, however, recorded a slight decline, of 1.92 per cent, in the number of applications compared with the year before. In 2010-11, they accounted for 56.76 per cent of the total applications received by all the departments.

The departments of rural development and panchayat raj, home, education, and transport come next in terms of RTI applications, according to the KIC report, the latest of its kind.

The revenue department possesses information which matters to the public, such as records of land revenue, land reforms, land acquisition, land records, disaster management, compensation, muzrai, stamps and registration, and the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal. People thronging the tahsildar offices at taluk centres is a common sight. Tahsildar is the administrative head and pillar of revenue department at the taluk level.

The urban development is another department which deals with the people extensively. It encompasses the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), City Municipal Corporations, City Municipal Councils, Town Municipal Councils and Town Panchayats. In addition, it includes the Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board, the urban development authorities, town and country planing, among others.
Four more departments received five-digit applications under the RTI. The RDPR received 26,171, Home 15,863, Education 14,870, and Transport 14,769 applications.

All the four departments recorded an increase in the number of RTI applications.
Another department to receive many RTI applications was the department of commerce and industry (8,025 applications). It recorded a quantum jump, of 73.44 per cent, in the number of applications compared with the year before.

The reason is said to be rapid industrialisation, coupled with the government’s efforts to attract domestic and foreign investment. Hence, people seem to be affected by the department’s decisions.

This apart, seven departments received more than 5,000 requests under RTI. They were: Finance (8,312), Public Works (7,189), Energy (7,184), Forest (5,811), Water Resources (5,667), Cooperation (5,660), and Personnel and Administrative Reforms (5,158).

The public enterprises department received just 25 RTI applications — the least among all departments. The infrastructure development department followed next with just 35 applications.

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