Times of India: Mumbai: Friday, March 24, 2017.
A rapid study of the official websites of 230 public authorities under the J&K Government conducted by J&K RTI Movement and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) reveals that compliance with the requirement of proactive disclosure of information under Section 4(1)(b) of the J&K RTI Act remains poor.
Section 4(1)(b) of the J&K RTI Act makes it compulsory for all public authorities to place a wealth of information in the public domain. This includes detailed information about their organization and functions, powers and duties of their officials, rules, regulations, norms and manuals that must guide their work, details of decision-making processes, budgets and expenditure, subsidiary programmes implemented, authorisations and permits issued and a list of all records held in paper or electronic form.
Key findings from a rapid study of the official websites of the two Divisional Commissioners, the administration of 22 districts and 206 departments, autonomous bodies and other public authorities in J&K revealed that 59% of the districts have not uploaded Section 4(1)(b) information to a reasonable degree of compliance on their official websites. They are either incomplete or not published at all, revealed CHRI programme coordinator Venkatesh Nayak.
"3/4ths of the district websites do not display any information about their annual budgets. Only the district administration of Bandipora and Budgam have displayed the latest budget-related information for 2016-17," the study revealed. "The Kargil district website is the best of all district websites included in this rapid study. Detailed information about the working of the Deputy Commissioner's office and other departments in the district has been published in compliance with the J&K RTI Act. Udhampur seems to be the only district administration to display the physical verification reports of the developmental projects undertaken under various developmental programmes up to 2016," study revealed.