Kathmandu, March 27: The National Information Commission has advised the government to form a high-level mechanism for implementing the Right to Information (RTI) Act effectively.
Submitting its annual report for the fiscal year 2076/77 BS, the Commission has suggested the government formation of a coordination committee headed by the Prime Minister or a senior minister for coordinating the RTI enforcement.
Similarly, the Commission has said it would be appropriate to constitute a coordination committee headed by the province chief minister for better implementation of the RTI Act in public bodies at the province and local levels. It has highlighted the need for regular training for information officers with the management of adequate resources for them so to enhance their capacity and efficiency.
More they require a durable mobile phone set, a SIM card and internet facility so that information seeker(s) could easily contact them, the Commission said.
The government has been advised for making provisions for the appointment of an information officer (one post junior to the chief) in every public office and establishing an RTI desk at the entrance to Singha Durbar for the swift dissemination of information from ministries and offices inside the Singha Durbar.
Stating that the constitution has recognized all the mother tongues of Nepal, the Commission wanted the dissemination of public information in local languages as well. The status of RTI implementation should be a tool of assessment to reach a higher public post, it suggests.
Besides, the government has been advised to make sure the provisions requiring discussion on its annual report in the Legislature-Parliament or the related parliamentary committee, Province Assembly or the thematic committee and the local or the thematic committee. Though the Right to Information Act (2007) requires the Commission to submit its annual report of its activities to the Legislature-Parliament through Prime Minister, the report is not discussed either in the parliament or in the related committee so far.
The Commission handed the report to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Friday. 52 per cent complaints against local levels.
The Commission last fiscal year had received 1,013 complaints of appeal against public authorities for not abiding by the RTI Act and settled all of them. The highest number of complaints (52.4%) were related to local levels followed by 9.3 per cent against education, health and sports sector, 5.5 per cent concerning economic sectors and 5.5 per cent relating to law, justice and administration, according to Commission Spokesperson Kamala Oli Thapa.
The Commission last fiscal year monitored and assessed the status of the RTI Act in public bodies in Jhapa, Morang, Kailali, Kanchanpur, Gulmi, Arghakhanchi, Rupandehi and Syangja.
Delhi Public School, Lipanimal-8, Bara; Ishanath Municipality Office, Rautahat and the Association of Chartered Accountants of Nepal, Lalitpur were punished for not providing demanded information.