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KP makes RTI as first pillar of good governance strategy

By Riaz Khan Daudzai
March 29, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has pronounced people’s right to access information, data and record of the public functionaries as first pillar of its good governance strategy it launched here on Thursday.

The provincial government affirmed that right to information (RTI) remains the most effective tool to ensure transparency that leads to accountability, which serves as power vehicle to achieve the ultimate goal of good governance.

Prepared by the Performance Management and Reforms Unit (PMRU) based at the chief secretary office, the first ‘Good Governance Strategy’ is based on five basic pillars.

It has acknowledged that overarching concept of open government pivots on the RTI, which ensures public participation that is key to good governance. It helps the government in establishing the credible and trustworthy institutions built on principles of transparency and accountability.

The strategy’s five basic pillars include open government and transparency, public services delivery, citizens participation, accountability, innovation and technology.

The strategy denotes that “open government is citizens’ right to access to all the documents and proceedings of the government for effective public oversight, and transparency implies that the processes of government should be scrupulous enough to bear public security. Under good governance strategy, an attempt has been made towards proactive disclosure of information to the public, easy access of the public to government offices and their outreach and interaction. Moreover, open data portal and government transparency indices are introduced to ensure transparency in government processes and ease of doing business.”

The strategy focuses on Section 5 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2013 that deals with the suo moto disclosure of the information by the government departments and public bodies.

It has also documented that 13,093 people have sought information from the public bodies which include 223 requests for information through e-RTI and 66 public bodies made proactive disclosure to make all relevant data available to the public online. The strategy planned to achieve 205 performance indicators in various public sectors with an aim to improve the service delivery and make the government more responsive.

Under the open government and RTI, it has identified 41 performance indicators binding the government departments to publish officers and employees’ details, including description of their powers and functions and their respective, perks and privileges.

These departments will proactively disclose online or otherwise the service rules, draft rules of procedures, seniority lists, appointment lists, subsidies or benefit programmes along with the details about the amount or benefits.

They would also publish particulars of the recipients of concessions, permits, licenses or authorization. Similarly, each and every public body would be bound to disclose details of RTI requests.

It has also strategised that publication and disclosure of rules and regulations, information and services, auction, vehicles, government assets, merit lists (provisional and final) of admission to government colleges, and technical institutes etc would be ensured.

The launching of the strategy, held at the Cabinet Room of the Civil Secretariat, was attended by commissioners and deputy commissioners among other key officials of the provincial government.

Later, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan told reporters that the good governance strategy was a step to make the public institutions public-centric.

He also made it clear that performing officials would be rewarded, while non-performers would face action. He said by improving government institutions, they wanted to facilitate the general public.

The chief minister said the government believed in transparency and building online systems to make all information about government activities available for the public reflects government’s commitment.

He added the government is working in accordance with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision and every effort will be made to purge the province of lethargic practices and ensure sustainable development.