Friday, May 11, 2007

Arvind Kejriwal - Parivartan: Right to Information

We have to simplify this process and in this the Bihar government has taken the lead. The state has set up a right to information telephone line where you don't need to draft your application -- the biggest problem in RTI is to submit your application.

While drafting the application you have to use the right language and your questions have to be very sharp, then you have to find an officer to whom you have to submit the information, which is a Herculean task, you have to make a Rs 10 demand draft, then you don't know in whose name the demand draft has to be made, it is not available on the Web site or in any notification. So filing the RTI information is a big job.

The Bihar government has taken the lead, it has hired a call centre. Any citizen of Bihar, from any part of Bihar can call that number, give his name, address and say I want this information from the Bihar government.

He doesn't need to know the name of the officer, he doesn't need to make a demand draft, his voice gets recorded on the other side and that becomes his application and the ten rupees he is supposed to deposit comes as his phone bill.

The call centre takes a printout of the application and forwards it to the concerned officer and if this person does not get information in 30 days' time, he can again call the call centre and say I am not satisfied with the information I've got or I did not get information in 30 days. Again the recorded voice becomes the appeal.

This is a great experiment that is being done by the Bihar government which needs to be replicated all over the country, especially when you have large sections of the population that is illiterate.

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