iPleaders and onlineRTI are two organizations which are committed to working towards accessible justice and transparency, making a difference in their own gentle way. OnlineRTI is a web portal through which you can file RTIs. iPleaders is working towards making justice more accessible through legal education. This is an opportunity for you to do your bit for bringing more transparency in governance in our beloved country.
In the Indian Transparency Competition, 2017, which is open to anyone including lawyers, law students, RTI activists and all citizens, you have to file an RTI with a government department of your choice. The RTI can be about any issue you are passionate about. After getting the response from the department, a 1500 word article needs to be written about the response you have received, analyzing or explaining the data you have received. The article will be published in your name. On the basis of the article, RTI application and response received, and the impact of the same the winner will get a prize worth INR 15,000.
Further, iPleaders is providing free access to their RTI course (otherwise paid), upon entering the competition. The course has been made by experts with prior hands-on experience in the field. Upon completion of the course, a certificate will be provided to the student. Once you register you can request for a free access to the course by getting a discount code that makes to course free for you. This code will be given to you by Online RTI.com team.
Why should you participate?
The competition enables you to get a first hand experience about dealing with government departments. This is an invaluable skill, irrespective of the professional field you belong to. Adding to that, the choice of the subject, questions and even the department is entirely up to the participant, hence, you can choose any subject you are passionate about.
Apart from that, the knowledge attained by studying the responses can be used at many places, including any academic projects or research papers. The government holds a lot of information, which can be released through RTIs, if only the right questions are asked.
When the common man talks or writes of making a difference in the system, lack of transparency, corruption and so on, that’s where it ends; it ends with the conversation or blog. Everyone wants change, but no one has the patience to work for it. This is a golden chance to change that, and the best part is, this can be done from the comfort of your home!
If that isn’t incentive enough, there are prizes worth INR 30,000 to be won!
Basics of writing an effective RTI
- Firstly, the applicant should be aware of the topic. DO some prelimiary research. See some good RTI questionnaires. This helps in forming accurate questions. Vague or incomprehensible questions receive vague and incomprehensible answers.
- Research should be done on the current status of the issue, who are all the stakeholders, problems faced by the public till now, etc.
- Identify the Public Information Officer (PIO)
- What is the data you are expecting to see in the answer and how that data is recorded or maintained
- More information can be found by enrolling in the RTI course by iPleaders
Example of an RTI
Subject: Information regarding the 29th Battalion, Border Security Force (BSF)
Public Information Officer (CPIO): Brig AK Tyagi
DG RTI & CPIO
Room No G-6, D-I Wing, Sena Bhawan
IHQ of MoD (Army), PO – DHQ
- Record of disciplinary action taken against soldiers of the 29th Battalion in the past three months.
- Reasons for action to be taken.
- Statement of the soldier, if applicable.
- Final decision taken
- Please give details about the meals provided to the soldiers positioned at the border?
- What food items are provided to the soldiers, and at what time?
- What are the nutritional constituents of the same?
- What are the medical reasons, if any, for the contents of the meals? Are any dietary experts consulted before deciding the menu of food for jawans?
- How much food rations are sent to the border areas for the soldiers of the 29th Battalion by the government every month? Please provide official records of the same as available.
- Is there officer in charge of ensuring that dietery requirements of jawans are fulfilled? WHat processes have been put in place to prevent theft, pileferage or loss of ration?
What should the article contain?
- A rough background on the topic
- A social, political, and legal background, with an emphasis on the applicable laws, statutes and cases.
- What was the purpose for the RTI to be filed, what would it achieve and so on.
- Should include the questions asked and why such questions were asked
- The entire data/information received or not received
- An analysis of the response given by the respective department
- The response should be attached.
Where do you register?
Visit https://onlinerti.com/competition to register for the competition and get more details.
iPleaders course on RTI – How to use Right To Information like an Expert
Contact person – Mili Mishra – firstname.lastname@example.org
Who can participate: Any citizen of India.
Prizes to be won
- Winner – INR 15,000
- 1st runners up – INR 10,000
- 2nd runners up – INR 5,000
Important dates for the competition
- Last Date for sending RTI entries: 28th February, 2017 (Every participant can send more than one RTI entry)
- Last Date for sending RTI responses: 15th April 2017
- Last Date for submitting article: 10th May 2017
- Result Announcement: 15th May 2017