Saturday, April 01, 2017

Welfare schemes set to get RTI boost

Mid-Day‎‎: Mumbai: Saturday, April 01, 2017.
In a landmark RTI order, chief information commissioner of Maharashtra, Ratnakar Gaikwad, has instructed that information of all welfare schemes implemented by various government departments be uploaded on their respective websites by April 30 next month.
The details will need to include the salient features of the welfare scheme, the eligibility criteria, the date/status of receipt of applications and approval and rejections if any, along with reasons for doing so. The idea is to ensure complete transparency.
The order comes just two days after RTI activist and former information commissioner, Central Information Commission, Shailesh Gandhi, filed a complaint under the RTI Act, highlighting zero awareness about welfare schemes floated by various government and municipal bodies.
"The whole exercise of floating schemes is futile if beneficiaries are unaware about the same or have to run from pillar to post to get updates from officials in the concerned departments,” said Gandhi. He added that the concept to file the complaint struck him while interacting with one of the social enterprises that offers citizens easy access to various welfare schemes.
When contacted, Gaikwad said that he had not only accepted all the suggestions put forward by Gandhi, but had gone a step further and applied Section 4 of RTI Act, where not only suo moto information has to be provided by the public authorities, but also decisions taken with regard to that.