To cope with the rising number of Right to Information (RTI) appeals, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) has roped in a technology partner to make the redressal system more effective and accountable.
“There is a shortage of staff and most of our officials are already overworked. Above that, they have been given additional charge of SPIOs (special public information officers who reply to RTI appeals). This leads to unnecessary delays,” said Huda administrator Nitin Kumar Yadav.
The private partner has been selected and the firm has sought around a month’s time to prepare the software, informed a senior officer.
While talking about the efficacy of the project, Yadav told HT: “They will help re-frame the questions which, at times, are very subjective. A report will be prepared on the pending work which would be forwarded to the SPIO.”
As a trial run, the tech-driven public information system will be rolled out at the estate officer level.
“If successful, we will replicate this at the executive engineer level in some time,” added Yadav. The private agency will also be given orientation lessons by Huda officials about the laws that govern the civic body and RTI Act.
“The agency will act as an interface between the public and the corporation. They will provide a helping hand. However, if they don’t work properly, we have the freedom to call off the contract,” added Yadav.
The move also aims to reduce rising number of appeals filed to the state information commission, another senior Huda official said.
“The state information commission, an appellate authority superior to the administrator, was levying penalty on Huda officials at the rate of R250 per day because of their laxity in replying to RTI applications,”the official added.
In the recent past, many government agencies are adopting new technologies to become people friendly. The change in approach is seen as an effort by the government to cater to its people who are becoming more tech-savvy with the rapid pace of urbanisation.
After overwhelming response from people on its traffic wing’s Facebook page, Gurgaon police are planning to join the social networking site to become more friendly with people.