Mumbai: For those who want to use the Right to Information (RTI) Act but are unaware about procedures, a city-based NGO plans to set up an RTI bank in the state for providing all relevant information under one roof.
“Due to increasing awareness on RTI, there is a growing urge in people to use it. But many are unaware of the process. We are opening a RTI bank which would be a ready reckoner for such prospective applicants,” convenor of Mahiti Adhikar Manch (MAM) Bhaskar Prabhu told PTI.
MAM would seek all applications filed under RTI in Maharashtra from the concerned applicants and keep them informed about the progress in their respective cases.
“We will file all the documents and save the copies under one roof like a bank. The citizens can have access to these documents to know the process of filing applications. This will also help in reducing duplicity of queries,” Prabhu said.
This will save people and administration’s time and energy as applications of similar nature would reduce. This could result in faster disposal of applications, he added.
“Most of the queries pertain to the use of funds by corporators, MLAs and MPs. People can improvise their questions by referring to the available documents and seek more information under the same category for the betterment of their ward,” he said.
The inspiration to start a RTI bank was derived from one of the networking groups of MAM called ‘hum jaanenge yahoo group’ operating on similar lines in Bangalore.
“We will be implementing its programme at state level,” Prabhu said.
The bank will be initially opened in south Mumbai in association with Nani A Palkhivala Memorial Trust. The Trust is already sponsoring MAM’s RTI clinics in suburban railway stations. It has already spent Rs25,000 on this campaign.
“We are talking to the Trust. If they agree, then it could be opened in their own building,” Prabhu said.
“It is a good idea. In fact, having catalogues like a library would help people in locating the required records faster. Once we get a formal request from MAM, we will put the idea before our board,” Trustee and Member Secretary Shirin Bharucha said.
“Providing infrastructure won’t be possible. But we can certainly finance them to start the bank,” she said.
According to State Chief Information Commissioner S V Joshi, with 12,000 RTI applications filed per month, such a concept could help bringing down the numbers.
“But the wide scope of the Act allows to seek information on any subject. Queries on public issues can reduce as they are common. However many queries are personal and different. So, the numbers may not reduce to a large extent,” Joshi said.
However the Act is for people’s benefit and they should continue using it, he added.