The Indira Gandhi National Open University’s (IGNOU’s) StaffTraining and Research Institute of Distance Education (STRIDE) conducted a one day workshop on Right To Information (RTI) Act for Public Information Officers (PIO’s) to develop awareness and skills of all the officers of the university at its headquarters in the capital.
The objectives of this workshop were to expose the participants with the RTI Act, its various provisions, provide skills to handle the RTI queries keeping in view the provisions of the act.
Prof. M. Aslam, the Acting Vice Chancellor, IGNOU, emphasized upon the attitudinal change as well as the quality of information that needs to be given keeping in mind the RTI Act. “At no cost we should violate our statutes. Unless we do that we won’t be integrated. Our image depends upon what type of answers we give. Every RTI application needs to be answered,” he said.
Neemo Dhar, Advisor Public Relations and spokesperson of DDA chaired the session and gave an overview of the act, how can it be implemented and leveraged. “After Official Secrets Act in the year 2002 we had freedom of information but not right. After the implementation of the RTI Act, we have the right to information. This Act promotes accountability and transparency. The pubic must develop the habit of asking questions to increase the accountability and relevance of this Act,” she said.
The session was also chaired by the Registrar of the university, U. S. Tolia, who discussed the various aspects of the Act along with some myths associated with it. “As a PIO, we must not create any information but apprise the public with what has already happened. Information means any material in any form, viz, records, documents, memos, emails, opinions, advice, press release, circular, orders, contacts, log books, reports, papers, samples, models, etc.,” he said.
Other dignitaries present on the dais were Dr. T.R. Srinivasan, Joint Director, Regional Services Division, IGNOU, R. Thyagrajan, Head, Administration and Finance, Commonwealth Educational Media Center for Asia (CEMCA), R. Sivraj, Academic Coordination Division (ACD), IGNOU.