Right to Information
Now pay RTI fees online for 2,496 Central govt offices

A six year tenacious battle by Delhi-based RTI activist Commodore (retd) Lokesh Batra has resulted in the government facilitating eIPO for payment of RTI fees in 2,496 central government offices

Since 22 March 2013, only Indians abroad had the facility of paying Right to Information (RTI) fee online, for their e-RTI applications. Since 13 February 2014, all of us living in India too can use online RTI by paying the fee through electronic Indian Postal Order (eIPO) in 2,496 central government’s public authorities. As for public authorities of state governments, you can pay your RTI fees online but you need to take out a print-out of the eIPO and attach it to your RTI application.


According to RTI activist Commodore (retd) Lokesh Batra, who single-handedly has pursued this campaign since the last six years, there is much enthusiasm for the eIPO facility, but a mass public awareness needs to be created through media and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the field of RTI.


The eIPO facility is important in terms of national savings too. As per a costing exercise undertaken in 2011-2012, the operational cost of a postal order is Rs37.45.  This information came as a response to an RTI filed by an activist to the Department of Posts on 18 October 2013. An eIPO now comes virtually free, besides relieving citizens of the inconvenience of standing in long queues at Post Offices to procure an IPO.


In order to purchase the eIPO online, go to the e-Post Office Portal https://www.epostoffice.gov.in or India Post web-site www.indiapost.gov.in. A link for e-Post Office has been provided to create his/ her profile for the first time. Both Debit and Credit cards of any Bank powered by Visa/ Master can be used.


The Department of Posts, which has created this facility, spells out the following salient features of eIPO:     

  • The eIPO facility is extended to Indian Citizens living in India

  • Indian Postal Order can be purchased online in electronic form termed as ‘electronic  Indian Postal Order(eIPO)

    All the requirements for filing an RTI application as well as other provisions regarding eligibility, time limit, exemptions etc., as provided in the RTI Act, 2005 will continue to apply

  • The applicant will have to get himself/herself registered at ePost office portal of India Post i.e. https://www.epostoffice.gov.in or through India Post web site www.indiapost.gov.in (where a link for ePostoffice has been provided) to avail this facility to pay RTI fee. Email ID, Mobile number, address, date of birth and gender etc. will be captured at the time of registration.

  • For the process of registration as at (iv) above, email id and mobile number are mandatory. The codes for verification would be sent by the system on email id as well as mobile number provided while registering

  • The applicant has to select the Ministry/Department from whom he/she desires to seek the information under the RTI Act and the eIPO so generated can be used to seek information from that Ministry/Department only

  • Payment of RTI fee can be made using Debit card or Credit card of any Bank powered by VISA/Master

  • The eIPO service will be available at the web address www.epostoffice.gov.in It can also be accessed through the link given on India Post website www.indiapost.gov.in
  •  A unique number for each transaction would be generated by the system which is to be used as eIPO number

  • A printout of the eIPO is required to be attached with the RTI application. If the RTI application is being filed electronically, eIPO is required to be attached as an attachment

Calling this as true participatory governance, Cmde Batra says the government responded positively to suggestions made by a citizen. So, what did it take to make eIPO, a reality? Following is the chronology of Cmde Batra’s campaign, to whom, all Indians in India and abroad need to thank.

  • It all started in October 2008 when Cmde Batra was visiting his daughter in Boston (USA) and wanted to file follow up RTI in the Nithari case but could not do as there was no facility for payment of RTI fee/cost from abroad

  • Between 2008 to 2013, Cmde Batra filed 150 RTI applications to Indian Mission in the US, Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Secretariats of President and Vice President and Leaders of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. A complaint was also filed in Central Information Commission (CIC).

  • 16 August 2010: Secretary or DoPT addressed two identical letters to the than Secretary (Post) and the than Foreign Secretary seeking solution

  • 6 September 2010: Secretary (Post) offered solution through their Virtual Post Office

  • 22 March 2013: Electronic Indian Postal Order (e-IPO) launched for Indian Citizens’  Abroad"  After protracted efforts/deliberations within Government and RBI and Activists the Department of Posts (DOP) came out with service of Electronic Indian Postal Order more known as e-IPO. This is a facility for ‘Indian Citizens’ abroad’ to be able to purchase Indian Postal Order electronically by paying RTI Fee on-line through e-Post Office Portal of the DOP.

  • 7 October 2013:On his proposal to Secretaries of MEA, DoPT and Department of Posts (DOP), the above e-IPO facility was extended on 7 October 2013 for “Indian Citizens’ abroad “ to include all 176 Indian Missions abroad in the above list making it to total 2,492. Central Public Authorities including Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) and union territories (UTs).

  • 22 October 2013: Cmde Batra sent a proposal to the secretaries of DoPT and DOP to “open the existing e-IPO facilities for our citizens’ living in India too”, for payment of RTI fee / cost consisting of 2,492 central public authorities, including 176 Indian Missions abroad, GNCTD and UTs).Polite Reminders were sent on 24 December 2013 and again on 2 January 2014.

  • 8 January 2014: The DOP sent confirmation to DoPT about acceptance of the proposal and DOP’s approval to now “Open existing e-IPO facility for our ‘Citizens’ living in India”

  • 9 January 2014: In response, DoPT welcomed the DOP’s acceptance

  • Launching : 13 February 2013 at 11AM : At Dak Bhawan

Earlier stories in Moneylife:

Now, Indian citizens abroad can pay RTI fees through eIPO

2013 wakes up to online payment of RTI applications for Indians abroad

The story of filing online RTI is only getting happier

(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)



Arun Gupta

2 years ago

I want to submit RTI to HUDA (Haryana), can I use e-ipo for this? If so what is the ministry or department I need to select while filling information for e-IPO?

Jerin Chacko

3 years ago

Dear Ms Deshmukh,

Thehttp://www.rtionline.in was accepting electronic payments by credit card/debit card previously too. I have submitted two RTI applications and paid the fee with a credit card. I hope you will make the necessary corrections.


Jerin Chacko

In Reply to Jerin Chacko 3 years ago

Just to clarify: the website is http://www.rtionline.gov.in .

Lokesh Batra

In Reply to Jerin Chacko 3 years ago

As we are aware; Indian Postal Order (IPO)is accepted mode of payment of RTI fee & cost under Central RTI Rules. IPO can be purchased from a Post Offices during postal working hours.

The Electronic Indian Postal Order more known as eIPO can be purchased online 24x7 for any amount as required for payment of RTI fee and information cost as applicable.

eIPO was launched on 22 March 2013 exclusively for 'Indian Citizens' abroad' which is now extended to Indian Citizens' living in India too. The eIPO can be purched for 2496 Central Public Authorities including NCT Delhi and UTs. (At present e-IPO facility is not available for Public Authorities of State Governments.)

The RTI Web Portal for online filing of RTI applications was launched by DoPT on 22 April 2013 to cover only DoPT.

This RTI web portal was later extended in steps till August 2013 to cover about 90 Cenral Ministries and Departments of the Government of India.

This is the present status of RTI web Portal of DoPT.

Ram Vilas Gupta

3 years ago

Very very useful facility for every Indian citizen

Nalin Patel

3 years ago


New bank licence: Who will be in RBI’s interim list?

Chances are that RBI may announce the list of seven successful applicants, four from the private sector and three from the government-owned companies

According to the press reports, the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is scheduled to meet in New Delhi on 7th March, for the post-budget discussions, where finance minister P Chidambaram will address the meeting. It is unlikely that the Bimal Jalan Panel's recommendations on the new bank licence will be taken up in this meeting, though, on the sidelines, it is likely to be discussed, off the record!


It may be recalled that the Bank of India hosted Indian Bank's Association (IBA)’s annual banking conference (BANCON), in November 2013, when Chidambaram is reported to have suggested that RBI should not issue new banking licences to entities that clone the existing banks!


"In January 2014 new banking licenses will be issued and I wish it would be given to banks with innovative or different models of banking. We need different kinds of banks to cater to different segments in our country. And I would regret if 'clone' banks are given new licences," the finance minister had said.


Chidambaram was emphatic in saying "we need banks which cater to communities, to people living in tribal areas, a different bank to cater to North East, to cater to urban poor, farmer families and cater to woman". Already, the first major break-through occurred with the establishment of Bharatiya Mahila Bank recently.


The first challenge for Indian banks is to become truly universal so that everyone in the country has access to banking services. Calling bankers to focus on reality of India, Chidambaram had said the quality of service and innovative products are being used to serve small number of customers from big cities. "At the same time majority of the population do not have access to banking system. Access to banking is denied to those living in rural areas and only small percentage is able to use banking services," he had said.


The finance minister said, "For most of the people from rural areas, it is either bank or moneylender; there is no other source of funding. Almost 70% of rural population have access to just 9% of the total credit provided by banks in India. This needs to be changed. Banks must cater to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and small and individual borrowers from rural areas,


To recapitulate, in 1969, fourteen large banks in the country were nationalised followed by six more in 1980. Subsequently, RBI gave licences to 12 private banks, in two phases, including conversion of a cooperative bank into a commercial bank. In the second phase, licences were issued to Yes Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank way back in 2004. So, it is exactly a decade now, the RBI will be embarking on issuing additional licences in the banking sector, as the volume has grown to an estimated Rs80 lakh crore, and is still growing!


The initial press report indicates that the Bimal Jalan Panel has submitted its findings and it has made its recommendations to the RBI. No names have been given as the selection and announcement will be made by the RBI in due course.


It appears that there are a few serious contenders from government-owned organizations, such as IDFC, IFCI, LIC Housing Finance, Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification and India Post. All of them have extensive "financial" experience, not necessarily in the manner expected of a bank in the commercial sense, as we know them. But, there is abundant financially experienced bank talent available in the country who could be employed, should they be offered a banking licence! Also, once the licence is approved in the favour of the applicant, it would naturally follow that they would have to go through the standard formalities and establish the institutions, starting, perhaps, with the name and so on.


In the corporate field, there are a few applicants Reliance Capital, Aditya Birla Nuvo, Shriram Capital, Bajaj Finserv and L&T Finance.


In the writer's opinion, chances are that RBI may announce the list of seven successful applicants, four from the private sector and three from the government-owned companies. Taking into mind the specific reference that Chidambaram made in November, chances of Bandhan Financial Services Pvt Ltd, which is the only one presently operating extensively in the North East, are high. It may be a sure winner in the first lot! Other strong contenders who may go through the first list could be from Aditya Birla Nuvo, Reliance Capital, L&T Finance, IDFC/IFCI, LIC Housing Finance and Power Finance Corporation/Rural Electrification. Most of these companies have sufficient resources and experience at their disposal.


In so far as foreign banks are concerned, they would still be able to enter the Indian banking sector, as the RBI has permitted wholly owned subsidiary of foreign banks to acquire domestic private sector banks as well as set up branches anywhere in the country. RBI framework stipulates that the initial minimum paid up voting equity capital for a wholly owned subsidiary would be Rs500 crore for new entrants. So, foreign banks, such as Standard Chartered, Citibank and HSBC have an opportunity to play much bigger roles in India; they could even "acquire" small private banks in the above fashion.


The Indian economy is growing bigger by the day and expeditious issue of new banking licences would help to set up these institutions; the RBI must ensure that the new licensees are obliged to take care of rural requirements and be available to serve people in small towns and villages.


(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)



Gopalakrishnan T V

3 years ago

Chances are that Corporates linked applicants like Reliance Capital L&T Finance, Birla Finance,and Bajaj capital may not be given license as they may repeat the performance as Obtained pre nationalisation period of 1969.IDFC, IFCI, LIC Housing Finance, Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification and India Post stand a very good chance from the angle spreading banking extensively in the country as Financial Inclusion is the need of the hour to support and justify inclusive growth.Bandhan Financial Services Pvt Ltd may get a license to strenghten the north easter Region which is also becoming politically a sensitive area. Prudence demands that applicants having industrail interest should be debarred even from applying for a bank license. It is neiither good for the bankng industry nor for the economy.

Dr Anantha K Ramdas

3 years ago

Sir: I believe everyone had to submit the application on or before 1st july 2013; so I have no idea if anything was done specially for Reliance. Anyway with pots of money, why do they need to go through this?

Surely, if Reliance really wanted to "own" and operate a bank, there are a few small and successful banks in operation in the country that they can buy out in the openn market or even negotiate directly. Some of the "reserve" - I mean free cash reserves - are not more than a couple of billion dollars. Reliance can afford to buy them out, if they really want a piece of the action.

Assuming what you say is correct, let them get a licence in due course, and then we can see how fairly they operate?

Can you recall how the Central Bank of India - a 100 year+ old bank came with public issue with a great premium and all the "information" they gave? What is happening to this bank? Even when they celebrated their centenary, they dint give a specdial dividend or even a bonus!

We were taken for a long ride...

Reliance would atleast give good dividends and take care of its shareholders.

R Balakrishnan

3 years ago

Interesting to see if Reliance (Adag) will get it now. Though the gossip is that the window was opened simply to grant them a license.

Sensex, Nifty continues trending higher: Wednesday closing report

Nifty may correct only if it closes below 6,200


In Tuesday’s closing report we had mentioned Sensex and Nifty may be volatile and directionless for a day or two. Ignoring the weak data from the US, the Indian market opened Wednesday higher and managed to move further throughout the session before closing at the highest level since 24 January 2014. The bourses witnessed high volatility today on account of the February 2014 F&O contract expiry.


The BSE 30-share Sensex opened at 20,870 and hit a low at 20,860 while the NSE Nifty opened at 6,202. After hitting a low almost at same level, both Sensex and Nifty moved higher to hit a high at 21,005 and 6,246, respectively. The Sensex closed at 20,987 (up 135 points or 0.65%) while the Nifty closed at 6,239 (up 39 points or 0.62%). The NSE recorded a volume of 63.26 crore shares. The stock market remains closed Thursday on account of Mahashivratri. The government will unveil data on gross domestic product (GDP) for Q3 December 2013 on Friday.


The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Tuesday proposed in a discussion paper that appointment of an agency to monitor the utilization of funds raised through an initial public offering (IPO) should be made mandatory. Currently, such an appointment is compulsory only if the public issue size exceeds Rs500 crore. SEBI said the move is aimed at strengthening the monitoring of utilisation of all the equity capital raised by selling shares to the public. Among other points, SEBI proposed to make it mandatory for the monitoring agency to assign grades to the issuer so as to curb misuse of money raised through a public issue. SEBI has sought public comments on the proposals till 25 March 2014.


On the political front, eleven regional parties formed an alliance on Tuesday to contest general elections, presenting themselves as an alternative to the ruling Congress party and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. Prakash Karat, a leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which is part of the new coalition, said the partnership was forged in an effort to keep the country's two major national parties out of power. A report by Moody's analytical arm says that though downside risks to the economy have receded in recent months, it is likely that the growth engine will continue to sputter until 2015 even if "business-friendly" Narendra Modi becomes prime minister.


US indices closed marginally lower on Tuesday. US home prices ticked down 0.1% in December, declining for a second month, with 11 of 20 tracked cities posting drops, according to S&P/Case-Shiller's composite index. After seasonal adjustments, home prices in December rose 0.8%, down a bit from 0.9% in November. The consumer confidence index fell to 78.1 in February from 79.4 in January, the Conference Board said Tuesday. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will testify for the US Senate on monetary policy on Thursday.


Among the Asian indices, five closed in the green while four closed in the red. Hang Seng (0.54%) was the top gainer while Jakarta Composite (0.97%) was the top loser. European indices were trading lower while US Futures were trading marginally higher.


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