Filing an RTI Online

Filing queries under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has become a matter of minutes with the C-DAC (formerly National Centre for Software Technology) and CIC (Central Information Commission) launching an online system for submission of appeals. Now all Internet and tech savvy RTI users can file their complaints and appeals online.  

The RTI Act was passed by Parliament in 2005 for promoting transparency and accountability in the functioning of government departments. Every department has a Public Information Officer (PIO) to whom RTI applications can be submitted. However, if the user does not get the information or receives incomplete information, he can file first an appeal with the appellate authority within the same department. In case the applicant still remains unsatisfied, he can file a second appeal to their respective information commission.

Now, the applicants will just have to log on to the website of CDAC ( or the CIC webpage ( and fill in the details. Filling of the form is very easy. The user has to just fill mandatory fields like name, address, citizenship status, ministry, department or public authority that the appeal is against. The applicant may also fill other details like whether he has applied to any PIO for information related to their complaint and whether the issue at hand is a matter of life or liberty. The CIC website also lets you upload any supporting documents and if the complainant is Below Poverty Line.

The applicants will also be able to check the status of their complaints online. The online system would help them save both time and resources, ending dependence on the postal department.

2.5 Million Scholarships for Minorities

In line with its commitment to improve the literacy rate among the minority communities, the government today approved a scheme, providing for 2.5 million pre-matric scholarships to meritorious minority students, entailing an expenditure of Rs 1,868.50 crore during the 11th Plan period.

Thirty per cent amount of this scheme will earmarked for girl students of each minority community in a state or union territory, Home Minister P Chidambaram told newspersons after the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

Under the scheme, to be launched during 2007-08, scholarships will be awarded to minority students who are studying in India in government or private schools from classes I to X, including residential government institutes, and eligible private institutes selected and notified in a transparent manner by the state governments and union territories concerned.

The maximum ceiling of tuition fee entitlement will be Rs 350 a month, subject to actuals. The rates of maintenance allowance will be Rs 600 a month for hostelers from class VI onwards, subject to actuals, and Rs 100 a month for day-scholars from class I onwards. Admission fee from class VI onwards will be Rs 500 per annum, subject to actuals.

Of the total amount, Rs 1,408.40 crore will be borne by the centre, while Rs 460.10 crore will be shared by the states, he said adding union territories will be provided 100 per cent central assistance.

Full scheme details here:

Medicines At Less Cost

Often we end up paying huge money for medicines which form an important part of the lives of aging parents. Every medicine is available in with the same formatulations but different generic names having different costs. E.g. painkillers are available at different rates from Paracatomol, Crocin, Anasin, Vicks Action 500, Combiflame, etc each having different prices. The same is true for each and every medicine available with the Chemists, for treatment from Diabetes, High and Low Blood pressures, etc.

Patient India is an effort to provide day-to-day information required by the common Indian patient to reduce cost of healthcare without compromising quality.
Prices of medicines do vary a lot from company to company. But those prices are not listed in a database readily accessible by the patients. Therefore, patients (especially chronic cases) cannot take advantage of these price differences. And, for doctors it is impossible to remember so many prices. It is the responsibility of the retailer to offer comparative prices. Final decision comes from the patients – whether to go for an expensive brand or the cheaper alternatives. On the website ‘Compare’ section the website has tried to give a massive database in a searchable manner. Patients are requested to go back to the doctor with options found in the database and ask whether any of those could be taken.
The patients cannot find the information in order to go to the right doctor in the very beginning. Main constraint for this is lack of proper directory services. It is so much important to find out the right doctor in the place where the patient is located at the required time. Same with hospitals, nursing homes and blood banks etc. Such information is available in the website’s ‘Find’ section.

Do visit for more information

CYB Featured in Suvarta – Dec 08

Suvarta – Vasai’s leading monthly magazine has featured Catholic Youth Bridge in its December 2008 edition.

Vasai’s Catholic Youth Bridge

Networking is the buzzword of the century. To facilitate personal development  and career enhancement, the youth of vasai have come together on a common platform via the Catholic Youth Bridge. This social networking will help the youth of Vasai scattered  all over the globe. Assisting job seekers, exchanging knowledge, providing assistance to the needy are some aims of this network. All those interested in being a part of this network could become members by logging on to Catholic Youth Bridge ( or contact Moses Gomes (9833961636), Allan D’Mello (9226208166) or Malcolm Almeida (9822896044)

Here is the scanned version

Catholic Youth Bridge Suvarta Dec-08

Catholic Youth Bridge Suvarta Dec-08



Don’t forget the place to join in is at

Information on Court Marriages – Mumbai

The Law

On the 13th of February, 2006, The Supreme Court of India ruled that all marriages, irrespective of their religion, be compulsorily registered and directed the Centre and state governments to frame and notify rules for this within three months. A bill was passed in the Parliament to this effect, Read Here.

The Indian Christian Marriages Act of 1872 also demands for compulsory registration of marriages. Accordingly entries are made in the marriage register of the church, soon after the ceremony along with the signatures of the bride, bridegroom, the officiating priest and witnesses.


Undoubtedly the compulsory registration of marriages has got many advantages.

  • As the married couple would be given a Government certificate as marriage document, it would become an undisputable valuable evidence of marriage.
  • It would also double as valid evidence while accompanying wife/husband to foreign country. It would also facilitate the easy processing of passports and visa.
  • It helps facilitate easy name change process.
  • When a person happens to die without nomination for bank deposit or life insurance policy, it will be helpful for the husband/wife to get such money.
  • Since the Registrar is supposed to verify whether the marriage had in fact taken place in accordance with the personal law applicable to the spouses, he would have to specifically mention in a special column the presence of the spouses before issuing the marriage certificate

For court marriages of christians the forms are available in Mantralaya, 2nd floor, the contact person is Mr. Ramesh F D’souza, 2nd floor, Finance Dept, Mantralaya. The forms are available between 2:00pm to 4:30pm. The marriage date is fixed after 7 days of submitance of duly completed forms. You also have the liberty of selecting a date as their is not much rush over here. On the allocated date post signing we have to pay the department Rs.150/- only. Marriage certificate is provided on that very day itself.

Here is the process that was followed by Mr & Mrs Savio and Juliet Henriques in getting their marriage certified

We went to the Archbishop House at Woodhouse, opp. All India Lawn Tennis Association, Colaba. There we met Msgr. William Nazareth (the sister at the reception will guide). He attested the certificate immediately and gave us the name and address of Mr. Ramesh Dsouza at Mantralaya. We went immediately to Mantralaya, took a gatepass (ID proof compulsory) and waited in a queue to enter inside since they are open only between 2:00pm to 5:00pm. There we went to the 3rd floor office of Mr. Dsouza, he immediately signed on the backside of the church marriage certificate and directed us to Mr. Sawant on the same floor, who in turn stamped the seal of Govt. of Maharashtra, Marriage Registrar, and we were told that the certificate is now valid for all government and official purposes.

We need a Catholic Youth Bridge

There are issues everywhere be it in banks, in politics, in markets, etc. But we always curse the system and prefer to stay away for whatever reasons. What happens then? We keep on suffering. There are many cases of injustice on Christians, but no sign of any improvement in our life. Should we sit mum and say we are peace loving people?

Should we keep patience and wait for someone to take action?

I don’t have to tell what are the issues, just open any newspapers in the morning and their is the news on attack on churches, political parties asking for admission in Christian convent schools by pressurizing the priests, priests attacked, forced conversions, etc, etc.

Do we ever stop by any news and think how can I help my fellow Catholics, how can I stop this injustice?

Or rather we just turn the page and read about which actor celebrated their birthday and who was wearing what dress. We have turned totally unemotional and proclaim we are patient. Then we are cowherd, we are insects.

It is never late until we think we are, so we still have time to fight back, to tell people beware and don’t take us for granted. We need to unite and plan how best we can pool-in our resources and together we tell the government and everybody to listen to us.

Until we shout nobody can hear, the world is deaf and nobody has the inclination to understand us so just speak out your problems.

If you want to see the change, we ourselves need to change and until we change we can’t grow. So stop dying and start growing. 

Right To Information

Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005 came into force on 12th October 2005. It is an act extends to all government organizations including executive, judiciary and legislature and private organizations which are substantially funded by the govenment, of the entire country except the state of Jammu and Kashmir, passed in the Parliament of Government of India. The aims of this act are numerous; to make the system transparent, to reduce corruption, to bring information to the ordinary citizens in the form of official records, proceedings, emails, circulars, govt. orders etc., and to give power to the common man who is the root of Indian democratic system through fundamental rights.

RTI can be used to speed up the process, to make the system work as per the rules, to bring transparency into the system, to inspect any government work, to make officials more accountable. It is an integral and essential part of nation building.

How to get the desired information?

  • The applicant should prepare a questionnaire and prepare the application on plain paper. (Some organizations have specific application format and are available on their website.) The applicant should mention 
    1. His/her complete address for communication
    2. The information desired in the form of questions (reason for asking questions are optional)
    3. Should mention whether he/she is under Below Poverty Line (BPL) in the application
  • The application can be submitted in person or through post to the Public Information Officers (PIOs) of the organization. Every organization comes under the purview of RTI act appoints (PIO) to provide information to the applications received under RTI. To discharge the duties under RTI, PIOs can ask for assistance from any officer, who has to render all desired assistance. If the applicant is not under BPL, then the RTI applications should carry a prescribed application fee (minimum Rs. 10/-), otherwise there is an exemption in application fee. The fees can be paid through Indian Postal Orders, Money Orders, Demand Drafts or through even cash payment. If any further fee is required, then the same will be intimated to the applicant in writing by the PIO.
  • After receiving the application, the PIOs should provide the desired information in writing or in any desired form within a specified time limit.

The time limit for giving the information under RTI is 30 days from the date of application and is 48 hours for information concerning the life and liberty of a person. The maximum response time is 35 days, in-case the application for information is submitted to Assistant Public Information Officers (APIO), is extended to 40 days in-case of any third party is involved in the process and 45 days in-case of human rights violation information is desired. Failure to provide information within the specified period is deemed refusal.

The penalties for not providing information or un-necessary delay in information is Rs. 250/- per day and up-to Rs. 25,000/-. For illegitimate refusal to accept application, denial, knowingly providing false information, destruction of information, etc., the penalty is up to Rs. 25,000/-. There will be a recommendation for departmental action for persistent or serious violations. However, denial of information is not a criminal liability.

What to do if the information received is not satisfactory?

If the information received is not satisfactory, then the applicant can appeal within a specified time period (around 30 days) to the 1st appellate authority (officers of senior rank to PIOs or designated officers) of that organization. All appeals are free of cost (some state governments have prescribed a fee). If the applicant does not receive information even after the first appeal then he/she can take the matter forward to the second appeal stage.

RTI should not be used to harass or blackmail any public officer. Similarly, the public officers should not harass the applicant for filing RTI application. In both the cases, law of the state will take care. RTI should be used with right spirit and to build the nation, not to destroy.