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7-day Odisha RTI training camp in June

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 21 :

Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhiyan (OSAA) is planning to hold a week-long  RTI Awareness Camp on the ‘Right to Information Act’  in Bhubaneswar in the third week of June, 2014, its convener Pradip Pradhan said in a release.

Nearly 500 volunteers, students and RTI Workers are expected to participate in the camp for a thorough training on RTI, the release said.

According to the release, each participant will get an opportunity to learn thefundamentals of RTI, proper procedures to be followed for accessing information and inspecting documents/ records through RTI application, method of inspection of information proactively disclosed under section 4 (1b) of the RTI Act, use of information to address the grievances and problem of the people at large and other related subjects.

The participants will also be provided with a booklet/compendium of the RTI Act, Rules, circulars, guidelines and other relevat documents, the release said.

The RTI Act, 2005 has been in vogue for more than eight years in Odisha and has not only empowered common citizens to access information and forced the administration to be transparent and accountable to the people at large. However,  in Odisha, only a limited number of educated people and activists have made use of this empowering Act.

Noting that youths, students and the common people in rural pockets as well as urban slums are hardly aware of the procedure of seeking information from government offices through RTI, or to make complaints to and file appeals before the State Information Commission, the OSAA release says, even activists and volunteers are “still in the state of confusion about the procedures to be followed to seek information, write appeals and complaints under RTI Act”.

“There is no doubt many organizations have done commendable work in sensitizing the community about the relevance of various provisions of RTI Act. But their activities has been limited and confined to a particular area, which has not created the larger impact on the whole State. Though there is a clear and vital provision for suo-motu disclosure of information under section 4 (1b) of RTI Act, it  has remained non-starter across the State. Keeping this in view, it is proposed to put a collective effort involving all stake-holders, concerned citizens, NGOs, INGOs, trade unions, corporate bodies, retired officials  to help make RTI  a mass campaign in the State,” the release said.

The release said those who are  interested to take part in the training camp will have to deposit an amount of  Rs. 1300/- towards the fee  for the RTI training programme. Organisers of the RTI Camp will provide instant service to the information-seekers and respond to their queries as well as help them file RTI applications.

The release said, persons who are interested in learning  about RTI but do not have the money to pay the fee, will be provided training free of cost.

The venue and date will be intimated very shortly, the release added.

The OSAA had organized seven-day RTI Camp in Bhubaneswar in 2010 in which 370 volunteers had received training on the RTI Act.