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Untitled Document

F. No.1/6/2012-IR

Ministry of Personnel, PG and Pensions
Department of Personnel and Training,
New Delhi

Dated: July 18, 2013

OFFICE MEMORANDUM

Subject: Guidelines on Awareness Generation and Capacity building components of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme on "Improving Transparency and Accountability in government through effective implementation of Right to Information Act" for the year 2013-2014 to 2015-2016.

1.0 Introduction

The Right to Information Act was enacted in 2005 to further the objectives of making the governance more transparent and accountable. In the last 7 years, an elaborate institutional mechanism, including setting up of Information Commissions, designation of large number of officers as CPIOs/ SPIOs and Appellate Authorities and laying down of detailed guidelines and instructions for dealing with RTI requests, has been set up, in line with the mandate of the Act, to ensure that the right of information is exercised freely and with ease.

To further strengthen the RTI regime, a centrally sponsored scheme was launched in 2008 with the primary objective of creating awareness and for training of officers, both in central and state governments. This scheme was sanctioned for 2 years. A new scheme titled 'Improving transparency and accountability in government through effective implementation of Right to Information Act" was approved for the remaining two years of the 11th Plan period (2010-11 and 2011-12). Guidelines for sanction and release of funds to SICs and ATIs for two components of the scheme namely 'awareness generation and capacity building' were issued vide O.M. No.1/6/2010-IR dated 16.8.2010. Almost all the ATls availed of the grants given by this Department for the various activities under the components of awareness generation and capacity building.

Keeping in view the feedback received from the ATls and the evaluation of the scheme conducted by IIPA, the guidelines on the various components of the plan scheme for which financial support would be provided by DOPT to the ATls and SICs are revised as follows:-

2.0 Awareness Generation for RTI:

Both Central and State Governments are obligated to create awareness about the provisions of the Act. Financial assistance under this component will be provided to supplant these efforts of State Governments:

(i) RTI Week Celebration: RTI Week is celebrated every year during 5th - 12th October. SICs will be provided financial assistance of up to Rs. 3.00 lakh each based on their proposal, for taking up various activities which may include conducting workshops, seminars, press-meets, competition in colleges on RTI related themes, etc. Although expensive publicity through print/electronic media will not be supported, funds may be used for displaying hoarding, etc, for publicizing the RTI Act.

(ii) Innovative Awareness Generation Programmes: ATIs will be provided up to Rs 4.00 lakh each, based on their proposals, for innovative awareness generation activities which may include nukkad nataks, use of local folk troupes, development of publicity material in local languages, distance learning programmes, online certificate courses in regional languages, etc. for awareness generation regarding RTI.

(iii) Organization of Workshops / Seminars: ATls will be provided a sum of Rs 1.00 lakh per workshop / seminar organized on RTI related themes such as best practices and success stories on RTI, suo motu disclosure, etc on the basis of a proposal. The workshop may include Public Authorities of State/Centre, media persons, Civil Society Organisations, etc.

(iv) Publication of guidebooks: ATIs will be provided funds for getting guidebooks published in regional languages.

(v) Help Desk in ATIs: ATIs may explore the possibility of setting up help desk for answering queries of the general public regarding RTI Act in the regional language. Funds would be granted lo ATIs based on their respective proposal. Such help desks could be set up in collaboration with NGOs working in the field of RTI.

3.0 Support for Capacity Building -Training of SPIOs/CPIOs and First Appellate Authorities (FAA).

State ATIs will be supported for undertaking training of SPIOs/CPIOs and AAs in a cascade model. In the first instance, ATIs will train District Resource Persons (DRPs) who will in turn train SPIOs/CPIOs and AAs in the districts.

(a) Training of DRPs: This training will be organized at the ATIs It is planned that 3 DRPs per district will be trained in a year. Financial assistance will be provided for these trainings up to Rs. 1000 per participant per day for a 2-3 day residential course. Selection of DRPs will be made by ATIs.

(b) Training of CPIOs/SPIOs, AAs and staff of State /Central Govt Offices: These training programmes will be conducted at the district headquarters by the DRPs under the overall supervision of the ATIs Each course will be non-residential and will be of 2 day duration. Financial assistance up to Rs 750/- per participant per day will be provided to ATIs based on a detailed proposal. This will cover all the incidental expenses involved in the training such as on refreshments for the participants, honorarium to DRPs, hiring of audio visual equipment and other contingencies. The training programmes must also include a segment on record management.

(c) ATIs may avail an additional assistance of up to Rs. 3.0 lakhs for preparation of training material and for meeting administrative contingencies based on their proposal and the training load.

4.0 Simplification of processes for filing of RTI - The facility of filing RTI applications and appeals online through RTI online web portal has been launched and is being implemented in all the Ministries/Departments of Govt of India situated in New Delhi. The same facility can be extended to the State Govt offices by sharing with them the software developed by NIC (Headquarters). New Delhi. The ATIs may play the role of catalyst in the implementation of the facility in the Public Authorities located in the state. Proposals in this regard are invited from ATIs and funds would be granted on the basis of such proposal.

5.0 Improved record management /Suo motu disclosure - In order to attend to RTI requests promptly, it is necessary to index and store records properly. Similarly, suo motu disclosure would help in disseminating as much information as possible to the public which would obviate the need to seek information through RTI. GOI has issued guidelines on suo motu disclosure under Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005 to be followed by the Ministries/Departments of GOI. It would be desireable that such guidelines are adopted by the State Governments as well. DOPT would grant funds under this scheme as follows:-

i. If any State Government is willing to implement these guidelines in their respective Public Authorities, ATls can do the necessary hand holding of the PAs. Proposals are invited from ATls in this regard and financial assistance required for such handholding shall be provided to the ATls based on their proposals.

ii. ATls can also conduct audit of suo motu disclosure of Public Authorities in their respective states either themselves or through an NGO/agency. Funds would be granted to ATls to conduct such audit based on their proposals.

6.0 Institutional mechanism for collaborative working with CSOs and Media:

DOPT would provide funds upto Rs.5 Lakhs(in each case) for field based study/research on RTI. The ATls may invite proposals for field based study/research on RTI from Civil Society Organisations or individuals. Proposals found suitable may be submitted to DOPT for final selection. Funds would be granted by DOPT only for the selected proposals. Mentoring for the study/research would be provided by the ATls.

7.0 Sanction and release of Financial Assistance:

SICs and ATIs are required to submit detailed proposals for seeking financial assistance for 2013-14 under the scheme, as per proforma at Annexure I. The proposal must include detailed cost estimates for various activities and the time-lines for physical achievement. Scheme Monitoring Committee (SMC) will review the proposals and sanction assistance.

Funds will be released to ATls and SICs directly as per the following:

(a) Funds will be released only if UCs for funds provided to the SIC (for awareness generation activities) or the ATI (for training/ awareness generation/capacity building), as the case may be, for 2008-09, 2009-10,2010-11,2011-2012 and 2012-13 have been received.

(b) Subject to (a) above financial assistance would be released in one installment immediately upon sanction, and receipt of UCs, receipt of financial and physical progress.

(c) The UCs for the grants that would be given in the financial year 2013-14 would become due in March 2015. However, further funds in 2014-15 would be released only on receipt of UCs and statement of physical achievement for the financial year 2013-14.

8.0 The first meeting of the SMC is scheduled for late August 2013. All complete proposals received in DOPT by 20th August, 2013 will be processed and put up before SMC. SICs and ATIs are requested to submit their proposals in the prescribed proforma as soon as possible. In case, you need any information, you may contact Shri Sandeep Jain, Director (IR) at contact details given below.

9.0 These guidelines are in supersession of OM No. 1/6/2010-IR dated 16th August, 2010.

10.0 Proposals may be sent in the prescribed proforma (Annexure) to Shri Sandeep Jain, Director(IR), Room No. 279, Department of Personnel and Training, North Block, Telephone 23092755, email osdrti-dopt@nic.in

(Sarita Nair)
Under Secretary (IR)

Application Proforma

Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Improving Transparency and Accountability in Government through effective implementation of Right to Information Act

To be submitted in five Copies.

The format given below should be neatly typed on separate sheet giving item-wise information

Application in an incomplete form will not be entertained

A
1. Component for which assistance sought (Para of guidelines to be mentioned)  
     
2. Institution-SIC/ATI/CTI  

B. Details of Institution
1 Name of the Institution  
     
2 Particulars of the Institution  
i Complete postal address  
ii Telephone Nos.  
iii Fax Nos.  
iv E-mail Address  
     
3 Particulars of Nodal Officer  
i Name  
ii Designation  
iii Tel and Fax No. (Including mobile no.)  
iv E-mail id  
     
4 Bank Details:  
i bank Name and Branch  
ii name of Account Holder  
iii Account No.  
iv IFSC Code  
v MICR Code  

C. Details of Proposal
1 Proposed Activities  
     
 
 
 
2 Time Lines  
     
3 Detailed estimates of expenditure activity wise  
     
 
 
 
4 Total amount of grant required  
     

D. It is certified that:-

1. All funds released under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes on 'Strengthening, Capacity Building and Awareness Generation for the effective implementation of the RTI Act 'and "improving Transparency and Accountability in Government through effective implemention of RTI Act" in the previous years have been fully utilized for the purpose for which they were released and Utilization Certificates have been submitted alongwith statement of physical achievement.

2. Once the estimates of expenditure are approved as reasonable and the grant assessed on the basis of these estimates, they shall not be modified by the institution without prior approval of the sanctioning authority of the grant.

 

(Signature) ______________________
Name of the Officer ________________
Designation ___________________

Note: Should be signed by DG/Director in case of ATI and by Secretary in the case of SIC