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State Level RTI: Odisha

Background

Until recently, Odisha did not have a comprehensive access to information law. However, there has been an active civil society campaign advocating for right to information legislation in the state since 2001. A group of activists and lawyers, working with Project Swarajya prepared a citizen's draft Freedom of Information Bill in July 2001. The citizen's draft Bill was based on a comparative study of the then existing right to information laws in India. The citizen's draft Bill was sent to the Chief Minister of Odisha on 15 October 2001. The Chief Minister referred the citizen's draft Bill to the Secretary of the Department of Information and Public Relations for action.

On 18 and 19 December 2001, CHRI and the Center for Youth and Social Development (CYSD) Bhubaneswar jointly organized a state level consultation to discuss the citizen's draft Bill. During the consultation, amendments were suggested, which were incorporated in the amended citizen's Right to Information Bill 2002. On 5 May 2002 the amended citizen's draft Bill was finalised and sent to the Government and other civil society groups working on right to information in Odisha.

On 10 and 11 June 2002, CARE Odisha in association with the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) conducted a public consultation. During the consultation programme, the Secretary of DIPR presented the Government of Odisha's draft Right to Information Bill 2002. On 13 July 2002, Basundhara, a civil society group, organised a workshop to discuss the Government's draft Bill and sent their recommendations to the Government.

To date, the Government has failed to table their draft Bill in the Assembly for consideration. Shri Chitta Ranjan Behera, a social activist working in Odisha, has noted that there are a number of legal instruments, which provide access to information in the State. For example, the Odisha Records Manual 1964, the Odisha Secretariat Instructions 1961, the Rules of the High Court of Odisha 1948 and the Odisha Nizarat Manual 1962 all allow access to information. Furthermore, the Panchayati Raj Department has issued a number of Executive Orders to ensure transparency in the administration of Government. For example, on 28 July 1997, 8 August 1997 and on 21 May 1999 the Panchayati Raj Department issued Executive Orders to make information available to people on all developmental projects under taken by government departments as well as information pertaining to poverty alleviation programmes.

Law

In May 2005, the national Right to Information Act 2005 was passed by Parliament. The RTI Act 2005 received Presidential assent on 15 June and came fully into force on 12 October 2005. (For more information on the passage of the RTI Act 2005 and implementation at the national level, click here.) The RTI Act 2005 covers all Central, State and local government bodies and applies to the State Government of Odisha.

The Odisha Government has started implementing the RTI Act 2005. The Government has issued the Odisha Right to Information Rules 2005.

The Odisha Government issued the Odisha Right to Information (Amendment) Rules, 2006.

In 2010 CHRI submitted several recommendations for amending the Rules to bring them in tune with the letter and spirit of the RTI Act.

For a list of Public Information Officers and Appellate Authorities designated by the State Government, click here.

Details of Fee & Costs

Application

Rs 10

Mode of payment

Cash against receipt/treasury challan/Indian Postal Order/ Money Order in favor of the "Public Information Officer"
Additional fees: Cash against receipt/ Indian Postal Order/ Money Order in favor of the "Public Information Officer"
Appeal fees: Court fees stamp/Indian Postal Order/ Money Order in favor of the "Appellate Authority" or "State Information Commission"

Additional Fees:

A-3/A-4 paper created or copied

Rs 2 per page

Larger size paper

Actual price

Maps/ plans

Cost fixed by the PIO depending upon the cost of labour, material, equipment and other ancillary expenses

Video cassette/microfilm/microfiche

Reasonable cost fixed by the PIO depending upon the cost of labour, material, equipment and other ancillary expenses

Certified sample or models of material

Actual cost or price for sample or models

CD with cover

Rs 50

Floppy diskette (1.44 MB)

Rs 50

Inspection of records

First hour free and Rs 5 for every subsequent 15 minutes or a fraction thereof

Printed publication

fixed price

Appeal Fees:

First appeal to Appellate Authority

Rs 20

Second appeal to SIC

Rs 25

The rule 4 (1) (b) of the Odisha Right to Information (Amendment) Rules, 2006 mentions cash as the only mode of payment. However in order to increase convenience for the citizen the Hon'ble SCIC, Odisha has ordered to all the public information officers requiring to accept fee paid through Indian Postal Order or money order also. To access the order please click on this link http://orissasoochanacommission.nic.in/Important%20Case%20Decided.html.

Second Appeals and complaints against non-disclosure of information may be filed with the Odisha State Information Commission.

State Information Commission

S.N.

Name of Commissioner

Contact

1

Shri. Tarun Kanti Mishra
State Chief Information Commissioner

Odisha Soochna Commission,
Block B-1,Toshali Plaza
Satyanagar,
Bhubaneshwar-751007
Off: 0674 - 2539007
Fax: 0674 - 2535404
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://orissasoochnacommission.nic.in

2

Jagadananda
State Information Commissioner

 

3

Shri. P.K. Mohanty
State Information Commissioner

 

Newsupdates, Activities & Advocacy

  • Mr Chitta Behera works as a free lancer on governance reforms and the right to information. He is an advisor to the Odisha Campaign for Right to Information, conducted currently by the Odisha Right to Food Campaign.
    For further Information: Contact Mr Chitta Behera at 4A Jubilee Tower, Choudhury Bazar, Cuttack-753009, Odisha, Mobile: 91-9861-091-455, Tel: 91-671-2623518 (res.), Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
  • The State Government has received 56 applications seeking information from various departments under the RTI Act. Information has been sought from the General Administration Department, Revenue, School and Mass Education, Higher Education, Industries, Forest, Finance, Panchayati Raj and Urban Development departments. An information cell has been opened at the reception office of the State Secretariat to provide assistance to applicants seeking information from the Government.
  • From 28-29 July CHRI at the invitation of the Deogarh Pressure Group (DPG), a network of development NGOs in Deogarh district, and AWARD (Association for Women and Rural Development) conducted a two-day workshop on the RTI Act in the district of Deogarh. The workshop was organised for DPG representatives.
    For further information: Contact, P.C. Mallick, Secretary, AWARD, At/P.O. Jarabaga, District Sambalpur- 768228. Tel: 91-6642-226422.
  • On 30 July a meeting was held by CHRI AND Mr. Suchit Ranjan Singh of REALS, Bhubaneshwar with the members of Confederation of Voluntary Organisations (CVOs) at Sundargarh to discuss about the RTI Act. The Sundargarh Education Society (SES), on behalf of the Confederation of Voluntary Organisations (CVO), organized a district level Workshop on Right to Information for 2 days at Rural Building Centre of SEWAK on 16 & 17 September 2005. The participants included members of community-based organizations (CBOs), voluntary organizations (VOs), lawyers, retired civil servants and others. Facilitated by noted human rights activist and consultant Sri Chitta Behera, the workshop was primarily meant for capacity building of CVO members and other social activists.
    For further information: Contact, Mr. Janmejoy Patel, President, Sundargarh Education Society, At/PO-Mahesidhi, District Sundergarh-770001. Tel: 91-6622-273541, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • The Odisha Right to Food Campaign, is a network of civil society groups, actively promoting the right to information in the State. They have held a series of seminars, consultations and workshops at State, district and local levels with a view to ensure effective implementation of the RTI Act at the Central and State level.
    For further information: Contact, Pradeep Pradhan, State Convenor, Tel: 91-9337-330-804, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
  • Project Swarajya is an NGO, which works on various social and developmental issues. They were closely involved with developing the citizen's draft Bill in 2002 and have conducted workshops on RTI. Their website provides useful links on the topic.
    For further information: Contact Mrs.Dolli Dash, Secretary, Project Swarajya, Tel: 91-671-2621097, E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Website: www.projectswarajya.com
  • People's Cultural Center (PECUC) is a centre for People's Empowerment & Sustainable Development. It works to help people to develop and achieve their own potential. PECUC has been active in working on the right to information campaign in Odisha. They have collaborated in the organisation of a number of RTI workshops and are involved in awareness-raising and advocacy efforts.
    For further information: Contact PECUC at VII-H-26, Sailashree Vihar, Bhubaneswar-21, Odisha. Tel: 91-674-2740432. Fax: 91-674-2741845, E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Website: www.pecuc.org

Resources & Articles

Government

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Miscellaneous

Links

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