Right to info to go online: Wajahat Habibulla

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Hyderabad, Nov 23 (UNI) Citizens keen on seeking information from the Union Government invoking the provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act can soon do so from their homes or cybercafes through the internet, Central Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibulla said today.

In an effort to bring information closer to the public through a Rs 23,000 crore e-Governance Initiative, the Central Information Commission is all set to accept applications for information online, and put all information that comes under the purview of the RTI Act back through e-mail, he said.

Disclosing this at a review meeting on the implementation of the Act in the last two years, he said soon applications for information under the Act could be made by e-mail, and all information from various government departments, which came under the purview of the Act, would be put up on the worldwide web.

''Unless e-mails are used extensively to take up application and give information to the applicant, we will not be able to cut down on delays,'' he pointed out.

The National Informatics Centre, in coordination with the Commission, was on the job of computerising all information relating to various government departments.

Stressing on computerisation at all levels of governance, he said the Union Panchayat Raj Ministry planned to computerise all panchayats and network them for effective functioning. The Karnataka Government had already taken the initiative in this regard, he added.

Praising the slum dwellers in New Delhi for seeking relevant information from various government departments, he said public awareness about the RTI Act was not upto the mark in the entire country and urged non-governmental organisations to take a lead in popularising the Act.

''The Act is more than simply getting information from the Government. It ensures public participation in governance,'' he observed.

While the UPA Government could take credit for enacting the piece of legislation, the public at large could now take credit for owning the Act, he opined, recalling that the Centre withdrew its proposal to amend the Act following a larger debate throughout the country.

The Right to Information Act, implemented in 2005, enables all citizens to seek any information from the government, with some restrictions on information related to national security and privacy concerns.

UNI

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