RTI Training Summit Held Virtually

January 2, 2024

Mohmmad Idrees

The RTI Training Summit, themed “Empowerment Through Information,” was held virtually on Sunday. The summit was a resounding success, drawing participation from 82 individuals across diverse sectors. The event, conducted on the Zoom platform, attracted RTI Activists, Government Officials, Academicians, and General Public members from Jammu & Kashmir and various parts of India.

Distinguished as the 17th event organized by J&K RTI Foundation, this summit witnessed the esteemed presence of Pankti Jog, the Executive Secretary of Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP), a Gujarat-based group. Pankti Jog’s expertise as the event’s key trainer and resource person enriched the session with profound insights into the dynamics of the Right to Information Act 2005.

Among the notable participants were Sajad Hussain, Akhtar Hussain, Arif Ismael, Sheikh Maqbool, Haq Nawaz Nehru, Rabiya, Karar Reshi, Syed Farhat, Mohammad Idrees, Shakeel ur Rasool, Momin Hussain, Journalist Isfaq Majeed, and Er. Aquib Bashir.

Chief Executive Officer of the J&K RTI Foundation Er. Irfan Banka, commenced the event by highlighting pertinent issues, notably the delay in RTI replies by Public Information Officers (PIOs) beyond the mandated 30 days and delay in Second Appeal hearings. Stressing the need for collective efforts among RTI Activists, he underscored the structural governance challenges prevalent in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pankti Jog’s illuminating presentation emphasized the RTI Act’s paramount importance in today’s democratic framework. She highlighted its pervasive use by citizens, journalists, and investigators, unveiling information previously shrouded in official secrecy.

The interactive session featured an engaging Q&A segment where Pankti Jog adeptly addressed participant queries. Subsequently, practical queries were moderated by Sheikh Maqbool, fostering discussions among esteemed RTI Activists, including Haq Nawaz Nehru, Sajad Hussain, and Syed Farhat.

Akhtar Hussain, the district coordinator of J&K RTI Foundation for Kupwara District, delivered the summit’s key takeaways. His focus on the challenges in retaining records post-floods underscored the crucial need for adherence to record retention rules.

The summit culminated with an encouraging message, advocating sustained utilization of the RTI Act and affirming its significant positive impact. Pankti Jog reiterated the importance of synergizing RTI with complementary laws like the Public Service Guarantee Act and Anti-Corruption Laws, advocating a holistic approach toward transparency and accountability.

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