As citizens of India, we all pay taxes. Even a beggar on the street pays sales tax when he buys anything from the market. This money belongs to us. But where does this money go? Why are there no medicines in the hospitals? Why are people dying of starvation? Why are the roads in such pathetic conditions? Why are the water taps dry? As citizens, we also have the RIGHT to question the government’s actions. The Parliament of India has passed new Right to Information laws, which empower citizens to question the government, including the citizen’s inspection of government files and the inspection of government projects that benefit the country.
Right To Information (RTI)
The Right To Information Act (RTI) 2005 is an effective tool that checks and holds various bodies, agencies, and departments of the government accountable to the public and exhibits transparency in their activities and minimizes corruption.
RTI provides information on the following schemes:
- Ration Card,
- Certificates: Birth, Community, Income, Death
- Land ownership Patta
- Retirement pension
- Drinking water connection
- Street light
- Public health and sanitation
- Road Maintenance
- Rural employment scheme
What rights are available under RTI Act 2005?
Right to Information Act 2005 empowers every citizen to
- Ask any questions from the Government or seek any information
- Take copies of any government documents
- Inspect any government documents.
- Inspect any Government works
- Take samples of materials of any Government work.
5th Pillar provides strategies and channels in obtaining the required information.
Steps in filing RTI Application:
- You can apply either hand written or electronically in a plain paper in English, Hindi, or local language to the concerned PIO (Public Information Officer) of the relevant department with a subject Application under Right to information Act 2005â
- The application fee for the State of Tamil Nadu and central Government is Rs. 10. Court fees stamp, cash, government treasury, Demand draft, and postal order are accepted modes of payment.
- Send the application through Registered/Speed post with acknowledgement due so that it gets accepted at the other end.
- Do obtain acknowledgement on the photocopy of the application together with a receipt for the fee if personally application is filed.
- If the information sought for concerns the life or liberty of a person, the information shall be provided within 48 hours of the receipt of the request.
- The PIO should respond within 30 days of the receipt of the application. If no reply is received, file and appeal to the Appellate Authority of the same Department.
- The Appellate Authority gets another 30 days to respond after which the applicant can make second appeal within 90 days to the State Information Commission for the state government or Central Information Commission for central government departments as the case may be.
In case of information denial, RTI act recommends a fine of Rs. 250 per day to a maximum of Rs. 25,000 for 100 days over the concerned PIO.
Tamil Nadu State Information Commission
Kamadhenu co-op, super market building 1st floor
New no 378, Anna Salai, Teynampet, Chennai-600018
Central Information Commission
R. No. 412, IV Floor, Block â IV
Old JNU Campus, New Delhi â 110 067
If you are a courageous citizen and want to combat corruption, please join us to strengthen the movement to build a corruption free nation.