Monday, December 25, 2006
BIHAR becomes the first State in the country where RTI will be just a phone call away
If you want to exercise your right to information, all you have to do is reach for your telephone. That is, if you are in Bihar.
"For better implementation of the Right to Information, we need a system where in people can call up and get the information," Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar says.
Right to Information (RTI) has moved one step forward in Bihar with the state government setting up a call centre so that RTI applicants can call to ask for details and information.
The call centre will then apply to the department concerned and pass the information back to the applicant. And thanks to the new software, callers will now be able to use several languages including Hindi, Maithili and Bhojpuri.
“This call centre will speed up the process. We want the use of modern technology to get the work done properly. And the most important point is that the process should be followed in the right manner,” a very meticulous Nitish Kumar explains.
The Chief Minister sounds quite convincing but how have conventional on-paper RTI applications fared in the state? Official figures aren't that promising.
Out of around 500 applications sent to various departments, only 112 have been attended to so far. But the Chief Minister says that information will be provided at all costs.
“We are still following the conventional method. But we haven’t received any complaints so far. However, one did not have any alternative till now,” Nitish Kumar says.
With the new phone-in service, Bihar will soon become the first state in the country where RTI will be just a phone call away. And the hassles of processing an application can be avoided altogether.
It's been long since Bihar made news for the right reasons. The much talked about RTI is one area, in which Bihar is taking the lead for others to follow. If implemented in its true spirit, it could actually be a boon for the masses.