JAMMU: Governor NN Vohra on Saturday inaugurated the RTI Regional Conference here, and stressed on the need to replace the culture of secrecy with openness.
The conference has been organised by the Institute of Management and Public Administration & Rural Development (IMPA & RD), J&K, in collaboration with the State Information Commission (SIC).
The governor expressed gratification that despite the initial difficulties, the RTI Act has taken deep roots in India.
However, he observed, a good deal of work was still required to be done for ensuring that this statute was put to meaningful use to promote transparency and accountability and reduce corruption.
He pointed to the importance of ensuring that all stakeholders were made aware of their rights and encouraged to make judicious use of the RTI Act to promote the larger public interest.
The governor said he had the opportunity of closely observing the evolution of the acceptance of this law in J&K and complimented Sufi, chief information commissioner, J&K, for stabilising the functioning of the SIC despite the difficulties faced in the initial period.
He noted that for effective functioning of the RTI Act, considerable improvement should need to be brought about in the maintenance of records in the public offices.
He stressed on the need to replace traditional secrecy with openness and transparency except in matters that need to remain undisclosed in the ‘national interest’.
He observed that the state may see considerable reduction in the number of RTI applications.
Vohra observed that the Act has been strengthened through various Supreme Court rulings that have lent it a constitutional status.He said the Regional Conference was another step towards creating awareness amongst all stakeholders, including government functionaries.