Hyderabad: The citizens of India have been given the right to seek information for the performance of government departments and the effective implementation of government schemes. Parliament had approved the Right to Information Act, under which the citizens can get details related to any department or government scheme. However, thousands of RTI applications are pending across the country and government departments are avoiding replies on one pretext or the other.
Telangana ranks 10th among the states where applications under RTI are pending, where the number of pending applications is said to be 8902. Details of applications pending with the State Information Commission till January 2022 were released by the Information Commission of India.
Since August 2022, the Chief Commissioner has not been appointed on the State Information Commission and only the commissioners are working. From July 2021 to June 2022, 7,169 complaints and appeals were filed in Telangana, while the number of petitions resolved was 9,267. Around 1,545 RTI applications are disposed of every year in Telangana and the state ranks 11th in this regard. Telangana lags behind other states in issuing show cause notices and penalties to various departments. In Telangana, a fine of Rs 2 lakh was imposed in 52 cases, while only one compensation of Rs 6,000 was paid under the application.
Since the establishment of the State Information Commission in 2017, no annual report has been released in any year. In Telangana, 86 percent of RTI applications are from activists and journalists. Activists say some departments have been reluctant to respond to requests for years. Most of the requests in GHMC and the Electricity department go unanswered.
The petitioners said that even after four months, RTI applications have not been resolved in the Electricity department. The number of pending applications in Telangana is reported to be 8,902. The activists have demanded that the government issue directions to the departments to resolve RTI applications.