Rajasthan launches 'Jan Soochna' portal

Launched jointly by chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Deputy CM Sachin Pilot and the members of the civil society, the portal developed by the information and technology (IT) department has information pertaining to 13 departments on a single platform.

Two decades after the Right to information (RTI) movement was launched in Rajasthan, the state has become the first in the country to strengthen the RTI Act, by allowing the flow of latest information to the public with the launch of a Jan Soochna portal.

Launched jointly by chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Deputy CM Sachin Pilot and the members of the civil society, the portal developed by the information and technology (IT) department has information pertaining to 13 departments on a single platform.

It is the first of its kind system in the country — through which the state government ensures proactive disclosure of information and strengthening of access to information to ordinary citizens in state, district, block and panchayat.

"Under Section 4 (2) of the Right to Information Act 2005, provisions were made that different authorities and government departments will voluntarily disclose information through various means, including the internet, so that in order to seek various information, public shall file least number of application", Nikhil Dey of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan (MKSS) told DH.

However, in the last 14 years since the inception of the Act, the Centre and various state governments had not implemented this provision of the section.

Interestingly, what makes the portal different is that it has been framed in consultation with various stakeholders, including civil society organizations. For those who cannot access the internet or download the app in their mobile phones, the state government is planning to set up information kiosks (self-service 'E-Mitra Plus' kiosk) at panchayats from where the public can access information.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who launched the App at the Birla auditorium on Friday, said "The next chapter of Rajasthan Innovation Vision (RAJIV) will begin in the form of Jan Soochna portal. The initiative is inspired by the very spirit of Section 4 (2) of Right to Information Act, 2005, i.e. Proactive Disclosure of Information".

A message of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi was also broadcast during the launch event. In her message, she congratulated the state government for this initiative and said that this portal would strengthen the spirit of the RTI Act and would become an example for the other states to follow. 

Former central chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said that the portal would address the issue the pendency of RTI applications. Social activist Aruna Roy, who has been at the forefront of the RTI movement, said that through this App, the younger generation can use the information to bring more transparency and accountability in the governance system.

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