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People’s RTI Assessment 2008: Preliminary Results Right to Information Assessment and Analysis Group (RaaG) and National Campaign for People’s Right to Information. In Collaboration with:

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People’s RTI Assessment 2008: Preliminary ResultsRight to Information Assessment and Analysis Group (RaaG) andNational Campaign for People’s Right to Information

In Collaboration with:

Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai; Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi; Association for Democratic Reforms, Bangalore; North Eastern Network, Guwahati; ASHA, Varanasi; JANPATH, Ahmedabad; United Forum for RTI Campaign, Hyderabad; Meghalaya RTI Movement, Shillong; Centre of Action Research and Documentation (CARD) Bhubaneshwar; School for Democracy, Jaipur

  • Survey has been completed in 9 states covering 216 villages and 108 municipal wards in 27 districts. Analysis has been carried out for 18 districts, for which data entry has been completed. The team has surveyed
    • 117 Applicants
    • 15 Second Appellants
    • 426 Public Information Officers
    • 265 HODs
  • They also inspected
    • 548 Public Authority Premises
    • 466 Public Authority Records
  • Facilitated/Filed 77 RTI’s in various PAs
  • Held 324 FGDs in the villages and wards
applicants and appellants
Applicants and Appellants

117 applicants were interviewed in 144 villages.

2/3 received a response to their application. Of those who received the response, nearly 2/3 got some information and nearly1/2 got full information.

90% of applicants were found to be males

1/3 of applicants had only school education, to various levels. One was illiterate

About 20% applicants were STs and 30% were OBCs

About 20% applicants had BPL or antyodaya ration cards



  • Of the possible 165 PIOs in each state, an average of 1/3 were actually available. Best availability was in Karnataka, followed by Rajasthan. The worst was in Uttar Pradesh
  • 1/3 of the PIOs available did not know they were PIOs
  • 1/4 of the PIOs responding did not want to be PIOs
  • 2/3 of the willing PIOs wanted to be PIOs to “Support RTI”
  • Unwilling PIOs cited heavy work load as a major reason. But more than 70% spend less than 2 hours/week on RTI related work
constrains faced by the pio
Constrains faced by the PIO

More than 40% of PIOs responding do not have a copy of the ACT.

33% PIOs cited lack of training, lack of manuals and materials, and unfamiliarity with the law as their main problem.

Only around 40% of the PIOs responding had received some sort of RTI training

pa premises
PA Premises

A total of 548 PA premises were inspected for signages like display boards with names of PIO, room number, fees information and also language, readability etc

Of this 50% PA premises did not have any signboards at all.

pa record inspection
PA record inspection

Records were inspected in 466 PAs.

40% PIOs were not willing to get their records inspected.

Non availability or destruction of record were cited as main reasons for not allowing inspection.

Nearly 60% of the PIOs responding confirmed RTI-induced change: improvement in departmental record-keeping.

A total of 324 FGDs were conducted. Participants in 2/3 FGDs stated that availability of information will help in solving their problems
what happens after you file an rti
What happens after you file an RTI?

Speed, Ease, Efficiency!

Experiences with Urban Public Authorities

sample size
Sample Size

Filed RTI applications within the sample: 190

18 RTI applications transferred to 115 divisions and PIO’s

Total responses under consideration: 190+115=305 PIOs

Filed RTIs under consideration cover 7 sample states (states and district PAs) + 1 State HQ +10 PAs in the Central Government

nature of the applications filed
Nature of the Applications Filed

2 Key questions

  • Application History in the PA
    • No. of applications received since 2005
    • Response time
    • Nature of response: # case where full information was provided, partial information provided or rejected
  • Copies of applicant and appeal Registers
  • Copies of applications, appeals, and orders
high response rate
High Response Rate

Three Fourths of the RTI applicants filed received responses

but timely responses are rare
But Timely Responses are Rare

1/3rd Responses Received within 30 Days

50 50 chance of getting information
50:50 chance of getting information

Information furnished in 3/4th of the responses received and ½ of total applications filed

Very few rejections

some caveats
Some Caveats

Many difficulties in payments for RTI applications

Delhi police requested payments for much more than mere photocopying!

state highlights
State Highlights

Meghalaya: Over 2/3rds of the PAs responded with complete information either directly or after requests for money for photocopying

Meghalaya also amongst quickest in responding to RTI applications

AP: less than 1/3rd PAs furnished complete information

pa highlights
PA Highlights

Speed of Responses

Railways- Highest number of responses within 30 days at 90%

MOEF- A close second. 74% were responded to within 30 days

pa highlights1
PA Highlights

Slowest PAs

Responses within 30 days- Revenue at 29%, Women and Child at 24%, Police and home at 14% & 20% respectively

Deemed Refusals

Revenue Dept: 67%

Women and Child: 41%

RD- 30%

pa highlights2
PA Highlights

MoEF and Railways: Top the list. nearly 2/3rds-furnished information either directly or after making requests for money for photocopying

Revenue Department worst performer. Less than 1/5th PIOs furnished information


Section 8 (j) and section 11, section 7(9): most commonly cited reason for rejection

Across PA’s and states max. rejections came from the police department. Majority of the rejections drew on section 8 (j)

desk studies
Desk Studies




website survey of section 4 compliance
Website Survey of Section 4 Compliance
  • Assessment of Section 4 compliance by all 240 sample urban PAs (plus 5 Delhi Govt PAs)
  • Key research questions:
    • Are they electronically reporting all required 17 Section 4 items?
    • Is this reporting comprehensive and timely?
    • Are these websites easy to find and to use?
  • Methodology – each website evaluated for all 17 Section 4 items; information also sought on State and Central RTI portal, SIC and CIC portal.
  • Status – Half of total sample completed; preliminary analysis beginning
  • Key outputs – compliance index; website usability index
rti and the media
RTI and the Media
  • Analysis of media coverage, promotion, and use of RTI in 10 sample states and at centre
  • Key research questions:
    • RTI coverage – cross-publication, cross-state, cross-language
    • Promotion and public awareness efforts
    • Cross-publication/editor/journo differences in tone/attitude to RTI
    • Use of RTI for investigative journalism; systemic results?
    • Adoption of spirit of RTI

Methodology:Clipping collection, labelling, analysis; interviews

Status:Survey ongoing in 7 sample/ 4 non-sample states; preliminary analysis received for most. Now commissioning in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya

rti and international donors
RTI and International Donors
  • Public disclosure policies of international donors in India being vetted for citizen focus and RTI best practice
  • Other research questions:
    • Is RTI impacting international donor disclosure policies in India/ globally?
    • How are international donors helping strengthen the RTI regime?
  • Sample
    • 9 largest multilateral/ bilateral donors as per MinFinance listing
    • 2 largest private charitable foundations, as per
  • Methodology: Desk research; interviews; info requests
  • Status – Desk research complete; rest starts mid-Oct
case studies





Act applicable to all 21 High Courts barring the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • 4 High Courts have not yet framed rules to implement the RTI Act.

Analysis of the rules framed by the High Courts structured under 3 broad categories:

1. Violation of law

2. Going beyond the purview of the law

3. Miscellaneous

violation of law
Violation of law:
  • Denial of information - High Courts of Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Punjab & Haryana have provisions that seek to exempt info. from the public over & above the exemptions specified in the law.
  • Penalty – High Court rules for Delhi, Kolkatta, Gujarat specify a much lower quantum of penalty & one that is impossible by the first appellate authority.
going beyond the purview of the law
Going beyond the purview of the law:
  • High Courts of Patna, Punjab & Haryana, Gujarat, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh have framed rules that any application for info that is either outside the jurisdiction of the PIO or the contents of which can be obtained under High Court rules or other General rules operational in a High Court shall be rejected.
  • Quantum of fees -

- Exorbitant fees imposed by many High Courts.

  • Some prescribed appeal fees.
  • RTI Act does not have any provisions of ‘prior payment’

& therefore it goes beyond the purview of the RTI Act.

  • Mode of Payment –

Different modes of payment for different places causes a problem.

Eg: In whose favour should the cheque/ DD/ IPO be made?


“ When the custodian of power is influenced in its exercise by considerations outside those for promotion of which the power is vested the court calls it a colorable exercise and it is undeceived by illusion.”