Friday, April 16, 2010

Maharashtra schools may have to give information on demand

Soon, Maharashtra schools may have to give information on demand

Ashutosh Shukla / DNA Friday, April 16, 2010 1:45 IST

Mumbai: Want information from your kid’s school and frustrated with the stonewalling tactics of the school administration? Well, help may be round the corner.

The state’s information commission has asked the education department to direct all aided schools — there are 1,300 — to keep all information related to their functioning handy.

Schools have to produce this information on demand from parents. All details have to be with the school head or the public information officer, according to the recommendations of Suresh Joshi, Maharashtra’s chief information commissioner, to the state government.

“What happens is that either the trust sends the parent to the school saying they don’t have the information or vice-versa,” said Joshi. “Ultimately the parent does not get any information.”

A few months ago, Joshi had instructed colleges to do the same. The schools will also have to make public information about the public information officer, and the first appellate authority.

This is one of the several recommendations made by the commission to the state government in its annual report for the calendar year 2009. It was submitted on Thursday.

Most of the other recommendations, however, are repetitions, except for the one asking the chief secretary to appoint officers to keep a tab on penalty deducted from the erring employees’ salary. Emphasis on section 4 (voluntary disclosure by public authority) featured amongst the prominent ones followed by the appointment of senior officers as the first appellate authority.

Overall, the implementation of the Right to Information Act (RTI) shows significant improvement. Pendency is down by 3,000 to 13,000.

“We can now safely say that pendency in Mumbai, Konkan and Nagpur regions can be taken up within two months,” said Joshi. The state received 4.40 lakh applications in 2009 as compared to 4.16 lakh in 2008 and 3.16 lakh in 2007. Of the total 36 departments, the top 10 accounted for 82% of applications.

“The forest department has moved to the seventh position from 10th. The irrigation department has made an entry, which shows that tribals are using the act in a big way,” said Joshi.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation alone got 59,018 applications, approximately 60% of pleas received by all 22 corporations. There was also a jump in the amount recovered as penalty from information officers.

Though the total fine amount slumped in 2009 to Rs26.56 lakh (collected from 347 officers) as compared to Rs34 lakh in 2009 (from 256 officers), in Mumbai, the fine amount increased. The city saw collection increase to Rs3.74 lakh with 58 officers being fined as compared to Rs2.4 lakh a year before.

The percentage of total applications moving up to the FAA and commission remained constant. Of total applications, 10% — 43,848 — went for first appeal and of those 50% —18,205— at the second appeal.

The year’s disposal rate at the second appellate authority improved considerably with a jump of 9,000. Complaints, however, jumped by 1,000. “These would not really speak of any trend because people file complaints for various reasons,” added Joshi.


1 comment:

  1. What is all the more pleasant is the fact that a striking number of girls when compared with boys are not only appearing but also passing with flying colors.

    Maharashtra Schools


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The RTI Act was passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) on 11 May 2005, by the Raj Sabha (Upper House) on 12 May 2005 and received Presidential assent on 15 June 2005. Parts of the Act came into force upon Presidential assent, but the Act came fully into force on 12 October 2005, 120 days after Presidential assent.

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