Rahul Gupta, Prateek Kumar, Vinay Kumar,Vineesh Kumar, Rasaal Dwivedi and Kopal Gupta, Founders & Social Entrepreneurs, rtination.com
Transparency is the hallmark of a democratic nation. The right to know what the government we have elected is upto is one that many of our fellow citizens would love to exercise. The Right to Information Act (RTI), passed in 2005 empowers every citizen of India with the right to ask for information held by a Public Authority.
However, having the right and exercising it are two different stories. Those of you who may have believed that the RTI Act is but a farce will take heart in knowing that the process just got simplified. A Young and enthusiastic team of citizens have taken it upon themselves to get your information to you. Rahul Gupta, Prateek Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Rasaal Dwivedi and Kopal Gupta have made a commendable effort to bridge the divide between our government and us.
They spoke to Yourstory of their venture and explained what their aims and methods are as follows:
”rtination.com is India’s first platform to enable online filing of Right to Information Act applications. Launched on 15th August 2009 on the occasion of India’s 62nd Independence Day, rtination.com is an initiative that aims to empower and facilitate the common man in India to be agents of positive change in the country by asking questions from the government.”
“Why was an online platform necessary?”
“The RTI Act is a great tool and can prove to be a turning point in Indian history in many ways. But tools are useful only when used and used well. “
“The time and effort taken to file an RTI Application acted as a deterrent in filing of applications. When some of us tried filing for an application ourselves we had almost given up after spending about 3 hours in a government department. Where does a common man in India who works 5-6 days a week from morning to evening have time to either go to the post office or a government department to ask for information?”
“So all he can do is tread the same broken road and read the same old stories in newspapers day after day. But we believe that if change has to happen in the country, this common man has to be a part of it. That’s when we embarked on an ambitious project to help a citizen ask questions about why his road is broken or where his money is spent. That’s what inspired us to make a system to enable online filing of RTI Applications.”
“Since not all government departments are connected through an online network the proposal for online filing of RTI Applications seemed a far fetched idea initially. The team at rtination.com is committed to finding a way around these constraints and decided to act as a service provider to deliver applications filed online on the website to the respective government departments through post. This way the common man is saved the hassle of either going to the government department or to the post office or to cut out a DD/postal order for the application fees to file his application. Additionally he doesn't have to spend time finding out the required Public Information Officer for the information he seeks.”
“What all can be done on rtination.com?”
“Apart from filing RTI Applications, one can find the resources on the site to help him/her find the necessary details about the RTI Act and one can network and discuss with like minded individuals. In a few days rtination.com will be launching bi-monthly ‘missions’ focusing on a particular area of public interest where the members of the site can act as a cohesive unit and ask for information that will establish transparency in the said area.”
“Very importantly rtination.com gives people a platform where they will be able to post replies when they get to the information and reach out to a larger audience.”
“We are currently working on establishing a mechanism where people can take action on the information they have received by highlighting it in the media or take up the matter in the courts with the help of a lawyer.”
“The fees for filing an application on the site are Rs. 125 which is to mostly meet the costs behind providing the service.”
“The project is a setup in the sphere of social entrepreneurship where the major motivation is the spirit of the ‘adventure of nation building’.”
Yourstory commends the team at RTInation on their exemplary work. In the realm of Social entrepreneurship the RTInation these Young Indians have shown that patriotism is alive and well.
We salute these young citizens of Mother India and wish to see many more such efforts on their quest to make India better than ever.