RTI Conference: ‘Replace Culture of Secrecy with Openness, Transparency and Participation’

KL NEWS NETWORK

SRINAGAR

RTI Conference

Governor N N Vohra Saturday inaugurated RTI Regional Conference in Jammu. This Conference has been organized by the Institute of  Management and Public Administration  & Rural Development (IMPA & RD), J&K, in collaboration with the State Information Commission (SIC), J&K.

G R Sufi, Chief Information Commissioner, J&K; Bhim Sen, CIC, Himachal Pradesh; Wajahat Haibullah, former CIC India; Nazir Ahmed, State Information Commissioner, J&K; B R Sharma, Chief Secretary; Dr Arun Kumar, DG, IMPA &RD, J&K  were among those who were present on the occasion, an official spokesperson said this evening.

The Governor expressed gratification that despite the initial difficulties the RTI Act has taken deep roots in the country. However, he observed, a good deal of work is still required to be done for ensuring that this statute is put to meaningful use to promote transparency and accountability and visibly reducing corruption. In this context he pointed to the importance of ensuring that all stakeholders are made aware of their rights and encouraged to make judicious use of the RTI Act to promote the larger public interest.

The Governor said that he had the opportunity of closely observing the evolution of the acceptance of this law in J&K and complimented Sufi, Chief Information Commissioner J&K, for stabilizing the functioning of the State Information Commission despite the difficulties faced in the initial period.

The Governor noted that for the effective functioning of the RTI Act considerable improvement shall need to be brought about in the maintenance of records in the public offices and to replace the traditional secrecy with openness, and transparency except in matters which need to remain undisclosed in the national interest. He observed that we may see considerable reduction in the number of RTI applications which are being received by the public authorities if Section 4 of RTI Act is implemented and the public authorities suo moto disclose information by putting up the same on their websites.

The Governor observed that RTI Act has been strengthened through various Supreme Court rulings lending it a constitutional status and that this has further strengthened and made possible the success of steps taken for ensuring transparency and accountability in the working of public authorities and for promoting and propagating the culture of accessing information held by them as a matter of the right of the common citizen.

The Governor said that today’s Regional Conference is another step towards creating awareness amongst all stakeholders, Govt. functionaries and the public at large.  He wished the participants success in their deliberations and hoped that many sound suggestions will emerge from the deliberations.

Mr. G.R. Sufi. Chief Information Commissioner, SIC, J&K presented the Welcome Address and spoke about the functioning of the SIC in J&K; Prof. Sunita Zalpuri, Faculty of Social Sciences, IMPA &RD, Jammu briefed the participants about the agenda of the conference while Dr. Jahan Ara Jabeen, Associate Professor, IMPA &RD, Srinagar presented a Vote of Thanks on the occasion.

Among those present were many eminent persons and social activists associated with the RTI.

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