Chief minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday strongly supported the view of bringing political parties under the purview of Right to Information (RTI) Act during a meeting in New Delhi.
“Transparency should rule the roost in all spheres of life including politics, administration and governance. When organisations, institutions and other sectors related to public and the state are transparent and accountable before the masses, the rule of law and justice will flourish and prevail,” he said in his address made at the Annual National Convention on RTI Act organised by National Right to Information Commission on Tuesday in Delhi.
He said that Right to Information (RTI) Act is the model initiative to promote transparency, accountability and responsiveness in the functioning of a government. “Information and knowledge sharing ensures empowerment of people and democracy. I believe and support the idea of bringing all political parties under RTI. I also believe that political parties should have no objection in this regard,” he said.
The CM said that with the implementation of the Act the people have become empowered to see, check and inspect any information, which does not come under the exemption list, as such, the government and governance have come under the scrutiny of most important stakeholder-public.
“What is needed for the RTI Act to be more poignant and broad based is public awareness about the legislation. It will only be then the objectives to combat corruption and bring about transparency and accountability in government functioning can be achieved,” he said.
Referring to the state Right to Information Act, the CM said that State Information Commission was fully functional by appointment of Chief Information Commissioner and the two Information Commissioners in 2011.
Abdullah said that provisions of Section 4 of RTI Act, considered to be the soul of the transparency law, are being followed and almost all administrative departments in the state in the Civil Secretariat have launched their websites for easy dissemination of the information pertaining to these departments.
“The pace with which information has been made available to the information seekers is also a matter of satisfaction for us. This can be judged by the fact that in my state 15,000 applications were received during the last year as compared to 741 in 2009-10,” he said.
He said the critical analysis of the applications reveal that people are by and large seeking information with respect to the employment related matters, promotions and seniority issues.
“Whereas, there is a need to bring transparency in the recruitments at every level, the information seekers should also focus on development activities, and issues of urgent public importance and interests,” he added.
He emphasised on the role of non-governmental organisations in implementing the provisions of Act. “Credible NGOs have a vital role in the implementation of the Act,” he added.