Digital era ignominy: Getting RTI responses printed can cost Rs 10 lakh in Telangana

Donita Jose By Express News Service HYDERABAD: At a time when the Telangana government is winning awards for digital governance, Public Information Officers (PIO) seem to be living in the past as they ask for hefty sums to furnish information sought through RTI queries in hard copy. In a recent case, for instance, the Department of Agriculture asked an RTI activist a whopping Rs 10 lakh for furnishing responses to his query on the details of Rythu Bandhu scheme beneficiaries. Kareem Ansari working with Yugantar, a non-governmental organization, had merely asked for a district-wise list of all farmers who had benefited from the flagship programme. However, the PIO sought Rs 10 lakh to procure particulars of all 50 lakh beneficiaries. The PIO noted in his letter to the activist, “To print the list of 50.87 lakh farmers @ 10 names per A4 size sheet, it requires printing of 5,08,700 pages. The cost estimates @ Rs 2 per page will be Rs 10,17,400 to provide information.” In another similar instance, activist Vijay Gopal from the city had filed a case with the Board of Intermediate of Telangana. To give information regarding the same, the board sought Rs 36 for an 18 page document. Ironically, this was intimated to the activist through a Rs 25 post.