National Federation of Information Commissions
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Unique workshop on RTI Act

Pune : A special workshop held by Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute (BARTI) on the provisions of the RTI Act 2005. Section 26 (1), throws light on the immense power that common man can have because of the right to information

Under Section 26 (1), the appropriate government is mandated to develope awareness programs and trainings for the backward and under privileged sections, thus leading to overall fulfillment of the goals of the Act.

With a view to create awareness about the right to information, the BARTI, Pune, organized a one- day workshop at the Yashada campus, Pune on August 31, 2012.

The unique workshop was held as part of a series of programmes under an awareness campaign started by the Chief Information Commissioner of Maharashtra, Mr. Ratnakar Gaikwad, who had urged the BARTI to create awareness about the provisions of the RTI Act 2005 Section 26 (1) among various sections of the society and among the citizens from disadventaged sections on priority.

In response to this communication, the Director General of BARTI, Pune had shown great interest and willingness to organize various awareness programmes about the RTI Act. “The BARTI is indeed an organization dedicated to the cause of training and development of the underprivileged sections working the department of Social Justice, State of Maharashtra”, he had stated. Thus, a series of workshops was planned and delivered.

The Workshop: A state level one of its kind workshop, this initiative saw a participation of 109 participants from various underprivileged and ill informed sections like scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, migrating tribes, other backward castes, physically challenged sections etc. Representatives from scheduled tribes like Mahadev Koli, Warli, Katkari, Pavra, Pardhi, Kokani etc. also attended the workshop. Participants were also present from the Naxalite prone and remote areas of Gadchiroli district of the state. The workshop saw a presence of various officials from government and semi government organizations like; Dr. Sanjay Chahande, Director General, Yashada, Dr. D.R. Parihar, Direcrtor General, BARTI Pune, Mr. Ashok Dhivare, retd. Addl DGP, Mr. Pralhad Kachare, Director, Center for Right to Information, Yashada, Pune, Mr. Vivek Velankar, RTI activist, Pune.

Speaking on the occasion, the State Chief Information Commissioner, Mr. Gaikwad stressed on the need to bring about a culture of awareness as he said the right to information is in line with the fundamental and constitutional rights provided by the Indian Constitution. Speaking on the importance of creating awareness about the provisions of the RTI Act Section 26 (1), he said “The RTI Act can help people understand the provisions for spending, budgetary allocations and the money spent for the cause of tribal and other development issues. This will be helpful to bring the tribals into the mainstream.” He said teams of about 10 volunteers from each taluka and about 100 participants from each district can be set up for the purpose of creating awareness about the provisions of the RTI Act 2005. He also mentioned that a small booklet can be published on the topic for use by all.

The team of experts present on the occasion upheld the importance of creating awareness about the RTI Act 2005 and recommended a few things as, mentioned below :-
  • Workshops must be held at all levels like taluka, district, state level.
  • Information on the RTI Act 2005 should be included in the school curriculum and awareness workshops must be held for school and college students. The respective district collectors should be informed by the Information Commissioners about conducting these workshops.
  • The information about the RTI Act 2005 should be published in booklets in local and tribal languages that can be read by all sections in society.
  • A paradigm shift should be made from the overall thought pattern that ‘the common man does not get fair justice and the RTI Act should be used as a tool to help the masses.’
  • All the Panchayati Raj and Zilla Parishad representatives should be informed and trained about the RTI Act.
  • Special workshops should be held for designated scheduled tribes and groups like Pardhi, Katkari, Gond, Madiya etc.
  • A special team of trainers for the RTI workshops can be created at district levels with about ten trainers for each district. BARTI can lead this initiative and hold the workshops/training sessions. The trainers should be provided with proper training material.
  • The District Planning Commission should take care of funding the training initiative.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 12:45  

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