Respond to citizens’ RTI timely: Speaker to officials

IMPHAL, 11th Oct: Admitting that Right to Information (RTI) through which any citizen of the country may request information from a "public authority" which is required to reply expeditiously had helped him in winning the last assembly election, Manipur Legislative Assembly speaker Y Khemchand has urged different departments of the state government to give timely response to RTIs filed by citizens of the state to obtain desired information as guaranteed by Right to Information Act, 2005.
Attending the valedictory function of a week-long ‘Right to Information Week’ observance organised by Manipur Information Commission under the aegis of Department of Personnel & Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions at Lamyanba Shanglen, Palace Compound here on Friday, Khemchand stated that the basic aspect of the Right to Information Act is to empower the citizens, promote transparency and accountability in the working of the government, contain corruption, and make democracy work for the people in real sense.
He asserted that it is impossible to abolish corruption immediately in the government especially at the time of seeking government jobs but RTI could play a key role in reducing the malpractice to a large extent and therefore people of the state should use the tool as an effective means to fight corruption which is hampering overall development.
Delivering the key note address at the occasion, Manipur Information Commission State Information Commissioner Oinam Sunil stated that attempts have been made to bring transparency and good governance in the state prior to enactment of RTI Act which proved futile but the goal could be achieved by bolstering the RTI movement with concerted efforts.
He conveyed that the commission dealt around 300 appeals and complaint cases per year with the filing of 175 appeal cases in 2016-17, 198 in 2017-18 and 160 in 2018-19 and 41 complaint cases in 2016-17, 62 in 2017-18 and 76 in 2018-19.
Elaborating that all the appeal cases filed in 2016-17 and 2017-18 and 152 cases filed in 2018-19 were disposed by the commission in accordance with the RTI Act, he made an observation that filing of cases in the commission could be reduced considerably if Public Information Officers (PIOs) who are the backbone of RTI discharge their duty diligently.
He also informed that the commission will impart training to Public Information Officers working in different government departments after the end of the week-long observance with the objective of minimizing filing of cases in the commission.
The function was also attended by Manipur Human Rights Commission acting chairperson Khaidem Mani as president and Manipur Information Commission State Information Commissioner Dr S Ibocha as guest of honour. During the programme, prizes were distributed to the winners of the state level RTI Essay Competition which was conducted earlier as part of the week-long observance.

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