It is a small step that can add up to a big change.
A government department has started putting online important policy files relating to the right to information law, beginning with documents that provide an insight into selection of central information commissioners.
“We have received approval to upload all important files on the site — persmin.nic.in — once the final decision has been taken and the matter is closed,” an official at the RTI wing of the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) said.
The department that oversees implementation of the information law had last month come under fire from the Central Information Commission (CIC) for delayed responses on an appeal filed by HT.
The CIC had then suggested the public information officer to take directions from his superiors to upload important files to reduce the spate of RTI pleas.
Incidentally, the commission has in the past advised public authorities to put out information released under the information law on its website to reduce their workload. But the suggestion was never taken up.
But the DoPT isn’t the only one. The Election Commission too is set to debate the feasibility of putting out its decisions on the scores of complaints filed during elections on the CIC’s directions.
The commission had initially refused to provide this information to a Gurgaon businessman Aseem Takyar,.
Satyananda Mishra, who leads the information watchdog, didn’t stop at giving Takyar the right to inspect the files.
Mishra said:“If such information is made available on the website... it would help educate the people about those who contest polls and lead to the selection of the right candidate”. The panel asked EC to devise a practical system to upload the documents.
Retired naval officer Lokesh Batra said such steps were in the right direction, given the poor track record of the government to make proactive disclosures mandated under the law.