Letters: Ask the right questions
Letters: Ask the right questions: With reference to the Chinese Whispers item, 'Think before you ask' (September 27), the advisory from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Right to Information (RTI) appears justifiably rational and perhaps, is applicable to the many, who keep...
Ask the right questions
With reference to the Chinese Whispers item, "Think before you ask" (September 27), the advisory from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Right to information (RTI) appears justifiably rational and perhaps, is applicable to the many, who keep asking questions or seeking information without doing their "homework".
According to the report, PMO desires that (a) information already available in the public domain need not be sought under RTI, (b) information should be sought from the ministries/departments concerned and (c) PMO should not be expected to collate information from different authorities/agencies and furnish it to the seeker.
Prima facie, the guidance does not appear to be aimed at avoiding responsibility or one coming out of stress. It is another matter that the refinements proposed may reduce the comfort level of some RTI "activists", who misguide their "clientele", giving an impression that RTI is a shortcut for solving every problem in which the government or any other body covered under RTI has a role.
Just as Question Hour in legislatures can be time well spent on discussion of public and governance issues - leading to fresh ideas and acceptable solutions - if legislators do the minimum homework before raising questions or giving responses and further discussions are well informed,RTI also can become a tool for digging out "hidden" information that helps resolve day-to-day problems of citizens. The guidance from PMO needs to be seen in this perspective.