The National Information Commission urged all development partners today to respect the Right To Information legislation and support the government accordingly.
During an interaction with development partners organised by NIC, Chief Information Commissioner Krishna Hari Banskota gave a detailed presentation of the RTI act, its implementation in the country, and achievements among representatives from development partners, and sought their support in implementing the RTI more effectively.
Banskota said, “In each project/programme, development partners should allocate at least 0.25 or 0.50 or 1 per cent of the budget to disseminate information to beneficiaries under the title of RTI budget.”
As in the Commission’s recent publication on information on facilities available to women on behalf of government (with support from UN Women), NIC could work together on other such issues aiding in collecting information related to facilities for farmers, and facilities in health and education, he added.
“We can prepare an RTI related communication outreach strategy, IEC materials, and training manuals together,” he said adding, “As part of our five-year strategy, we want to raise awareness among the public about their right to seek information, encourage information officers to provide information easily, as well as develop capacity of both the public and information officers. The development partners can help us in these areas too.”
Banskota further said that NIC has carried out RTI audits in all 31 ministries with 20 indicators, stating that it was a unique and innovative area in RTI segment.
He stated that the NIC has already suggested to the government to deliver incentive packages to information officers for effective implementation of the RTI legislation.
“Chief secretary and joint secretaries are responsible for classification of information. It is a pending issue,” he said.
According to Banskota, the NIC was planning to hold a SAARC level information commissioners’ meeting to share experiences and good practices regarding RTI in the region.
He claimed that 108 countries in the world are practicing RTI to seek their desired information.
Kiran Pokharel, information commissioner at NIC, said, “RTI is helpful for good governance as it consolidates democracy.”
Pokharel said, “The public is not aware of its RTI; there is dire need to raise these issues extensively, and the bureaucracy and public bodies need to be enhanced to provide information sought from them.”
Yashoda Timsina, information commissioner, reiterated that RTI is a practical and useful tool for good governance, transparency and accountability.
She said, “With the use of RTI, people can get their entitlements, social security allowances, scholarships, different subsidies provided by the state to citizens, and many other things that are connected with our day-to-day lives, which is why it should be promoted extensively. We need the support of development partners in promoting and practising RTI.”
A version of this article appears in print on August 02, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.