“Accessibility of data is the edifice of a democracy” -Sourabh Sharma

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

Our constitution has guaranteed its citizens the fundamental rights. All over the world the democracy of the countries is evaluated on the scale of these rights. Right to Information is one such scale, which increases accountability of the government and brings transparency in its policies. Recently Rajasthan government achieved a milestone by implementing the “Jan Soochna Portal” . It was made possible through the digitalisation of the state governments databases, comprising lakhs of information request options for about 32 schemes. It provides explanations for all those schemes, authorities responsible and progress. It provides real time individual level data which could help to curb the corruption level in the state.

It is a landmark in the field of transparency in government activity, also it extends the reach of welfare schemes. When pension payment scheme shifted from postal to AADHAR thousands of people lost their pensions as they were stated dead in the database due to some error. It was corrected in Rajasthan using the jan soochna portal when it was on trial. Many social groups utilised the portal to help those people who suffered due to the transition to AADHAR. In a similar group a social activist helped a widow to get refund of her medical insurance worth Rs 19000 through the use of the database provided by the Jan Soochna portal. A study by the Central Information commission concluded that 80 percent of the RTI applications are for that information which should be already in public domain. Thus, portal is effective in saving both efforts and time. Also it strengths the spirit of Right to Information, and increases the accountability of government.

The Jan Soochna portal is an ideal initiative by Rajasthan state government , but the challenges lie in the implementation. Firstly , ensuring the availability of the real time data with actual facts will be the primary challenge and its fulfillment would be the biggest achievement of the portal. Secondly , though it is quite remarkable feature , but its popularity among rural citizens is low, though the government installed kiosks to access the portal but, they are ineffective due to poor network in rural areas. Aggravating all facts, it has resuscitated the focus on quality governance amidst the low standard politics prevalent these days. The brevity in the efforts to access information will benefit the last person in the last corner of the nation ,it should be implemented across the country

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