United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chief Sonia Gandhi called upon Congress Chief Ministers to adopt the model of an Right To Information (RTI) call centre run by the NDA government in Indian state – Bihar. This would enable accessibility of information to the poor and illiterate. However, the UPA government is weighing the system before replicating it at the Centre.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the nodal agency for RTI, has given an “in principle” clearance to the call centre, but they are still unsure whether to follow the 2007 Bihar model and bear the cost of converting a phone call into an RTI application.
In case the government charges the cost of the call centre to the applicant, the total amount payable would be INR 115 instead of the usual INR 10 for the regular RTI application. Thus, there would be a 10 fold increase in the application fees.
The Bihar RTI model may be soon replicated in the Congress run-states. Speaking on the non-subsidised option of filing RTI, Personnel Minister Prithviraj Chavan said that if the call centre route worked out to be more expensive, the citizen had the option of sending his RTI application by post. “Cost is not a major issue