Monday, November 11, 2013

Right to Information Part 2

Can I submit my application only with the PIO? 
No, in case the PIO is not available you can submit your application with the Assistant PIO or any other officer designated to accept the RTI applications.

Where can I locate the concerned PIO? 
A list of PIOs/APIOs and Appellate Authorities for all Central and State departments/Ministries is available online at

What if I can not locate my PIO or APIO? 
In case you have problems locating your PIO/APIO you can address your RTI application to the PIO C/o Head of Department and send it to the concerned public authority with the requisite application fee. The Head of Department will have to forward your application to the concerned PIO.

Do I have to personally go to deposit my application? 
Depending on your state rules for mode of payment you can deposit your application for information from the concerned departments of your state government via post by attaching a DD, Money Order, Postal Order or affixing Court fee Stamp
For all Central government departments the Department of Posts has designated 629 postal offices at the national level. The designated officers in these post offices work as Assistant PIOs and collect the application to forward to the concerned PIO. A list is available on

Is there a time limit to receiving information? 
Yes. If you file your application with the PIO, you must receive information within 30 days.
In case you have filed your application with Assistant PIO then information has to be made available within 35 days.
In case the matter to which the information pertains affects the life and liberty of an individual, information has to be made available in 48 hours.

Do I have to give reasons why I want a particular information? 
Absolutely not! You are not required to give any reasons or additional information other than your contact details (i.e., Name, Address, and Phone No.). Sec 6(2) clearly says that no information other than contact details of the applicant shall be asked.

Can the PIO refuse to accept my RTI application? 
No. The PIO can not refuse to accept your application for information under any circumstances. Even if the information does not pertain to his/her department/jurisdiction, s/he has to accept it. If the application does not pertain to that PIO, he would have to transfer it to the right PIO within 5 days under sec 6(2).
Why is it that RTI works when no other law has worked
There have been many good laws in this country but none of those laws worked. Why do you think this law would work?
This law is already working. This is because for the first time in the history of independent India, there is a law which casts a direct accountability on the officer for non-performance. If concerned officer does not provide information in time, a penalty of Rs 250 per day of delay can be imposed by the Information Commissioner. If the information provided is false, a penalty of a maximum of Rs 25000 can be imposed. A penalty can also be imposed for providing incomplete or for rejecting your application for malafide reasons. This fine is deducted from the officer’s personal salary.

Has any penalty been imposed so far?
Yes, some officers have been penalized by the Central as well as State Information Commissioners.

Does the Applicant get the amount fined to the PIO?
No. The amount fined is deposited in the government treasury. However, under sec 19, the applicant can seek compensation.

What should I do if I do not receive satisfactory information 
What can I do if I do not receive information? 
If you do not receive information or are dissatisfied with the information received, you can file an appeal with the first appellate authority under section 19 (1) of the right to Information Act.

Who is a First Appellate authority? 
Every public authority must designate a First Appellate Authority. This officer designated is the officer senior in rank to your PIO.

Is there a form for the first appeal? 
No there is no form for filing a first appeal (but some state governments have prescribed a form). Draft your appeal application on a blank sheet of paper addressed to the First Appellate Authority. Remember to attach a copy of your original application and a copy of the reply in whatever form (if received) from the PIO.

Do I have to pay a fee for the first appeal? 
No. You are not required to pay any fee for the first appeal. However, some state governments have prescribed a fee.

In how many days can I file my first appeal? 
You can file your first appeal within 30 days of receipt of information or within 60 days of filing RTI application (if no information received).

What if I do not receive the information after the first appeal process? 
If you do not receive information even after the first appeal then you can take the matter forward to the second appeal stage.

What is a second appeal? 
A second appeal is the last option under the RTI Act to get the information requested. You can file second appeal with the Information Commission. For appeals against Central Government Departments, you have Central Information Commission (CIC). For every state Government, there is a State Information Commission.

Is there a form for the second appeal? 
No there is no form for filing a second appeal (but some state governments have prescribed a form for second appeal too). Draft your appeal application on a normal sheet of paper addressed to the Central or State Information Commission. Carefully read the appeal rules before drafting your second appeal. Your second appeal application can be rejected if it does not comply with the appeal rules.
Do I have to pay a fee for the second appeal? 
No. You are not required to pay any fee for the second appeal. However, some states have prescribed a fee for that.

In how many days can I file my second appeal? 
You can file your second appeal within 90 days of disposal of first appeal or within 90 days of the date, by when first appeal was to be decided.

How does this law help me in getting my work done 
How does this law work so effectively for pending works i.e. why is it that the government officials end up doing your work which they were not doing earlier?
Let us take the case of Nannu. He was not being given his ration card. But when he applied under RTI, he was given a card within a week. What did Nannu ask? He asked the following questions:
  • I filed an application for a duplicate ration card on 27th January 2004. Please tell me the daily progress made on my application so far. i.e. when did my application reach which officer, for how long did it stay with that officer and what did he/she do during that period?
  • According to the rules, my card should have been made in 10 days. However, it is more than three months now. Please give the names and designations of the officials who were supposed to take action on my application and who have not done so?
  • What action would be taken against these officials for not doing their work and for causing harassment to the public? By when would that action be taken?
  • By when would I get my card now?
In normal circumstances, such an application would be thrown in a dustbin. But this law says that the Government has to reply in 30 days. If they don’t do that, their salary could be deducted. Now, it is not easy to answer these questions.

The first question is – please provide the daily progress made on my application.
There is no progress made. But the government officials cannot write in these many words that they have not acted for so many months. Else that would be admission of guilt on paper.

The next question is – please provide the names and designations of the officers who were supposed to take action on my application and who had not done so
If the government provides names and designations of the officials, their responsibility gets fixed. Any officer is most scared of fixing of responsibility against him in this manner. So, the moment one files such an application, his/her pending work is done.

What should I do after getting information? 
There cannot be one answer for that. It depends on why you asked for that information and what type of information is it. Often a lot of things start falling in place just by asking for information. For instance, you would get your passport or a ration card just by your asking for the status of your application. In many cases, roads got repaired as soon as the money spent on its repairs in the last few repairs was asked. So, seeking information and questioning the government is an important step, which in itself is complete in many cases.
But suppose you expose some corruption or wrongdoing using RTI. Then, you can complain to vigilance agencies, CBI or even file an FIR. But it is seen that the Government does not take any action against the guilty even after repeated complaints. Though one can keep up the pressure on vigilance agencies by seeking to know the status of complaints under RTI, however, the wrongdoings can also be exposed through media. However, experience has not been very encouraging at getting guilty punished. But one thing is certain. Seeking information like this and exposing wrongdoings does improve the future. The officials get a clear message that the people of that area have become alert and any wrongdoings in future would not remain hidden as they were in the past. So, their risks of getting caught increase.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Right to Information Act Part-1

What is RTI? 
RTI stands for Right to Information. Right to Information is a part of fundamental rights under Article 19(1) of the Constitution. Article 19 (1) says that every citizen has freedom of speech and expression. As early as in 1976, the Supreme Court said in the case of Raj Narain vs State of UP, that people cannot speak or express themselves unless they know. Therefore, right to information is embedded in article 19. In the same case, Supreme Court further said that India is a democracy. People are the masters. Therefore, the masters have a right to know how the governments, meant to serve them, are functioning. Further, every citizen pays taxes. Even a beggar on the street pays tax (in the form of sales tax, excise duty etc) when he buys a piece of soap from the market. The citizens therefore, have a right to know how their money was being spent. These three principles were laid down by the Supreme Court while saying that RTI is a part of our fundamental rights.

If RTI is a fundamental right, then why do we need an Act to give us this right? 
This is because if you went to any Government Department and told the officer there, “RTI is my fundamental right, and that I am the master of this country. Therefore, please show me all your files”, he would not do that. In all probability, he would throw you out of his room. Therefore, we need a machinery or a process through which we can exercise this fundamental right. Right to Information Act 2005, which became effective on 13th October 2005, provides that machinery. Therefore, Right to Information Act does not give us any new right. It simply lays down the process on how to apply for information, where to apply, how much fees etc.

When did RTI Act come into force? 
The Central Right to Information Act came into force on the 12th October, 2005. However, before that 9 state Governments had passed state Acts. These were J & K, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Assam & Goa.

What rights are available under RTI Act 2005? 
Right to Information Act 2005 empowers every citizen to

  • Ask any questions from the Government or seek any information
  • Take copies of any government documents
  • Inspect any government documents.
  • Inspect any Government works
  • Take samples of materials of any Government work.
Who is covered under RTI? 
The Central RTI Act extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. All bodies, which are constituted under the Constitution or under any law or under any Government notification or all bodies, including NGOs, which are owned, controlled or substantially financed by the Government are covered.

What is “substantially financed”? 
This is neither defined under RTI Act nor under any other Act. So, this issue will evolve with time, maybe through some court orders etc.

Are Private bodies covered under the RTI Act? 
All private bodies, which are owned, controlled or substantially financed by the Government are directly covered. Others are indirectly covered. That is, if a government department can access information from any private body under any other Act, the same can be accessed by the citizen under the RTI Act through that government department.

Isn’t Official Secrets Act 1923 an obstacle to the implementation of RTI Act? 
No. Sec 22 of the RTI Act 2005 clearly says that RTI Act would over ride all existing Acts including Officials Secrets Act.

Can the PIO refuse to give me information? 
A PIO can refuse information on 11 subjects that are listed in section 8 of the RTI Act. These include information received in confidence from foreign governments, information prejudicial to security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the country, breach of privilege of legislatures, etc. 
There is a list of 18 agencies given in second schedule of the Act to which RTI Act does not apply. However, they also have to give information if it relates to matters pertaining to allegations of corruption or human rights violations.

Does the Act provide for partial disclosure? 
Yes. Under Section 10 of the RTI Act, access may be provided to that part of the record which does not contain information which is exempt from disclosure under this Act.

Can access be denied to file notings? 
No. File notings are an integral part of the government file and are subject to disclosure under the Act. This has been clarified by the Central Information Commission in one of its orders on 31st Jan 2006.

How to use Right to Information 
How do I locate the full Act? 
The full Act in Hindi and English is available on the website of Department of Personnel and It is also available on this website.

Who will give me information? 
One or more existing officers in every Government Department have been designated as Public Information Officers (PIO). These PIOs act like nodal officers. You have to file your applications with them. They are responsible for collecting information sought by you from various wings of that Department and providing that information to you. In addition, several officers have been appointed as Assistant Public Information Officers (APIOs). Their job is only to accept applications from the public and forward it to the right PIO.

Where do I submit application?
You can do that with the PIO or with APIO. In the case of all Central Government Departments, 629 post offices have been designated as APIOs. This means that you can go to any of these post offices and submit your fee and application at the RTI counter in these post offices. They will issue you a receipt and acknowledgement and it is the responsibility of that post office to deliver it to the right PIO. The list of these post offices is given at

Is there any fee? How do I deposit that?
Yes, there is an application fee. For Central Government Departments, it is Rs 10. However, different states have prescribed different fee. For details see rules framed by the states on this website. For getting information, you have to pay Rs 2 per page of information provided for Central Government Departments. It is different for different states. Similarly, there is a fee for inspection of documents. There is no fee for first hour of inspection, but after that, you have to pay Rs. 5 for every subsequent hour or fraction thereof. This is according to Central Rules. For each state, see respective state rules. You can deposit fee wither in cash or through a DD or bankers cheque or postal order drawn in favor of that public authority. In some states, you can buy court fee stamps and affix it on your application. This would be treated as if you have deposited the fee. You can then deposit your application either by post or by hand.

What should I do if the PIO or the concerned Department does not accept my application?
You can send it by post. You should also make a formal complaint to the respective Information Commission under section 18. The Information Commissioner has the power to impose a penalty of Rs 25000 on the concerned officer who refused to accept your application.

Is there an application form for seeking information?
For Central Government Departments, there is no form. You should apply on a plain sheet of paper like an ordinary application. However, many states and some ministries and departments have prescribed formats. You should apply in these formats. Please read rules of respective states to know

How can I apply for information? 
Draft your application on a normal sheet of paper and submit it by post or in person to the Public Information Officer (PIO). [Remember to keep a copy of the application for your personal reference]

How can I deposit my application fee? 
Every state has a different mode of payment for application fee. Generally, you can deposit your application fee via:

  • In person by paying cash [remember to take your receipt]
  • By Post through:
  • Demand Draft
  • Indian Postal Order
  • Money orders (only in some states)
  • Affixing Court fee Stamp (only in some states)
  • Banker’s cheque
  • Some state governments have prescribed some head of account. You are required to deposit fee in that account. For that, you can either go to any branch of SBI and despoist cash in that account and attach deposit receipt with your RTI application. Or you can also send a postal order or a DD drawn in favour of that account alongwith your RTI application.

Please see respective state rules for complete details.

Monday, August 12, 2013

INS Vikrant

The 37,500 tonne INS Vikrant is expected to go for extensive trials in 2016 before being inducted into the navy by 2018.INS Vikrant has a capacity to carry 36 fighter planes.

With this, India joins a select group of countries capable of building such a vessel.Other countries capable of building a similar ship are the US, the UK, Russia and France.

The ship will be then re-docked for outfitting and further construction.

The ship, which will have a length of 260m (850ft) and a breadth of 60m, has been built at the shipyard in Cochin. It was designed and manufactured locally, using high grade steel made by a state-owned steel company.

The phase 1 contract, which included building of the hull structure and fitting of the propulsion system, was awarded by the Navy to the CSL at a cost of Rs 1,160 crore. The next phase involves the work on the entire hull structure, laying all the pipelines , cabling, ventilation trucking, fitting all the motors and switchboards, and other facilities like dwelling units for the crew.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Telegraph Service is Now History

160 year old Telegraph Service which is run by BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd ) is now a history. From Today (14th July 2103 ) onward BSNL has decided to shut off this services following a huge shortfall in revenue. The service generated about Rs.75 lakh annually, compared with the cost of over Rs.100 crore to run and manage it. This Services is will start at 8 AM and close by 9 PM.
Once a fundamental part of the country's communication system, used for everything from taking care of official business to reporting deaths and marriages.

The first experimental electric telegraph line was started between Kolkata and Diamond Harbour in 1850 and it was opened for use by the British East India Company the following year. In 1854, the service was made available to the public.

It was such an important mode of communication in those days that revolutionaries fighting for the country's independence used to cut the telegram lines to stop the British from communicating.

The use of telegrams has declined with the spread of mobile phones and the Internet in the country.

Indian courts had accepted only telegrams and telegram receipts as proof of evidence in civil or criminal suits. Lawyers vouched for the telegrams as they were registered under the Indian Evidence Act and known for their credibility when presented in court.

Price per telegram:
* General telegrams - Rs.25 up to 30 words plus 12.36 percent tax, thereafter Re.1 per word
* Death telegrams Rs.5 up to 30 words, thereafter Re.1 per word.
Types of telegraph devices used:
* Formatted Terminal
* Electronic Keyboard
* Store Forward Telegraph
* Store Forward Messaging System

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Food Security Bill 2013

Indian Government Passed an Ordinance Bill " Food Security Bill 2013 " This is a social program that would bring cheap food to hundreds of millions of poor people throughout the country. 

Highlights of this Bill:-

1. Up to three-quarters of people in the rural areas and up to half of the urban population would get five kilograms of grains per month at subsidized prices (3 rupees per kilo for rice, 2 rupees per kilo for wheat and 1 rupee per kilo for coarse grains).

2. The poorest households would continue to receive 35 kilograms of grains per month under the “Antyodaya Anna Yojana” at subsidized prices.

3. Pregnant women and lactating mothers would receive a maternity benefit of at least 6,000 rupees

4. Children aged six months to 14 years would get take-home ration or hot cooked food.

5. The central government also would provide “assistance” towards the cost of intra-state transportation, handling of grains.

6. The central government also would provide money to states and union territories if it runs low on grain.

Facts of Food Security Bill:-

1. Two out of three Indians, or around 810 million people, would get five kilograms of subsidized food grains every month. The program would offer food subsidies to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population.
2. The government believes the program would push India’s food subsidy bill by 45% to 1.3 trillion rupees ($21 billion) a year. Critics estimate the cost could be as high as two trillion rupees a year.
3. The plan would dent India’s fiscal credibility. The program is projected to push up India’s fiscal deficit to 5.1% of GDP in the current fiscal year. The government has promised to keep that deficit under 4.8%.
4. Another big worry is that the plan will be implemented via the inefficient and corrupt public distribution system. About 10% of India’s food rots in warehouses before it is distributed.
5. But the plan could be a boon for the poorest Indians hit hard by rising inflation. The plan could cut expenses of households by up to 8%, according to Crisil Research.
6. Despite the economic boom over the last decade, India ranks 65th out of 79 countries on the Global Hunger Index. Nearly half of India’s children under five are chronically malnourished.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Prime Minister National Relief Fund ( India )

Contributions towards PMNRF can be made:
(a) at Prime Minister's Office, South Block: in cash and through postal order, money order, cheque or demand draft drawn in favor of the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

(b) contributions can also be sent to Prime Minister's Office, South Block, New Delhi via post/ money order from any of the post offices, without any charge.

(c) Citibak customers have option to contribute online towards Prime Minister's National Relief Fund.

(d) through cash, cheque or demand draft drawn in favor of the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund deposited with any of the branches of the 20 designated Collection Banks of the PMNRF, Name and address of the Nodal Branches of these Collection Banks are:

1 Central Bank of India 70, Janpath, New Delhi

2 Allahabad Bank 17, Sansad Marg, New Delhi

3 Axis Bank New Delhi Main Branch, Statesman House, 148, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi

4 Bank of Baroda Ground Floor, 16, Sansad Marg, New Delhi

5 Bank of India 54, Janpath, New Delhi

6 Canara Bank Urdu Ghar, 212, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, New Delhi

7 Citi Bank 3rd Floor, Jeevan Bharti Building, 124, Cannaught Circus, New Delhi

8 Corporation Bank M-41, Cannaught Circus, New Delhi

9 Dena Bank Mangal Bhawan, Arya Samaj Road, Karol Bagh, New Delhi

10 HDFC Bank B-6/3, Safdarjung Enclave, DDA Commercial Complex, New Delhi

11 ICICI Bank D-949, New Friends Colony, New Delhi-65.

12 Indian Bank G-41, Cannaught Place, New Delhi

13 Indian Overseas Bank 10, Jeevan Deep Building, Sansad Marg, New Delhi

14 Punjab National Bank 5, Sansad Marg, New Delhi

15 Standard Chartered Bank H-2, Cannaught Circus, New Delhi

16 State Bank of India Institutional Division, 4th Floor, Sansad Marg, New Delhi

17 Syndicate Bank South Block, New Delhi

18 UCO Bank 5, Sansad Marg, New Delhi

19 Union Bank of India 14/15 F, Cannaught Place, New Delhi

20 Vijaya Bank Vijaya Building, 17, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi

Income Tax Benefits:- The fund is exempted from Income Tax under Section10(23)(c) & all contributions towards the PMNRF are exempted from Income Tax under Section 80(G).

For More detail About PMNRF click on the Link

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Bihar Innovation Forum

Can you transform the lives of the rural poor in Bihar? Can your high-impact innovation lead to sustainable and scalable rural livelihood solutions? Are your ambitions to scale being held back by lack of access to new territories and local governmental support? Here’s an opportunity for your organization to take a quantum leap.
The 2nd Bihar Innovation Forum is a one of a kind platform that aims to identify, celebrate and scale up rural livelihood innovations. It is an initiative of the Government of Bihar supported by the World Bank and implemented by the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (JEEViKA) in collaboration with the State Innovation Council. It offers innovators a holistic canvas to create maximum impact, with unmatched access to social, financial and economic capital.
Proposals are invited from public, private and civil society organizations who can make a difference in 8 livelihood themes: Agriculture, Livestock, Financial Services, Rural Energy, ICT Based Solutions, Skill Development & Non-Farm Sector, Access to Entitlements, Access to Services. Winners will be provided a range of support services including financial and implementation support and linkages to other partners like impact investors, foundations, mentoring and incubation agencies.

Last Date of Application is June 10, 2013

Eligibility Criteria

Bihar Innovation Forum invites applications from public, private and civil society organizations that satisfy the following criteria:
  • The organization must be registered in India
  • The project entry submitted must have been operational for at least two years
  • The project entry submitted must fit within the 8 thematic areas:
- Agriculture
- Livestock
- Financial services
- Rural energy
- ICT bases solutions
- Skill development & Non-farm sector
- Access to public entitlements
- Access to services
  • The project entry submitted should target the poor and marginalized populations
  • The project entry submitted should have shown demonstrable impact on the target group and should have been operational for atleast 2 years
  • Individual applicants without any affiliation to a registered organization are not eligible to apply

For More Detail Log On to :-