Information is the new currency that empowers citizens and ensures a vibrant democracy. An informed citizen encourages a nation to grow by participating in its decision making process. Such participation is critical to ensure transparency and accountability in governance. In today’s day and age, digital medium has acquired a pivotal role as an information & communication facilitator between the public and the participatory democracy.

The terms 'Right to Information' and 'Freedom of Information' are often used interchangeably and have long been regarded as fundamental Human Rights. Common Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) recognizes Right to Information as an implied right of freedom of expression. Globally, multiple countries have passed laws empowering citizens to ask information from public authorities at local, state & national level. Institutional structures have been set up to assess the requests and send a satisfactory response in a timely manner. Similarly, different countries have guaranteed Right to Information as fundamental rights under their constitution and through specific laws.

But the manual mode of seeking and providing information makes it cumbersome for the authorities in charge to close the application in time. Citizens need to make multiple visits to offices to access their right to information. This is an opportunity for governments to digitally transform information facilitation process, uphold the basic tenets of democracy, and enjoy the legitimacy of its citizens.

This Information Facilitation Module facilitates the government to improve its service delivery standards in providing information requested by the citizens. Not only this, the portal serves as a great monitoring mechanism in ensuring the accountability of the concerned department & authority its functioning and performances.

The benefits of this online platform are:

  • Seeking of information is just available few clicks away
  • Removes the hassles of physical presence at government offices for filing application
  • Reduces economic cost of application process i.e. travel time / wage loss / postal costs
  • Facilitates transparency in the status of applications & appeal orders
  • Drastically reduces processing time and enhances overall efficiency
  • Establishes accountability of departments and officers through reporting

Process Flow:

Registration and Application for Information

  • Registration of the Departments/ Officers (concern departments & information providing authority)
  • Filing of Information Seeking Application (either as guest or through registration)
  • Tagging of the Concern Department (through selection by the applicant)
  • Request for Information (upload relevant data if any)
  • Online payment for application (with exemptions for few categories)
  • Online Submission of Application

Actions by Information Officer

  • Verifies the application, to check if the information, fees and documents submitted by the applicant suffice to be processed
  • Notification is sent intimating selection, rejection, submission of require documents or deposit of the additional fees for the application
  • Application is processed and information is shared with the applicant and sent for closer of the case.

Appeal to the RTI

  • If the applicant is not happy with the reply sent by the information officer, then he can go for the appeal by clicking at ‘Appeal’ and providing the registration number of original application.
  • The next level of authority can view the appeal and schedule hearing for the appeal placed by citizen
  • On completion of hearing, the concern authority has to update hearing details in the system.
  • The Information officer gets alert on the action to be taken against the appeal and provide further information to the citizen. The case is sent for closure.

Closure of Application

  • Once the final information is shared with the citizen, the case is disposed.
  • MIS reports are generated pertaining to
    • Number of RTI filed
    • Pending RTI
    • Department / Employees involved
    • RTIs closed
  • Case history is maintained keeping a record of what information has been shared and which application has been rejected.
CSM endeavored to develop a C2G (Citizen to Government) ICT tool that allows citizens to apply for information from Government departments under any statutory Right to Information (RTI) Act. With this ICT tool, citizens now access government information and services promptly, conveniently, from everywhere, by use of multiple channels.

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