RTI Anonymous comes to the rescue of those afraid of being targeted for filing RTI applications

If one is afraid of being targeted after filing a RTI application, the online RTI Anonymous team is there to help you out. Nineteen year old Rajeshwar Boke from Maharashtra procured details of his educational scholarship amount with help from RTI Anonymous

Rajeshwar Boke is a 19 year old boy belonging to OBC (Other Backward Classes). He is presently studying in the second year in the Government Polytechnic College in Brahmapuri, a town in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra. Being an OBC, he is entitled to a central government scholarship for all the three years of the course. However, he has been receiving a partial amount of scholarship money since the last one year.

In January 2012, Rajeshwar decided to use the Right to Information (RTI) Act to find out the status of his scholarship but did not know how to go about it. He began surfing the Internet for help and stumbled upon RTI Anonymous—a free online service through which any Indian citizen can file RTI applications anonymously. He called up Ritesh Singh, one of the three founders of RTI Anonymous to know how to use the service. Mr Singh obliged. So, Rajeshnwar filed his RTI application to the college as well as to the social welfare department which disburses the scholarship money.



Says Rajeshwar, “My suspicion about whether I was getting the right amount or not, came when the college for the first time started the online form system for admission. While I was filling up the form I saw that the annual scholarship amount mentioned therein were Rs3,880 for the first year; Rs4,200 for the second year; and Rs6,700 for the third year. However, I had received only Rs1,500 for the first year.”

After filing the RTI application, Rajeshwar received a fake reply from his college and was rebuked for having invoked the RTI Act. Instead of addressing his question of how much is the scholarship amount for students and how much is he entitled to, the college gave him a document of some general rules of the college. He though did not relent.

Ritesh Singh advised him to file a first appeal with the department of social welfare. Recently, the department ordered the college to make the scholarship amount public. Accordingly, the college provided him the information free of charge, as directed by the appellate authority. Says Mr Singh, “Rajeshwar got all the desired information and found serious irregularities in the scholarship disbursal in his college because of which he wasn’t getting the full amount of his scholarship. He forced the authorities to correct the irregularities benefiting hundreds of poor students in his college.” Mr Singh says Rajeshwar was in an emotional turmoil while filing his RTI as he was afraid that the college might take revenge on him by giving him less marks in some subjects but nonetheless he decided to pursue and that has been his secret of success.

As per a news report in the New Indian Express wherein the newspaper invoked RTI, there are 2.1 lakh beneficiaries of central government scholarship to poor students in Karnataka and the amount involved is Rs10.58 crore. However, only 44% of the money has been disbursed.

There are complaints from hundreds of students in Uttar Pradesh (UP) who have not received scholarships or have received only partial amounts. The educational institutions, in which they study, do not bother to address these complaints. Hence, it is advisable that students in large numbers should file a RTI application. This will form a pressure group and steadily every educational institution will be compelled to give the appropriate money and the social welfare department will be forced to release the money which it sometimes does not.

What is RTI Anonymous?

RTI Anonymous is an online service, through which any Indian citizen can file Right to Information (RTI) applications anonymously. They DO NOT HAVE TO REVEAL THEIR IDENTITY. The RTI Anonymous community will file those RTI applications in their name and upload the documents obtained as a reply on this website. The original requester will get an email when this happens. The original requester just has to draft the RTI application as best as he/she can and the RTI Anonymous community will take care of the rest.

How Does RTI Anonymous Work

Step 1: So person A, who is based in say, Kanpur has a problem with a particular road in his locality and needs to file a RTI Request. He submits a request to RTI Anonymous, with the details of the Public Information officer and his set of questions.

Step 2: An expert in drafting RTI (in our case, for example, an ex-PIO and retired registrar from Bangalore or a RTI Activist in Pune) will draft the RTI. Few other experts in drafting RTIs based either in different parts of India or concerned NRIs from different parts of the world, review and draft the RTI.The RTI request is then moved to the Drafted RTI Request category. If the experts decide that the request is frivolous or does not need anonymity or just too vague and needs more information, then its moved to its appropriate category (Non RTI, Non-Anonymous RTI or unclear RTI category).

Step 3:  Once drafted, a concerned citizen from say, Chennai takes a printout of this drafted RTI and puts in the IPO for the required amount and speed posts it.He then updates the website with the speed post number.

The RTI Request is now moved to the Filed RTIs category.

Step 4: Once the Chennai guy receives the reply, he just takes a picture of the documents received with his cell phone or digital camera, uploads its to his PC and then to the website. At times, he just does a normal post to one of the RTI Anonymous’s core team member and they would then upload these documents to the website.

Step 5:  Once uploaded, the original requestor (from Kanpur or wherever) gets an automated email and he can then download the documents that he had recieved.

Also any public interest litigation (PIL) lawyers or journalists/reporters can also download these documents from this website.

Remember:

  • The RTI is filed by a guy from say, Chennai
  •  Drafted in say,  Pune  or London
  •  Reviewed in USA/Sweden/Hisar-Haryana, etc.
  •  And the original request is to some government office in say Kanpur
  •  And the government documents are uploaded to a website by either the guy who filed or RTI-A  team member

All done by REAL PEOPLE with REAL ADDRESSES

(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife. She is also 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. She can be reached at [email protected])
 

  • Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

    User

    COMMENTS

    Shanti Patel

    7 years ago

    Very good article which will help large number of people to resort to RTI, which
    otherwise may not because of fear counter attack.

    We must thankful to VINITA for her work

    C.A. S.K.PATEL
    Chartered Accountant

    arjun

    8 years ago

    wow! this is excellent info! ...

    however , could you please state a few simple points .. for example , Ive just heard about the RTI act and all i know is that I reserve the right to question the government if i want to regarding ... but I dont really know/understand the extent of the act ... where can I use it? or for what purpose?

    If you could provide a few simple situations where I could use RTI ......

    Thank you :)

    chandru sharma

    8 years ago

    i have always been worried about this aspect of RTI. what happens to the person whose identity is known to the concerned dept. this method of anonymous filing is a great relief and i am sure people like me will take advantage of this. slowly we will develop the courage to file without any hesitation on any issue directly. i sincerely thank ms vinita for her efforts.

    Dr P NRao

    8 years ago

    Vinita and other activists . To praise you and the hard working likes of your activists would be an insignificant contribution from any one .
    The system and methodology of your Anonymity in bringing out the injustices to an ordinary man who is otherwise mortally scared of the repercussions .....is truly opening a treasure of infinite possibilities .. Thank you .and thank you again for this innovative yet effective way of bringing relief and justice to millions PNR

    Vijaykumar B Borkar

    8 years ago

    A very honest effort of the persons who really love the country and the common Indian people. Keep it up RTI Anonymous.

    Dr Hari Dev Goyal

    8 years ago

    It is a wonderful invention for the common man - victim of the widespread corruption in the system. Recently I have been cheated and suffered breach of trust by a service stock broker firm worth lakhs of crores
    Is there any organization to look after the interest of a petty investor in the country?
    SEBI is not performing its mandatory functions and other stock exchanges say that they are not under the purview of RTI Act, 2005. I shall submit details of my case on hearing from you. Thanks

    Suraj

    8 years ago

    Very good in the service of RTI awareness.
    Please give contact address where to file RTI application and also let us know who will bear the expenses of photocopies etc. Normally RTI replies are incomplete and vague, what is the appeal procedure in RTI Anonymous.

    MANI RAM SHARMA

    8 years ago

    How can it be believed that the said team is made of brave man, and will not succumb to pulls and pressures in a country where even the mighty public representatives are frightened. However staging drama in the name of social service or reforms are very common in the country but all these can be hardly seen on the surface of India.

    Krishnaraj Rao

    8 years ago

    Deat Vinita & Sucheta,

    Kudos to you for spreading awareness about this sort of thing. Moneylife, Moneylife Foundation & you personally are putting fantastic information into public domain. God Bless!

    What is more, you are blowing the lid off numerous scams in the financial sector, and other economic sectors also. Amazing teamwork & research.

    Regards,
    Krish

    REPLY

    Cedric Fernandes

    In Reply to Krishnaraj Rao 8 years ago

    Dear Vinta.
    Fantastic ! what a way to go, you have got the Elephant out thru the eye of the Needle, and with Krish around thru (Hum-Janenge YG) the doors have been thrown wide open Congrats.
    Please permit me to hoist this on my Blog site as well as our forum ie; [email protected].
    Blessings and Warm Regards Always
    Cedric
    ICCRWA

    RTI: Not Private

    Public-private partnership comes under RTI Act

    Central Information Commissioner (CIC) and former activist Shailesh Gandhi’s path-breaking order in connection with the powerful Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) is set to shed a great deal of sunlight on secretive public-private partnerships (PPPs) to build roads, airports and other sensitive infrastructure. Under the UPA...

    Premium Content
    Monthly Digital Access

    Subscribe

    Already A Subscriber?
    Login
    Yearly Digital Access

    Subscribe

    Moneylife Magazine Subscriber or MAS member?
    Login

    Yearly Subscriber Login

    Enter the mail id that you want to use & click on Go. We will send you a link to your email for verficiation
  • RTI expose of how World Bank had arm-twisted Delhi Jal Board for water privatisation

    While the emphasis is on privatization of water services, Moneylife looks back at the battle fought by Arvind Kejriwal against the Delhi Jal Board and the World Bank to prove the fraud and the conspiracy to privatise water supply and make it expensive for Delhites

    The ministry of water resources has been undertaking public consultations across the country for quite sometime to formulate the New Water Policy to be probably implemented in March this year (the last revision was in 2002). While the general feedback it got points to proper water management and augmentation at the grass-root level, the draft policy being circulated recently dangerously lays emphasis on privatization of water services.

    According to news reports, the draft National Water Policy encourages privatization of water supply services and gives liberty to private operators (who would look at profits first) to “fully recover” their operational and administrative costs, which could obviously lead to steep hike in water rates for the end consumer. The draft also suggests that the government should shrug of its responsibility of being a service provider for water and has curiously put the onus on private operators.

    In fact, Section 13 of the National Water Policy, 2002 states: “Private sector participation should be encouraged in planning, development and management of water resources projects for diverse uses, wherever feasible. Private sector participation may help in introducing innovative ideas, generating financial resources and introducing corporate management and improving service efficiency and accountability to users. Depending upon the specific situations, various combinations of private sector participation, in building, owning, operating, leasing and transferring of water resources facilities, may be considered.” The latest draft National Policy further hammers this issue, in complete disregard to peoples’ right of being delivered water at reasonable rates.

    The first battle fought against the World Bank and Delhi Jal Board (DJB) was in 2005 when RTI activist and social reformer Arvind Kejriwal through his non-governmental organisation (NGO) ‘Parivartan’ steered a tenacious campaign against privatization of water. For this, he obtained, under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, voluminous 9,000 pages of documents pertaining to correspondence between the World Bank and DJB of biddings, DJB’s correspondence with state and central government as well as reports of various consultants.

    RTI documents revealed that the DJB had approached World Bank in 1998 for a loan to upgrade its water utility services to Delhi. The bank suggested that they hire a multi-national consultant who would ‘suggest’ basic reforms for the DJB to carry out. The bank offered a $2.5 million loan to DJB for hiring the consultant.  States Arvind Kejriwal, “Delhi has 21 water zones. The management of each water zone was to be given to four experts for each zone at a salary of Rs25,000 per month which is Rs11 lakh. The per annum cost of the salaries would come to Rs108 crore. The total budget of the DJB was Rs168 crore thus 60% of the money would be spent on salaries on foreign consultants. Roughly estimated, this would lead to nine times increase in water tax for Delhites.”

    RTI documents further revealed how the World Bank arm-twisted DJB to favour a particular multi-national company. The DJB invited tenders for which 35 consultants applied and six of them were to be short listed. An evaluation committee consisting of senior officials of the DJB ranked them in order of merit as per the World Bank guidelines.  PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) was curiously termed as a ‘desi’ company because it bid from its Kolkata branch but was ranked 10th. However, the World Bank arm-twisted the DJB to prop it up to the 6th position.  States Mr Kejriwal in a protest letter that he wrote to the World Bank after studying the documents, “This provision was misused to bail out PWC as it was treated as an Indian company because the branch of PWC which had applied is incorporated in India. Thus, PWC featured amongst the top six short-listed companies.

    Mr Kejriwal’s letter to the World Bank further states: “Thereafter, technical and financial proposals were invited from the six short-listed companies. A company needed 75% marks in technical evaluation to qualify. An evaluation committee, consisting of senior officials of DJB, evaluated the proposals on the basis of the criteria given in World Bank guidelines. PWC again failed. Only two companies, namely Deloitte of USA and TAHAL of Israel, got more than 75% marks.  

    “The results were sent to the World Bank for their “no objection”. The bank was strangely dissatisfied with the results. It nevertheless blatantly displayed its interests in PWC. It demanded an explanation from the DJB as to why did they give such low marks to PWC.” DJB was stunned at this reply from the World Bank and in a note, the official placed on record that he strictly abided by the World Bank norms and no company procuring below 75% could be eligible for procuring the contract. If PWC is considered, the official wrote in his internal correspondence, it would go against the principles of transparency and would cause great embarrassment to the DJB.

    DJB opposed this arbitrary interference but the World Bank bullied it into revising the criteria, audaciously stating this was not the first time it had so intervened.

    Shockingly, DJB, the state and central government revealed their helplessness before the World Bank. Despite their many objections, DJB had to comply.  

    Mr Kejriwal further states: “Fresh bids were invited. A new evaluation committee was formed. The new committee was careful this time. At every step, they obtained bank’s approval. The bank interfered in the formation of the committee. The composition, structure and procedures were all laid down in great detail by the bank. The new committee was formed with the approval of the bank.  

    “However, PWC again failed to get pass marks. Only one company, namely M
    Watson of UK, qualified. Amazingly, the bank was again dissatisfied. It called for the detailed scores given by each member of the evaluation committee.  

    This time, the bank transgressed all limits of interference and violated all norms of fair play and decency. It demanded that the scores given by RK Jain, one of the members of the evaluation committee, be omitted because ‘evaluation made by Mr Jain is at considerable variance with the evaluation made by other evaluators.’  Interestingly, the evaluation committee mentioned in its report that RK Jain gave low marks to PWC and SK Chhabra gave low marks to M/s Sogreah. But the World Bank demanded omission of Mr Jain’s scorecards only. The bank’s bias could not have been more apparent.”

    “DJB was “requested” to recast the scores accordingly. This time, there were no protests from DJB. DJB obliged and PWC scraped through.  

    The documents were carefully studied by the alumnus association of IIT Delhi and Kharagpur and they had held a press conference urging the Delhi government to withdraw the World Bank loan, but to no avail. Mr Kejriwal whipped up a mass public campaign and was joined in by noted RTI activist Aruna Roy. Buckling under pressure, DJB was forced to withdraw.

    In an article in The Delhi Science Forum website authored by Raghu (http://www.delhiscienceforum.net/others/342-privatisation-of-delhi-water-supply-by-raghu-.html) states - “The World Bank has a long and inglorious record of advocating privatisation of public utilities. In the water supply sector, the bank-funded projects run by European and American multi-nationals are being implemented in the country after country in Africa, Latin America and Asia. In Tanzania, Colombia and the Philippines, for example, the World Bank-funded water supply projects have left a trail of disaster, debt and impoverishment. The MNCs have imposed enormous tariff hikes, denied water to the poor and others unable to bear these hardships, diverted water to luxury resorts and golf courses and reaped exorbitant profits. In the face of inevitable public protests, in some places at the level of popular uprisings, the MNCs have fled these countries, leaving behind stranded water utilities, governments with huge uncovered loans, infructuous infrastructure costs and, adding insult to injury, have demanded and often extracted compensation invoking contractual clauses imposed by the World Bank. As a result, these discredited policies are now being rolled back all over the world including in Europe where such privatisation began during the Thatcher era.”

    Despite this, the National Water Policy may just give a green signal to privatization of water supply and put the country under the barbaric control of multi-nationals. Any sense?

    Links for Arvind Kejriwal’s campaign against privatization of water supply in Delhi - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XwiyWgZHMA and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOmr7aXj_hA

    (Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife. She is also 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. She can be reached at [email protected])

  • Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

    User

    COMMENTS

    Pra

    8 years ago

    Most of the water, gas and electricity in USA is supplied by private companies and they do it very well. The idea that pursuing profit by private companies is bad and that govt. can efficiently manage these utilities is flawed and contrary to experience. The emphasis of the water policy should be on providing accessible, affordable and clean drinking water and most of the state controlled utilities fail on each of these. There should be regulatory board similar to those in USA to set rates since mostly likely there will be less or no competition. Other than that most of the private companies do a wonderful job of what they do. Just comapre the pre-liberalisation customer service of BSNL with that of Airtel now and you can see the difference but many may have forgotten that by now.

    Somasekhar V K

    8 years ago

    This is not only in Delhi but elsewhere too. Water & Energy are two of the most essentials that we need to safeguard especially where there is lot of opportunities for entry of so investors as it is a milch cow. Just like fuel that is a lifeline and inevitable to buy inspite of all the hikes, water is a natural resource that is very precious and affects the poorest of the poor. We cannot treat `Water' as a merchandise and for profits. It is the cruelest joke on mankind.

    param

    8 years ago

    "Delhi has 21 water zones. The management of each water zone was to be given to four experts for each zone at a salary of Rs25,000 per month which is Rs11 lakh. The per annum cost of the salaries would come to Rs108 crore."
    What kind of maths is this? 21*4*25000 = 21 lac & 21*12=2.52 cr - what am i missing

    REPLY

    vikas

    In Reply to param 8 years ago

    Even I am wondering on this maths. Sorry to see no response from author on this point. Leaving this, article is good. Thanks Mr. Kejriwal..and his team.

    n thakker

    8 years ago

    an example how rules / laws can be framed to loot the people at large legally and there will be no protest since - that poor suferer can not unite or do not have resources- money - education- or time to fight long battle

    Thank you Mr. Kejriwal for checking a move to make any one new ' gulam'

    Now you need not to rule country by winning them you draw out all good resources of any palce-- still remaining in your own place

    deepak

    8 years ago

    This is exactly the theme of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, an autobiography written by insider John Perkins. It talks on how the U.S. Uses Globalization by funelling funds through "aid" by organizations like World Bank to Cheat Poor Countries Out of Trillions

    We are listening!

    Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
      Loading...
    Close

    To continue


    Please
    Sign Up or Sign In
    with

    Email
    Close

    To continue


    Please
    Sign Up or Sign In
    with

    Email

    BUY NOW

    online financial advisory
    Pathbreakers
    Pathbreakers 1 & Pathbreakers 2 contain deep insights, unknown facts and captivating events in the life of 51 top achievers, in their own words.
    online financia advisory
    The Scam
    24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
    Moneylife Online Magazine
    Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
    financial magazines online
    Stockletters in 3 Flavours
    Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
    financial magazines in india
    MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
    (Includes Moneylife Online Magazine)
    FREE: Your Complete Family Record Book
    Keep all the Personal and Financial Details of You & Your Family. In One Place So That`s Its Easy for Anyone to Find Anytime
    We promise not to share your email id with anyone