Few people using right to information to make public offices accountable

Kathmandu, January 14

Nitesh Prasad Kesari of Bara sought information related to scholarship provided to underprivileged students of Nepal National Secondary School of Kalaiya Municipality, but the school refused to provide any information.

After this, Kesari lodged a complaint with National Information Commission and the school was compelled to provide  information related to scholarship within 11 days.

Similarly, Kedar Khatiwada of Jhapa filed a complaint with the National Information Commission, seeking information related to status of health services and pharmacies being operated in the district. This made the authorities concerned regulate and monitor health facilities and pharmacies being operated in the district. Every citizen of the country has the right to demand and obtain information held by public agencies on any matter of public importance. However, there are very few citizens who use this right to make public agencies more responsible and transparent.

As per the National Information Commission, there are 22 such complaints which helped control irregularities and unethical activities of public agencies. Recently released book of National Information Commission, ‘Right to Information: Success Story’ has explained 22 success stories of the complaints filed with NIC in the fiscal year 2017/18.

Speaking at the book launch and interaction programme organised by National Information Commission today, Chief Information Commissioner Krishnahari Baskota said in the last three years, the commission had instructed as many as 3,512 public agencies to provide information to public after receiving complaints.  “We have also instructed all  governmental and non-governmental offices to appoint an information officer, publish the quarterly reports of these offices every three months and to keep record of the information given to the public,” he said.

“Though NIC is focusing on ensuring citizens’ right to the information, very few people  are really concerned about seeking information from the public agencies,” said Shankar Prasad Pathak, secretary at NIC.