Filing a plea under the Right to Information Act may soon be just a click away if the state approves the proposal made by the state chief information commissioner (SCIC) Ratnakar Gaikwad, who had sought implementation of software that would allow RTI applications to be sent online.
The software has already been developed by the Central government’s department of personnel and training, in collaboration with the National Informatics Centre, and is currently being used by some Union ministries and departments. The system also allows applicants to make an online payment of Rs10 towards court fees.
“The state should procure the software from the Centre and implement it in the state’s departments. It can be done in stages, primarily for Mantralaya, the metros, corporations and then gradually even talukas and districts,” said Gaikwad.
In a letter addressed to chief secretary JK Banthia last month, Gaikwad stated, “This initiative will go a long way in facilitating the filing of applications under RTI without much hassles and difficulties faced at present by applicants. If the state obtains it through the state informatics officer and with little customisation, rolls it out in the state… it would be highly beneficial.”
“If such proposal has been received, it will be examined positively,” Banthia told HT.
Gaikwad has also suggested the state collaborate with the Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (Yashada), the administrative training institute of the government of Maharashtra, to make the system operational.
When contacted, Prahlad Kachare, director, centre for right to information at Yashada, said, “We are also trying to procure the software from NIC, but since they have developed it for the government of India, they cannot share it. However, both the chief secretary and information commissioner are keen on its use.”
Meanwhile, Gaikwad has also directed state departments and the civic body to display their records, as mandated by section 4 of the RTI Act, on their websites.