the rti regime in india a people s assessment
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The RTI Regime in India A People’s Assessment. R ight to information and A ccountability A ssessment G roup (RaaG), In collaboration with The National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) Supported by the Google Foundation. GOAL.

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the rti regime in india a people s assessment

The RTI Regime in IndiaA People’s Assessment

Right to information and Accountability Assessment Group (RaaG),

In collaboration with

The National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI)

Supported by the Google Foundation

slide2
GOAL

To undertake a participatory, transparent and scientific assessment of the functioning of the RTI regime in India

objectives
Objectives
  • To determine the efficacy of the RTI regime in facilitating the exercise of this fundamental right by all segments of the society, especially in terms of:
    • Raising meaningful awareness
    • Facilitating access to requested information
    • Disseminating information suo moto (pro actively)
objectives4
Objectives
  • Assessing the impact of the RTI regime on all sections of the public, on the government, and on other public authorities and institutions, especially in terms of:
    • Initiating a process of empowering people
    • Affecting their lives
    • Impacting institutional functioning
    • Fostering systemic change
expected outcomes
Expected Outcomes
  • A better understanding of how RTI is working in India
  • Thinking, involving all the stakeholders, on how the RTI regime can be strengthened
  • Provoking a public effort at progressively strengthening the RTI regime

As also

  • A replicable method and process of assessment
  • A sustainable assessment network
  • A counterpoint to governmental studies
issues
Issues
  • Are the goals, objectives and expected outcomes adequate and appropriate?
  • How does one assess the effect of RTI on empowerment?
framework of the assessment
Framework of the Assessment
  • First report by 13 October 2008
  • Final report by July 2009
  • Collecting information through:
    • Interviews and household surveys
    • Examination of records and documents
    • Filing RTIs
    • Accessing the web
    • Looking at press report
ten research questions
Ten Research Questions
  • What proportion (and segment) of the population knows about the RTI act and its significance?
  • How did they learn about it?
  • What proportion (and segment) of the population has used the RTI Act?
  • What type of information was sought, from whom, and why?
research questions contd
Research Questions contd..
  • What effect, if any, has the use of the RTI Act had on their lives?
  • What was their experience in accessing information? What, if any, were the constraints?
  • What has been the role of the various authorities in promoting the use of the RTI Act?
ten research questions contd
Ten Research Questions contd..
  • What constraints, if any, are faced by the various authorities in implementing the RTI act?
  • What has been the role of other stakeholders?
  • How can the RTI regime be strengthened?
issues11
Issues
  • Should we ask all these questions?
  • Are there other questions that need to be asked?
coverage types of respondents
COVERAGE: Types of Respondents
  • The public
  • RTI applicants
  • Public authorities, (including APIO, PIO, first appellate), from among:
    • Government at the central, state, district and village level
    • Local government (municipalities, panchayats, councils, etc.)
    • Bodies set up and/or substantially supported by the government, including NGOs, and other agencies and enterprises.
types of respondents contd
Types of respondentscontd…
  • Competent authorities, including the Department of Personnel for the Government of India, the relevant state departments, the judiciary, and the legislature
  • RTI appellants
  • The Central and state information commissions
  • The media
  • Corporate houses
issues14
Issues
  • Do we want to cover all these?
  • Do we want to cover some others?

Non-covered NGOs & movements? Trade unions? International organisations? Others

methodology
Methodology
  • Primary and secondary sources
  • Interviews, Questionnaires, Records and materials, Media, RTI and the web.
  • Low/medium/high/full coverage = sample of less than 5%, between 5% and 20%, between 20% and 50%, 100% of the universe, respectively.
  • Intensity equals depth of knowledge
primary survey
Primary survey

Survey the public – to find out

  • How many of them know about the RTI act? (with socio-econ. profile)
  • What do they know about the act?
  • How did they hear about it?
  • Have they (or any one else that they know) used it.
  • Was the information asked for made available
we can survey the public
We can survey the public
  • By sample household surveys.
  • Through phone interviews. (??)
  • Through street corner interviews.
  • Through the printed and electronic media asking for responses.
  • Through soliciting information by advertisements (and offering prizes ??)
  • Others
for surveying the public we can involve
For surveying the public, we can involve
  • Students
  • NGOs/movements
  • Institutions
  • Professional survey groups? (Only where NGOs are not available ?)
  • Others
household surveys of the public can be conducted in a stratified sample of
Household surveys of the public can be conducted in a stratified sample of
  • 8 states – DEL, MAH, RAJ, KAR, AP, ORI, WB, MEGH (case studies for others)
  • 20% of the districts in each state, with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 5 in each state.
  • 20 villages in each district.
  • 20% households in each village (5-20)
  • 4 metropolitan cities (Lucknow, Mum, Hyd, Ban).
  • Remaining of the 8 state headquarters.
issues21
Issues
  • Are the questions asked of the public adequate and appropriate?
  • Is our sample correct and adequate?
  • Is our methodology workable and optimal?
  • How do we address the issue of bias?
survey applicants to find out
Survey Applicants, to find out
  • What type of information they asked for,
  • From whom
  • How (were they helped in the asking and, if so, by whom and to what extent)
  • What was their experience at all levels
  • Did they get the information (in time, without/with appeal)
  • Was the information satisfactory in content and form
survey applicants to find out23
Survey Applicants, to find out
  • What did the information (or the application) achieve
  • Do they have observations and suggestions
  • Do they have a story that can be built into a case study
  • Their socio-economic profile
survey of applicants
Survey of applicants
  • Through personal interviews.
  • Through phone interviews.
  • Through questionnaires
  • Through the printed and electronic media asking for responses.
  • Through soliciting information by advertisements (and offering prizes ??)
  • Others
survey of applicants25
Survey of applicants
  • By household survey teams, separate for rural and urban areas
  • Cover 50% of the applicants from a sample village, with a minimum of five and a maximum of 25
  • Cover 10% from towns and 5 % from cities, with a minimum of 20 and 100 and a maximum of 1000 and 5000 respectively.
stratification of applicants
Stratification of Applicants
  • Who got information, and who did not
  • Who went in appeal and who did not
  • From rural and from urban areas
  • Seeking information from different public authorities
  • Belonging to different strata of society
  • Seeking different types of information
  • Early applications and recent applications
  • From all different strata of the samples
issues27
Issues
  • Are the questions asked of the applicants adequate and appropriate?
  • Is our sample adequate?
  • Is our methodology workable and optimal?
  • How do we address the issue of bias?
survey of public authorities to find out
Survey of Public Authorities to find out
  • What resources do they have for servicing the act
  • What processes and facilities have they provided (also check physically and through interview of applicants)
  • What changes, if any, have they made in their rules/procedures for keeping information/doing things, as a result of the RTI
  • What problems do they have
  • What observations and suggestions do they have
survey of public authorities by
Survey of Public Authorities by
  • Interviewing the APIO/PIO, the first appellate and the head of the department
  • Interviewing the applicants who are visiting the public authority on the days chosen for the survey
sampling public authorities
Sampling Public Authorities
  • Three predetermined types of public authorities (PA) per sample village, uniformly determined for the whole country
  • One randomly selected PA for each sample village
  • Three predetermined types of public authorities (PA) per sample district, uniformly determined for the whole country
  • One randomly selected PA for each sample district
  • Three predetermined types of public authorities (PA) per state, uniformly determined for the whole country
  • One randomly selected PA for each state
  • Ten predetermined public authorities (PA) of the Central Government.
issues31
Issues
  • Are the questions asked of the public authorities adequate and appropriate?
  • Is our sample adequate?
  • Is our methodology workable and optimal?
  • How do we address the issue of bias?
case studies
Case Studies
  • Of applicants and appellants
  • Of use of the act to address specific issues
    • PDS (MKSS, Parivartan, SNS, etc.)
    • Corruption in PRIs (MKSS, others)
    • Corruption in municipalities (Parivartan, etc.)
    • Transparency about GMOs (Greenpeace, Gene Campaign, others)
    • Environmental issues (Kalpavriksh, NBA, Orissa groups, etc.)
    • School admission to EWS (SNS, Pardarshita)
    • NREGA and social auditing (AP group, Orissa group, MKSS)
case studies contd
Case Studies contd….
  • Elections (Trilochan’s Group, NCPRI, etc.)
  • Fighting communalism (Aman Biradari, others)
  • Dams (NBA)
  • Mining (Orissa groups)
  • Political representatives (SNS)

The concerned groups will be asked to write these up and, if required, some re-writing would be done, in consultation with them

issues34
Issues
  • Should we have case studies?
  • How long, what format?
  • Do we get them all re-written to have a uniformity of style?
  • What other issues need to be covered
outputs
Outputs
  • A report of the findings
  • A set of recommendations
  • A publication of case studies
  • A compilation of papers and documents
  • An RTI portal with all the data and material collected during the assessment, and much else
  • A methodology manual
  • A process document
  • A network of “public watchdogs”
issues36
Issues
  • All this?
  • What else?
  • Any general comments?

Thank you

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