Central Railway e-plan puts RTI applications on fast track

Central Railway (CR) is planning to use information technology to ensure quicker disposal of RTI queries and make the process more transparent.

During 2011-12, CR dealt with 8,147 RTI applications, 1,344 first appeals and 175 second appeals. Twenty-seven public information officers (PIOs) deal with information requests filed across five divisions. “An application may be filed in Mumbai, but the information may have to be collected from another division or a workshop within the city,” a senior CR official said.

“We used to send the application by post and this caused delays. Moreover, we would have to make photocopies of the application for our record before dispatching the request. The entire process was tedious,” he added. Under the new system it is easy to track RTI queries. “After a request for information is received it is scanned, assigned a unique number and uploaded on the intranet. PIOs can access the applications online and collate data from relevant sources,” said an official.

“Every RTI application is forwarded to all 27 PIOs and is tracked online. This has reduced paperwork,” said VA Malegaonkar, chief public relations officer of CR.

“Employees dealing with RTI queries were trained at Indian Institute of Public Administration in Bengaluru. We will have an in-house magazine ‘Prabhodini’ dedicated to issues related to RTI,” Malegaonkar added.

HOW IT WORKS

• After an RTI query is received it is scanned and assigned a unique number and uploaded on the CR intranet

• PIOs access the applications online and collate data from relevant sources

• Every RTI application is forwarded to all 27 PIOs and is tracked online. The initiative has improved scrutiny and reduced paperwork, claim CR officials.

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