State Information Commission (SIC) today organized a one day seminar on J&K Right to Information Act 2009 at conference hall, JKTDC, TRC Jammu.
The seminar was inaugurated by Chief Secretary, B R Sharma and was attended by Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) J&K, Khurshid A Ganai, Ex-Chief Information Commissioner J&K, G R Sufi, Director Information, Dr Shahid Iqbal Chowdhary, heads of various departments, First Appellate Authorities (FAAs), Public Information Officers (PIOs) from the districts of Jammu division, prominent RTI activists and other officers from the J&K State Information Commission.
Chief Secretary in his inaugural address said that free access to information and participation of people in policy making is essential for transparent and accountable governance. Right to information provides an opportunity for attaining informed consent from the citizens for establishing democratic order. “RTI is the bedrock of good governance as it promotes transparency and enforces accountability thereby strengthening corruption free governance” he said.
CIC, Khurshid A Ganai said the aim of the seminar was to review the implementation of J&K RTI Act 2009 with reference to the achievements registered so far and problems being faced in its implementation, to sensitize the PIOs and FAAs about their critical role and responsibility in the implementation of RTI Act, to provide more clarity to the PIOs and FAAs on important sections of the RTI Act and to get the feedback on course correction from the PIOs/ FAAs and RTI activists in the seminar.
The seminar included interactive sessions on vital aspects of J&K RTI Act including sessions from former CIC, G R Sufi on “Exemption under section 8 and important rulings of Supreme Court, High Court and CIC on RTI Act”, Prof Sunita Zalpuri on “Responsibilities of PIOs and FAAs”, Dr Jahanara Jabeen on “Compliance under section 4 of RTI Act” besides session on e- governance and digitalization in government presented by Shikha Jamwal.
The seminar culminated with certain essential suggestions being made for the consideration of J&K Government for further strengthening of the framework. These suggestions included filling of the two posts of the State Information Commissioners, budgetary support to the SIC for holding national level conferences on RTI and guest lectures by subject experts on RTI, conducting workshops and seminars at district level, formulation of new RTI rules to replace 2012 rules and introduction of short duration certified courses at college and university levels.