[Answered] “While digital connectivity and literacy have increased over time, these have not adequately translated into digital knowledge of public affairs.” In light of this discuss the need of a public information portal.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Need and significance of public information portal.
Conclusion. Way forward.

The State Government of Rajasthan has recently launched the first-ever public information portal named “Jan Soochna Portal-2019”. Similarly India needs a public information portal to provide information to the public about government authorities and departments empowering them with access to useful information.

Need of public information portal:

  1. The digital divide is a serious problem in India. To bridge this gap, all relevant public information should be made available platform free of cost.
  2. Although, there has been a rapid release of public information on various government-run websites, this information has often been parcelled, dispersed and difficult to parse (comprehend).
  3. The focus has been more on showcasing data and records rather than releasing structured information. This makes it difficult for the citizenry to get desired information.
  4. A tremendous amount of information is available on the files of the government, which till date could only be accessed through the filing of RTI applications. However, with the use of technology and digitisation of records and information, this information is need to be made freely available to citizens.
  5. Public information portal is needed in accordance with the true spirit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
  6. It is Important to ensure compliance with Section 4(2) of the RTI Act that mandates the public authorities to proactively disclose information in the public domain.

Benefits of a public information portal:

  1. Information of about government departments on a single platform would make services better and more efficient.
  2. Information related to the availability of food grains & ration shops, implementation of schemes and their beneficiaries, land records and social security pensions, inter alia on a real-time basis can lead to good governance.
  3. It s needed to ensure that the responsibilities are carried out smoothly.
  4. Grievance redressal need to be streamlined, so that citizens can keep a check upon the accountability aspect of the national government.
  5. Centralisation of information as a one-shot portal for public information on government programmes can advance the objective of transparency.
  6. The access points of information that are open and free, would be a step towards good governance.

RTI Act was enacted in 2005 with the aim to secure the citizens’ access to information which is under the control of public authorities. It is important to create a public information portal that would voluntarily provide all the information at a single platform to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority.

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