[AI] Rs 300-crore Plan for Strengthening RTI

Pradeep banakar pradeepsocialwork at gmail.com
Thu May 1 03:38:53 EDT 2008

The Centre, in a bid to strengthen the Right to Information (RTI) division within the personnel department and for granting financial autonomy to state information commissions (SICs), is set to launch a Rs 300-crore scheme under the Eleventh Plan to fund capacity building, training programmes, awareness and educational campaigns relating to RTI. 

The scheme, which will involve disbursal of Rs 300 crore as grants to RTI and the 27 SICs for effective implementation of RTI Act, has already been given in-principle clearance by the Planning Commission. The amount, which will be released over four years from this fiscal year to 2011-12, will help in adequate computerisation and capacity building at RTI division while reducing dependence of SICs on state governments for physical and financial resources. 

The largest chunk of the Rs 300-crore scheme - Rs 215 crore - would be spent on capacity building, involving construction of offices and other physical infrastructure for SICs and computerisation of records. Expenses on training of RTI stakeholders are estimated at Rs 53.36 crore over the four years, on creating awareness at Rs 29.6 crore, and on education at Rs 3.35 crore. 

The state information commissions, which exist in 27 states, have been complaining of limited resources due to lack of enough financial support from state governments. Concerns to this effect were expressed by various SICs in the Second National Convention of the Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions held in October 2007. 

With the lack of resources coming in the way of the meeting the growing needs of the information seekers, the Centre now plans to release funds to SICs and RTI division for capital asset formation, facilitating IT supported services and capacity building. A grants-in-aid committee would scrutinise the proposals and the grants released in 2 instalments, the first amounting to 50% and the second 50% on submission of the utilisation certificate. 

According to estimates worked out by the Yashwantrao Academy of Development Administration, Pune, and the National Implementing Agency for Capacity Building for Access to Information, a Government of India-United Nations Development Programme initiative, as many as 25,74,200 stakeholders are to be trained on the provisions of the RTI Act. 

Read in Deatil: http://peopleforsocialcause.blogspot.com/2008/04/rs-300-cr-in-plan-for-strengthening-rti.html

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