A short update on the implementation of RTI Acts in India & Bangladesh
March 18, 2012, 9:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In India Right to Information Act (RTI) was enacted in 2005. Two interesting websites are relevant on the issue of implementation of RTI in India since 2005: (Central Information Commission, under the Chief Information Commissioner) and (under the Department of personnel and Training – DOPT – of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions). These websites, although very important, contain until now no information on how RTI affects the issue of growing awareness of the vast majority of the people (of India) about the relevance of “information” for their daily, material life. Actually CIC, journalists, researchers, lawyers, human right activists mainly think about intellectual / elite need for information from government, but vast majority of population also has eagerness to get information from the government. Chief of RTI – section of National Archives of India (NAI), Uday Shankar, points at the problem that the Public records Act or the RTI – Act should provide in the adequate care of Archival documents, where RTI is leading to more intense use of archives. Applicants based on RTI act are now visiting NAI for doing their research. Section RTI of NAI was established December 2005, according to the rule in RTI act 2005 that all preparations for implementation should be completed six months after issuing the Act.

In Bangladesh provisions for implementation of RTI Act (enacted in 2009) to be completed within six months, were not taken. National Archives of Bangladesh (NAB) started facing RTI Act and consequences only after 2010. In Bangladesh too the aim enlarging “information sensitivity” among illiterate people is a core business related to RTI. This became clear in the Round Table of 26 February at BRAC center Mohakali on RTI, organized by Development Research Network Bangladesh (D – Net), where this issue was discussed in connection with the Slum Development program of 35 Paurashava’s. Florus Geraedts, Dutch archivist, was present on this occasion and reported on this. In this line the Committees of Concerned Citizens (CCC’s) of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) are for 12 years doing this work, which now is resulting in a Citizens Charter.

Related to this the need is felt for development of training courses on Archives and Records Management (ARM) in Bangladesh in a more permanent setting. Bangladesh Archives and Records Management Society is working on this together with partners D – Net, the International Centre For Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), the Institute of Informatics and Development (IID) and Information Science and Library Management Department of Dhaka University. The ARM training centre can be hosted by D – Net / IDD and  facilities can be used from ICDDR,B and NAB. Practical classes can be given in the repository of NAB. A first course on ARM will start in April and for this the Short Course of NAI School of Archival Studies (SAS) will be used.


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