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Wednesday May 29, 2024

RTI Day: State urged to promote RTI practice


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2023 Aug 20, 16:39, Kathmandu
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Effective implementation of Right to Information (RTI) is crucial for the realization of good governance, it is said.

At a programme organised marking the 17th National Information Day by the National Information Commission (NIC) here today, the participants described the RTI as a pivotal instrument for ensuring governmental transparency and holding it accountable to the citizens.

The participants who included RTI activists and journalists drew the attention of the Commission towards the urgency for enhancing its vibrancy and efficacy to meet the goals of its establishment.

Commission Chief Information Officer, Mahendra Man Gurung, was of the opinion of establishing RTI as a fundamental tradition in democracy. As he said, public bodies in RTI framework are beyond the government entities and structures. "Political parties, non-government organizations and universities also fall under the category of public bodies and they are all mandated to implement the RTI".

He urged public entities to promote the practice of proactive disclosure of information.

Praising the implementation of the provision of appointing the information officer by the local governments lately, he said the Commission was committed to fulfilling its goals and objectives within available resources. "Monitoring and orientation efforts have been prioriotised".

Commission former commissioner Sabita Bhandari Baral advised the State to promote the RTI implementation and foster the capacity of Commission.

Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) Chair Bipul Pokhrel drew the government's attention towards the need to grant a status of a constitutional body to the Commission. "The more the RTI is practised, the more transparency and accountability will be noticed on the part of government," he said, terming the RTI as a tool to establish cordial relations between the citizens and the government. "If the State and government withhold the information, citizens will start distrusting on them."

National Federation for RTI president Umid Bagchan emphasized on RTI implementation for giving a feel of good governance. He insisted on making the Information Officer and the office chief responsible on the matter of spontaneously providing the information.

In the programme in which Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'was the Chief Guest, the NIC has honored Information Commissioner Sabita Bhandari in recognition of her contribution to the protection, promotion and mobilization of RTI.

Similarly, the NIC felicitated Nepal Telecom Authority for its 'contribution to making the information system technology-based.

The 3rd of the Nepali month Bhadau is observed as the National Information Day as the Right to Information Act, 2064 was issued and enforced on this very day on August 20, 2007.

NIC stated that it received 1068 applications related to RTI in the last fiscal year 2022/2023. Out of these applications, 1054 applications have been cleared as per the RTI Act. Likewise, the NIC received one application about information not being aligned to the Classification of Information Act, four related to misuse of information and one related to the protection of informants.

The Commission also ordered four office chiefs fined for not giving information. It has issued 700 orders related to RTI in the name of various bodies last fiscal year.

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