Fourteen years since the implementation of Right to Information (RTI) Act, Rajasthan has launched “Jan Soochna Portal” (public information portal) to increase transparency and accountability in governance.

What does the portal cover?
The portal details various schemes run by 13 government departments — the employment guarantee programme, sanitation, the public distribution system among others, by not only explaining the schemes but also providing real time information on beneficiaries, authorities in charge, progress, etc. This is a laudable effort by the State government which is worthy of emulation by other States.

Step in the direction of voluntary disclosures
The portal is implementation of provisions of Section 4(2) of RTI Act. This section requires public authorities to publish information pro-actively. As a one-shot portal for public information on government programmes, the JSP, therefore, can advance the objective of transparency. The challenge would be to ensure that the information flow remains unhampered over time. Besides this, it is important to educate the public about the use of data on the portal. While digital connectivity and literacy have increased over time, these have not adequately translated into digital knowledge of public affairs.

Source: The Hindu