Are you wondering why that flyover in front of your office building is still under construction after 10 years? Why the flood victims haven’t found any relief despite central government sanctioning crores of rupees for flood relief? If your answer is yes, then now it is the time to stop wondering and start finding. Still wondering, if it is possible! Yes it is – with RTI, the Right to Information Act by Indian Government.
Although it has been a while since it came into force, still very few actually know how to use RTI to enquire about government work. This is because large numbers of people are still unaware about the rules and correct procedure of filing an RTI application. They assume it to be a complicated process and prefer staying away from it. However, the reality is completely different. Now with a computer and internet connection, anyone can file an RTI application online in less than 10 minutes. Lets understand the process with our stepwise guide,
Step 1 – Do a Thorough Research On Information You Need
Before you go on about filing an RTI request, you must ensure that the information is not already available. Spend some time researching about the information and thoroughly explore the website of the concerned public authority. Some websites include india.gov.in, data.gov.in and sites under National Informatics Centre. There are high chances that the information is already present on the website. Finding the information you desire will save you lot of time, effort, as well as some money.
If you cannot find the information you desire, proceed to the next step.
Step 2 – Note Down all the Information You Want
In order to quickly finish the application process, make sure that you have made a detailed note of the information request in a notebook or word document. Try to be extremely precise yet detailed in your application. Do not write too much of fluffy or ambiguous content, as this may lead to returning or rejection of the application.
There is a limit of 3000 words for writing RTI application and it can be written in English, Hindi as well as many regional languages. However, writing RTI in Hindi or English are two better options.
Step 3 – Register to the Official RTI Request Website
The official website for filing RTI application online is http://www.rtionline.gov.in. Firstly, you need to register on this website by filling a simple form. The form asks for your basic details and will take not more than a or two minute to fill.
Make sure that you enter all your details correctly, especially the mobile number and email address, which will be used to send SMS alerts and email notifications to you.
After you have filled and submitted the form, you will receive a confirmation as well activation link on your email. Activate your account by copying the activation code and pasting when login onto the account for first time. Once activated, you can start submitting online RTI application.
Step 4 – Writing RTI Application
Once your account is activated and you are logged in, click on the ‘Submit Request’ button in order to file a RTI application. You will be directed to fill another form. When filing the request form, make sure that you have selected the correct option from the drop down menu available for ‘ Select Ministry/Department/Apex Body’. Any mistake in selection may result in rejection of the application.
Once you have selected the right option, write your RTI in Hindi or English against the ‘Text for RTI Request Application’ section. It must be detailed and within 3000 words. If you need to attach any documents regarding your RTI application, you can do so by using the button for “Supporting document”.
Enter the security code and press the submit button. Once you do this, your RTI application is successfully uploaded. However, your application will not be completed until you make the payment.
Step 5 – Making Payment
Although you only need to make a nominal payment of Rs 10/-, your application will not be processed until you pay the amount. Making payment is extremely easy. You can make payment using Internet banking option (for selected banks) or by using your debit/credit cards. Once you have successfully made the payment, your application is complete and you will soon receive an email as well as SMS confirming the same.
In the confirmation email, the name of the nodal officer, phone number and email is mentioned.
After filing of RTI application online, it usually takes around 20-35 days to receive a reply. It usually depends upon the nature of your request. If the reply is not received even after the maximum allowed time period, the application can submit appeal enquiring about the same.
Step 6: Checking Status
You can check how your application is processed by the nodal officers and when it’ll be delivered to you by regularly checking the status. For this, just login to your rtionline account, click ‘Check Status’. Enter registration number of the filed RTI request, email and submit form. The status of application would show up. If there is no response of your RTI within 35-40 days, you can appeal against it using ‘Submit First Appeal’ option.
Origin of RTI
Right to information or RTI is a very powerful tool that came into force in the year 2005. By using this tool, an Indian citizen can seek any kind of information related to ‘public authority’ from government offices. This can be any kind of information like any road construction work, expense on government-aided activity or anything except for sensitive and confidential information pertaining to any individual or nation.
Initially there was lengthy RTI rules and procedures that prevented it from being a tool that it should be. It was to be filed writing application on paper and submitting to district PIO office but now things have made easier. Now RTI can be submitted online and in any language including Hindi in a matter of minutes.
Once a citizen files an RTI application – online or offline, government officials are required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days. Another major change which RTI brought to government working is to mandate computerization of records related to public authorities for wide dissemination and for easy viewing of general public. This is done so that citizens can get easy access to information they need without asking for it formally.