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SCOPE hosts workshop on RTI Act for Public Sector Enterprises in Shillong

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Shillong, March 1: Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE), an apex body of Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) on Friday organised a workshop on ‘Right to Information Act’ at Hotel Vivanta, Shillong.

The workshop or the National Meet on RTI Act is a two day event which will conclude on Saturday. It is being attended by 80 participants from different places.

During the first day, prominent personalities like former Information Commissioner, CIC, prof MM Ansari and chief guest of the event, State Chief Information Commissioner Meghalaya (SIC) H Nongpluh were present.

Director of HAL, Atasi Baran Pradhan, Programme Director & Facilitator, OP Khorwal were also part of the event.

The Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) (Retd) IAS Heeralal Samariya is expected to interact with the participants on the Saturday during the last day of the event.

Nongpluh is a retired IPS officer joined CIC in November 2021. Based on his experience, Nongpluh said that RTI is such a small Act, but such programs have to be organised every now and then. “The reason behind this is, I think that there are two conflicting interests. One is the interest of the common man that people want information. Another one is the interest of the department, interest of the Public Information Officers (PIOs) to not give information,” said Nongpluh while interacting with the participants.

Urging the PIOs to change their mindset, hensaid that the PIO can lessen this this conflicting interest between the information seeker and the information giver. He said that in his experience he has seen that it’s the mindset of the PIO from whatever cases that come to them, the moment they read the RTI application, their idea is to find where the exemption is so that they will not give the information.

“Whenever I used to tell them that mindset should be first- What can I give, not what I cannot give. So when you approach in that direction, then everything will get settled,” said Nongpluh.

The officer also suggested the First Appellate Authority to distance itself from the RTI application. He suggested that the first appellate can give advice, but not to get involved too much because they (First Appellate) are the next level of appeal.

“Because generally what we have seen is that very few first appellate authority will overrule the PIO. Because they have already discussed and have already talked. It’s a joint decision actually. But this is not the idea behind the RTI Act,” mentioned Nongpluh.

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