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JAMMU: State Information Commission (SIC) Monday  organised a three-day training programme on Right to Information in collaboration with Institute of Management, Public Administration and Rural Development (IMPARD) here. While inaugurating the programme, SIC Secretary, Narinder Singh Bali who was the Chief Guest on the occasion emphasized the need for free flow of information and encouraged citizen participation in the process.

Maintaining that the days of secrecy and opaqueness in government departments have come to an end, he said that no democratic government can serve its people without transparency and accountability.  Terming RTI as the bedrock of good governance and welfare state, Bali said it strengthens corruption free governance. He asked the Public Information Officers (PIO’s) from various departments who were present on the occasion to divulge correct information to the public in a time-bound manner.

Calling PIOs as the eyes and ears of the Commission, Bali encouraged them to change the system for better at the bureaucratic level and not wait for the political system to bring in a change. Joint Director, SIC Ghulam Nabi Ganai while speaking on the occasion said that the pendency of RTI applications has come to a low and they are trying to minimize it further. He also said that SIC is coming up with an Urdu edition of RTI Act in near future as most of the natives are Urdu speaking.

In her introductory remarks, Programme Coordinator Prof. Sunita Zalpuri said that citizen’s right to information is being recognised as an effective means to accountable and transparent administration. Zalpuri said that RTI Act has evolved in the state and it needs further improvement as information sharing by government with citizens is beneficial for the functioning of democracy.

 Officials present on the occasion also took a pledge that they will work with honesty and dedication to ensure corruption free governance in the state. Among others present on the occasion were Deputy Secretary SIC Sunil Kumar, Joint Director SIC Mushtaq Ahmad Rather officials from SIC, IMPARD faculty, PIOs and other activists.

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