At the stroke of the midnight hour when the world sleept, India yet again awoke to life and freedom. This 15th August marked the launch of www.rtination.com – a portal which enables filing of Right to Information Act (RTI) Applications for the first time in India. The system has been developed by graduates from IIT Kanpur and IIT Delhi. It is dedicated to the people of India.
rtination.com, a social entrepreneurship venture, will act as an online platform where people can file their applications while sipping their cup of tea. The site makes filing of RTI Applications easy, fast and more accessible. It was developed over a span of the last six months and hopes to encourage transparency by enabling more people to ask information under the RTI Act, 2005. Since the launch the site is receiving applications from places as far flung as Azamgarh and Bhadohi in Uttar Pradesh.
The inspiration behind the idea came when a friend had to spend around 3 hours over a span of two days in a government department when he wanted to file an RTI application. On his first visit he was told that the Public Information Officer (PIO) was on leave. On the second visit he had a tough time finding the PIO and when he did, he was asked to get a receipt of Rs. 10 from the accounts department. After waiting for around 30 more minutes he was finally able to get the receipt and file his application. The result was that, he said he would probably never again file an RTI Application.
All this is set to change. Since not all departments in the country are connected by the internet, it was till now not possible to file online RTI Applications. In Phase I the team behind rtination.com will act as service providers to ensure that the applications submitted on the site reach the respective department. There will be a service charge over and above the normal RTI Application fees that will have to be borne by the applicant. In Phase II a detailed plan will be submitted to the Ministry of Public Grievances to connect all departments through an online network.
It is common place to see many in India complaining about the system, while reading a newspaper over a cup of tea every morning. rtination.com now gives them an option, to stop complaining and start asking. The time taken to file an application on the site is less than the time you will take to finish your cup of tea.
There are various resources the site offers for one to understand the RTI Act and the art of writing an effective RTI Application. When an application is submitted on the website a team reviews it, and suggests changes to make it more effective. People can put forward their doubts on the site and also network with others who are passionate about bringing a change in India. Most importantly rtination.com will serve as a platform where people can share the replies they have received with a large number of people and galvanize public opinion. In the coming few days rtination.com will be launching missions on a monthly basis. These missions will focus on one issue of larger public importance. People can be a part of the mission and file RTI Applications to promote transparency in the chosen area.
The site hit the front page in Hindustan Times Uttar Pradesh on 14th August 2009
If the government runs on the tax payer’s money, the tax payer has every right to check if his money is being utilised in a proper manner. This is just like in a company, where the boss who pays the employees has every right to question and check them. The employees are answerable to their boss.
Right to Information Act (RTI), passed in 2005 provides to every citizen of India right to ask information held by a Public Authority. One can ask for information on a variety of issues. Be it the amount spent by an MP in your area or the cause for delay in your passport applications. The information can be asked through Public Information Officers (PIO) that have been appointed in every government department in India. What makes the RTI Act more effective is that if you don't receive information you have requested for in 30 days the PIO is penalised through a deduction in his salary.
Fact: Some people think that an online system of filing of applications already exists on the CIC website. The fact however is that one can only file a complain with the CIC if their application is not heard by a Public Information Officer.
Rahul Gupta – IIT Kanpur (2008)
Prateek Kumar – IIT Kanpur (2008)
Vineesh Kumar – IIT Delhi (2008)
Vinay Kumar – IIT Delhi (2006)
What kept the team moving was the sheer thought that the project could make the common man in India actually stop complaining and start working towards a greater nation.
Soon we will bring a complete profile story of the entrepreneurs behind the idea.Watch out for it.