Lahore, February 4th: The Punjab Information Commission, in collaboration with PILDAT, successfully concluded the 5th and final session in a series of trainings imparted to Government Officials on the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2013.
Since September 30, 2015, more than 110 Public Information Officers (PIOs) and Heads of Departments (HoDs) of the Government of Punjab posted in Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Lahore, Layyah, Lodhran, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur, and Sahiwal have been imparted knowledge and skills for effective implementation of RTI.
Mazhar Hussain Minhas, Chief Information Commissioner of Punjab, observed that the officials trained this week in collaboration with PILDAT are a welcome addition to the 208 officers already trained on RTI at the Management and Professional Development Department (MPDD), Punjab in 2015. He stressed the need for sustained collaborations between the Punjab Information Commission and civil society organisations like PILDAT for effective implementation of RTI in the Province. “Such collaborations are especially necessary in offsetting the adverse impact of bureaucratic resistance faced by the Commission, due to which its budgeted funds and resources are not being released on time,” said Mr. Minhas
Earlier in the day, participants were briefed on the concept and principles of RTI as well as on their responsibilities under the Punjab Transparency and RTI Act, 2013 by Punjab Information Commissioner, Mukhtar Ahmad Ali and Mr. Ahmad Mubarik Ahmad, Complaints Coordinator PIC.
Participating Heads of Departments were put in conversation with Public Information Officers from of previous training sessions, including Jam Awais, Deputy District Officer (Planning), Multan; and Tahira Maryam, Health and Education Officer, Lahore. According to Mr. Riaz Ahmed Hashmee, Chairman, Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Multan, “This Session helped me as a Department Head understand the areas where PIOs require their cooperation for smooth implementation of RTI. I aim to now designate my Systems Analyst as PIO as he has the requisite skill set and resources to update the Board’s website on a timely basis,” he said. “This will hopefully make the Board’s activities and our complaints redressal system more efficient.”
Participants also engaged in a group exercise using case studies produced by PILDAT based on Orders on Complaints passed by the Punjab Information Commission. They agreed that the group exercise helped clarify key concepts in relation to RTI legislation and its implementation.
The Training of District Heads of Departments
on effective use of the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act, 2013
was organised by PILDAT under the More effective Right to Information (RTI)
at Federal and Provincial level (Sindh and Punjab) Project, for which it has
received financial support from Development Alternative Inc. (DAI) under the
Enhanced Democratic Accountability and Civic Engagement (EDACE) Project.
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