On RTI Anniversary: Roundup of Top 25 RTI News

Right to Information Act (RTI) is an Act of the Parliament of India to promote transparency and hold those in power accountable. The law, which allows Indian citizens to seek information from most government bodies, was passed by Parliament on 15 June 2005 and came fully into force on 12 October 2005.

The first application was given to a Pune police station.

October 12, 2017 marked the 12th anniversary of the implementation of the Right to Information Act (RTI) in the country. Enacted in 2005 as an implementation of the election promise of UPA-1, the RTI act has since caught the imagination of citizens from across the spectrum like no other act has done in the history of Independent India. The major reason for success is that it has seen in the ease of use.

On the occasion of 12th anniversary of RTI act, and to mark this 12th anniversary Online RTI presents a list of some of the most successful stories, news etc.

  1. BSc student goes Right To Information way to get answer sheet copies: BSc student goes Right To Information way to get answer sheet copies: OnlineRTI
    A Right to Information (RTI) application with the Nagpur Nagpur University exam section seeking photocopies of his answer sheets by Harshal Mehta of VMV College, Wardhaman Nagar. Ankita Shah, who too had filed an RTI plea to get answer sheet copies, said, "University should discontinue the revaluation system if it can't give copies and results on time. While this process costs you approximately Rs500, RTI costs only Rs40 beside you have the guarantee of getting the copies within a month."

  2. Black money held by Indians but how much? Government declines to share assessment reports: Black money held by Indians but how much? Government declines to share assessment reports: OnlineRTI Government has declined to shares reports submitted to it nearly three years ago on the issue of black money held by Indians in the country and abroad by saying it will cause a breach of privilege of Parliament.

  3. Modi Government Spent Over Rs. 36 Crore On Publicity To Mark 2 Years: Modi Government Spent Over Rs. 36 Crore On Publicity To Mark 2 Years: OnlineRTI An RTI query by IANS revealed Modi government spent over 36 crores on publicity for 'Ek Nayi Subah' show. The BJP-led union government may have attacked the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi for its spending on advertisements, but it spent more than Rs. 36 crore on publicity and advertisements for organizing the one-day "Ek Nayi Subah" show in Delhi to mark two years of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

  4. As RTI Enters 12th Year, Data Reveals Vast Regional Disparity in Applications Filed:As RTI Enters 12th Year, Data Reveals Vast Regional Disparity in Applications Filed: OnlineRTI Of the 1.75 crore applications filed since 2005, a whopping 65.43% were submitted to the Centre, Karnataka and Maharashtra, while Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh received just over 4%. Since, Right to Information Act (RTI) enters its 12th year, a look at the data from the first decade of its operation, 2005-2015, has revealed major inconsistencies in the manner in which various state governments have been receiving and accepting the applications.

  5. Reply to every RTI application - Rajnath Singh: Reply to every RTI application - Rajnath Singh: OnlineRTI The new system has come into place as the Commission has digitized over 1.5 lakh files with it, allowing people to file appeals and complaints online without any requirement of hard copy. Reply should be given by officials to every RTI application irrespective of what kind of information has been sought by the applicant, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today.

  6. SBI records of loans to Adani firms cannot be disclosed - CIC:SBI records of loans to Adani firms cannot be disclosed - CIC: OnlineRTI CIC says records related to loans given to Gautam Adani-promoted industries are held by SBI in a fiduciary capacity and involve commercial confidence. Ramesh Ranchordas Joshi who wanted to know from State Bank of India about ‘the basis of giving huge loans to Gautam Adani Group along with the evidence that the loan was connected to the Australia’s coal mines’ and the CIC order came on a plea by him.

  7. In four years, MU filed 1,200 FIRs against students using fake certificates: In four years, MU filed 1,200 FIRs against students using fake certificates: OnlineRTI University of Mumbai officials said cases of bogus certificates were forwarded to the police by the respective departments. MU has filed close to 1,200 FIRs against students or ex-students who produced fake certificates was revealed by an RTI in the past four years. The usage of fake certificates by people seeking to obtain jobs or pursue higher education has plagued the University of Mumbai for years.

  8. Farmer Suicide Problem Worsening in Maharashtra, Number of Deaths Increases- RTI:Farmer Suicide Problem Worsening in Maharashtra, Number of Deaths Increases- RTI: OnlineRTI Most cases were reported in Amaravati division (10,970) followed by Aurangabad (3,863), Nagpur (3,051), Nashik (2,186), Pune (781) and Konkan (22). In the last 15 years, 20,873 cases of farmer suicides were reported, of which, 9,907 cases were found to be "fit for compensation". The problem of farmer suicides is worsening in Maharashtra, with the number of such deaths increased in the last two years after the BJP-led government came to power, a reply to an RTI query has found.

  9. Gujarat High Court to decide if judge’s personal details are subject to RTI: Gujarat High Court to decide if judge’s personal details are subject to RTI: OnlineRTI To what extent do a sitting High Court judge’s personal details fall under the ambit of the Right to Information Act? - The Gujarat High Court is faced with the prospect of answering a pertinent question. The matter stems from an RTI query made by one AR Chauhan, seeking details regarding sitting Gujarat as reported by the Times of India.

  10. His wife is employed - Man uses RTI to prove it: His wife is employed - Man uses RTI to prove it: OnlineRTIThe man has filed a complaint in the commission and said he is being harassed by his wife. He has urged to provide him the information he has sought under the Right to Information (RTI). The information, he said, if given, would be of extreme help. The case pertains to a harried husband.

  11. RTI reveals - 165 patients found 'absconding’ from the government hospital in Nainital: RTI reveals - 165 patients found 'absconding’ from the government hospital in Nainital: OnlineRTI 165 patients from Dr. Sushila Tiwari Government Medical College and Hospital here have been missing, with no official explanation of their whereabouts - discovered by an RTI query by Haldwani-based activist.

  12. Delhi schools failing Class IX and XI pupils - RTI: Delhi schools failing Class IX and XI pupils - RTI: OnlineRTI A recent report based on information collected by RTI says a large number of students of Class 9 and 11 are being deliberately held back every year in the Delhi government and state’s municipal corporation schools, in an attempt to avoid the drop in pass percentage of students in board classes. “At least 17 percent students in state government and MCD schools did not go to Class 10 from Class 9 in the 2013-14 academic session. The figure then rose to 43.5 percent and then 50 percent in sessions 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively.”

  13. RBI has no data on scams in cooperative banks post demonetization - RTI: RBI has no data on scams in cooperative banks post demonetization - RTI Between November 8 and December 10, 2016, Prominent RTI activist Anil Galgali had sought information on the extent of irregularities committed by state cooperative banks alleged corruption by officials. A reply under RTI revealed on Monday, The RBI has admitted that it has no details of any irregularities or scams in the exchange of the demonetized currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 by the cooperative banks.

  14. Smriti Irani asked us to not reveal her education details to RTI applicant-DU's School of Open Learning: Smriti Irani asked us to not reveal her education details to RTI applicant-DU's School of Open Learning: OnlineRTI Irani's degrees have been caught in a row after a petitioner alleged she had given contradictory information in her affidavits filed before contesting elections in 2004, 2011 and 2014. The School of Open Learning has told the Central Information Commission, "Amid the row over her educational qualification, Union Minister Smriti Irani had asked the Delhi University not to disclose it to an RTI applicant.

  15. What TN Governor Told MHA About Jayalalithaa’s Death - RTI reveals: What TN Governor Told MHA About Jayalalithaa’s Death - RTI reveals: OnlineRTI A report sent by the Governor to Home Minister Rajnath Singh on 7 December has been made public by the Ministry of Home Affairs through an RTI reply - for the first time ever. Following the 75-day long hospitalization and subsequent death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on 5 December 2016, a number of conspiracy theories have surfaced.

  16. Crimes against senior citizens on rise in last 5 years-Reply by RTI: Crimes against senior citizens on rise in last 5 years-Reply by RTI: OnlineRTI Crime against senior citizens are increasing at a rapid pace with rising urbanization and disintegration of joint families. in last five years in the city that included 36 murders and 212 robberies, nearly thousand offenses took place against them. If this is not enough 449 cases of assault against such citizens were reported, where some were made by their own sons and daughters.

  17. Around 35 percent shortfall of teachers in 23 IITs- RTI reveals: Around 35 percent shortfall of teachers in 23 IITs- RTI reveals: OnlineRTI Current teacher-student ratio in IITs stood at 1:16 though these institutes are trying to achieve the 1:10 ratio. An RTI query has revealed, Around 35 percent posts of teachers position are lying vacant in 23 IITs across the country. Neemuch-based activist Chandrashekhar Gaud told PTI today citing a reply from an official in Union HRD ministry, "As against sanctioned strength of 7,744 teachers, 5,072 teachers are teaching 82,603 students in 23 IITs. This means 2,672 posts are lying vacant which is 35 percent."

  18. Netflix has 2-3 lakh paying subscribers in India- RTI: Netflix has 2-3 lakh paying subscribers in India- RTI: OnlineRTI An investigation of the company’s India tax records by MediaNama has revealed that Netflix has 2-3 lakh paying subscribers in India. From the total, 93.8 million subscribers, between 211,500-337,300 are from India. This is a small share of Netflix’s international market, but it’s significant, considering India’s nascent broadband infrastructure; the video-on-demand market has also been mushrooming only in the last couple years.

  19. RTI activist wants to know Dera chief’s menu in jail, officials seek godman’s nod: RTI activist wants to know Dera chief’s menu in jail, officials seek godman’s nod: OnlineRTI “The prisoners who are the graduate or post-graduate fall under the category of B Class, who are entitled to better facilities than of General Category in the jail. I have also sought information regarding educational qualification of the Dera chief” said by RTI activist Kapoor. Kapoor had sought details about the menu of food items, including breakfast, being served to Ram Rahim, in his application under Right to Information Act.

  20. Over 800 died due to electrocution in Vid in 5 yrs- RTI: Over 800 died due to electrocution in Vid in 5 yrs- RTI: OnlineRTI Fresh data has revealed that over 800 persons lost their lives in Vidarbha due to shocks in the last five-and-half years, even as the dust is yet to settle on the deaths of 11-year old twins Priyansh and Piyush Dhar and five-year-old Umesh Pande due to electrocution from high-tension (HT) wires. The dead not only include children but also employees from power companies, according to an RTI reply submitted by MSEDCL public information officer.

  21. Centre declines sharing details of CBI chief appointment, cites confidentiality clause under RTI Act: Centre declines sharing details of CBI chief appointment, cites confidentiality clause under RTI Act: OnlineRTI The appointment of CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma was done through the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), which is exempted from the ambit of the transparency law, replying to an RTI appeal. To share details on the appointment of the CBI chief citing confidentiality clause under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, refused by the Personnel Ministry.

  22. RTI about usage of Armed Forces Flag Day Fund stalled: RTI about usage of Armed Forces Flag Day Fund stalled: OnlineRTI Lack of transparency in the use of these public funds, donated by government employees and ex-servicemen on 7th December, besides voluntary donations throughout the year, has exasperated activists who are denied information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Annually collected money from civilians for the benefit of widows of soldiers, of disabled soldiers, sailors, airmen, ex-servicemen and their dependents, as confirmed by the audit report, has apparently resulted in profiteering for vested interest - misuse of Armed Forces Flag Day Fund.

  23. Ten million Indians made to donate blood, reveals NACO data:Ten million Indians made to donate blood, reveals NACO data: OnlineRTI Officials said that between 2012-13 and 2016-17, 1,08,75,061 units (38,06,271 liters) of blood was collected by blood banks across India, responding to an RTI query. More than 10 million Indians were forced by hospitals to donate blood to compensate for transfusions given to their relatives, in the past five years. A man named Chetan Kothari, who had filed the RTI query, said the problem areas are safety and monetary exploitation of donors.

  24. Women of a Delhi Slum Filed 200 RTIs, Made the Law Work for them, & Drastically Improved Their Lives: Women of a Delhi Slum Filed 200 RTIs, Made the Law Work for them, & Drastically Improved Their Lives: OnlineRTI See what these legally empowered women are achieving in Delhi’s Savda Ghevra resettlement colony - from bringing the water supply to their community to saving a girl from being raped. By being aware of their legal rights, by filing RTIs, by asking for what they are legally entitled to - the women of Savda Ghevra have turned things around.

  25. Blood bank blames mass donation camps for wastage: Blood bank blames mass donation camps for wastage: OnlineRTI An RTI has forced a public blood bank to provide an explanation for wasting precious units of blood mostly collected through voluntary donation camps. Why more than 500 units of blood had to be thrown away in 2015 - asked to explain by Authorities at Rajawadi Hospital, Ghatkopar. RTI activist Chetan Kothari had subsequently filed a complaint with the BMC commissioner's office that forced the Rajawadi officials to furnish a reply.

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