By Team Digit Published Date
01 - Dec - 2005
| Last Updated
01 - Dec - 2005
The enactment of the Right to Information (RTI) Act was a turning point in the history of Indian public life. It came into force on 12 October, 2005.

RTI Act gives citizens the right to access information held by or under the control of any public authority. This includes a right to inspect public authority's work, documents, records, and take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents/records and certified samples of the material, and also electronically stored information.

Any citizen can request such information by making an application in writing or via electronic means in English or Hindi, or in the official language of the area, and paying the prescribed fees. The application has to be sent to the concerned Regional Head-the Public Information Officer of the region to which the information pertains, and who shall dispose off the request within 30 days of its receipt.

Your Right To Information
Now, when you actually want to visit the RTI Act's Web site, understandably, you can't expect a jazzy site loaded with graphics. The home page is choc-a-bloc with numerous links such as 'Home', 'Appeal Rules', 'Circulars', 'Feedback', 'Disclaimers', Notification', and 'List of Public Information Offices', among others. Simply access each link and you're bombarded with information.

The body of the page displays what appears to be six prominent speech bubbles that deal with RTI in detail-'What does RTI mean?', 'Who are the Officers and what are their obligations?', 'What information is available?', 'How to request for information?', 'What are the information Commissions?', and 'What is the role of the Central/State Governments?'.

As an example, if you click on the 'Information Commissions' link, it will take you to a page with a list of FAQs. These range from the constitution of the Central Information Commission, their service conditions, functions and reporting procedure. 

Useful In Its Entirety
All the above is just what the user would be looking for. You can also  download the complete Act in HTML of PDF (English as well as Hindi). This certainly earns the GOI brownie points-the site lives up to its name!

The left side of the page is interesting-it has 10 or so links. These are 'Preliminary', 'Public Authorities', 'Central Information Commission', 'State Information Commission', 'Powers And Functions', 'Protection of Actions', 'First Schedule', 'Second Schedule', 'Circulars', 'GOI Dept/Offices', 'States of India' and 'Districts of India'. If you were to click on 'States of India', you will straightaway be taken to the online directory of the GOI.

In the FAQ section are 30-odd questions that deal with reporting procedures, penalty provisions, jurisdiction of courts and so on.

On The Whole
If we were to focus on the layout, and other aesthetic details, the less said the better. Seen in that context, this site seems a very amateurish attempt; even in terms of other nuggets of information scattered across the site.

But, we're looking at the bigger picture here. Perhaps, streamlining all the facts and details would have made it easier on the users. Well, let's not forget that the site has been recently launched and will improve.
But the fact is that despite this, the information you'll find is comprehensive and extremely useful to all citizens. This is what makes a visit to Righttoinformation.gov.in worth the while.

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