This refers to article by Dr Raja Muzaffar titled as “Online RTI applications in J&K” (DE 13th Feb 2020). At a time when authorities in Jammu & Kashmir are spending crores of rupees every year in IT sector and e governance, it is pathetic on part of the Government that it hasn’t facilitated receiving of RTI applications through an online mode. This is not a rocket science in fact. The reality is that the Government officials and bureaucrats don’t want all this to happen as they don’t want to be held accountable.
After Article 370 was scrapped from J&K , BJP led Government at Centre claims that Centre’s rule would ensure transparency and good governance in Jammu & Kashmir, but that is not visible on the ground from last almost one year. People would be fleeced by the corrupt babus in past and they continue to be fleeced even now under LG’s rule as well. Accountability and transparency can only be ensured when people are empowered and bureaucrats made answerable to them. This is only possible when we have a strong RTI regime in J&K. If Lt Governor wants J&K corruption free he must strengthen institutions of probity and transparency and RTI is the best tool to be given to people. Govt must without wasting any time start receiving and responding RTI applications through online mode which is already done in more than 15 states and union territories across India. Central Information Commission’s (CIC) bench should also be established in J&K as it is difficult for people to file 2nd appeals in CIC New Delhi after J&K RTI Act 2009 was repealed.