[AW/GSM4] Art of Answer writing: Transparency of Rules Act (TORA) vs RTI vs Citizen Charter for Transparency, Accountability & Good Governance

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UPSC Paperset
  1. Mock Questions for UPSC Mains GSM2, 4 & PubAd
  2. Relevance in the Mains Syllabus?
  3. Brainstorming for Keypoints
    1. Introduction: Define | Origin | Data
    2. Transparency of Rules Act (TORA): Salient Features
    3. Compare: TORA vs. Citizen Charter
    4. Compare: TORA vs. RTI
    5. Criticism /Evacuation of proposed TORA
    6. Conclusion
  4. Hindi: Model Answer Framework
    1. परिचय / Introduction
    2. टोरा के मुख्य प्रावधान:
    3. ये TORA नागरिक अधिकारपत्रों (citizen charter) से अलग कैसे है?
    4. ये TORA सुचना अधिकार (RTI) से अलग कैसे है ?
    5. आलोचना / प्रस्तावित टोरा का मुल्यांकन
    6. सार / Conclusion

Mock Questions for UPSC Mains GSM2, 4 & PubAd

Answer the following questions- each in 200 words, 8 minutes, black/blue pen on A4 sized blank page with 1″ margin on each sides.

  1. Examine critically the need for enacting a Transparency of Rules act (TORA) in India, to enhance transparency and accountability in governance.
  2. Compare and contrast the proposed TORA act against Citizen Charters.
  3. Compare and contrast the proposed TORA act against Right to Information act.
  4. “Right to information is incomplete without right to public services, and vice versa.” Elaborate.
  5. Critically examine the feasibility of a Transparency of Rules act (TORA) to bridge the gap between right to information and right to public services.

Relevance in the Mains Syllabus?

  • (GS2) Important aspects of governance; Transparency and accountability (institutional and other measures); Citizens Charter;
  • (GS4 Ethics) Citizens Charters; Quality of Service Delivery; Probity in Governance, concept of public service;
  • (Public Administration Optional) Paper-II, Topic 14: Significant issues in Indian administration – Citizen administration interface.

Brainstorming for Keypoints

Transparency of Rules Act (TORA)

  • This TORA act proposal is given in the latest Economic Survey, Volume-2, Ch. 8, Box.2 on page 225. Free Download Link Hindi | English
  • Citizen Charter: this page of DARPG: Hindi | English. I could have prescribed some book, but most of them have merely copy pasted from above page only.
  • Right to Information Act: India Yearbook 2017 Ch.3 Polity. Hindi | English

Introduction: Define | Origin | Data

  • In their day to day life, ordinary citizens & businesses have to navigate through plethora of rules, regulations, forms and procedures imposed by various tiers of government. While these are published in the official gazettes and websites, but the language and presentation is so cumbersome and fragmented that often a person has to follow a long paper trail of decades of circulars and notifications to know the current requirements to obtain a particular scheme-entitlement or business-approval.
  • This causes lot of inefficiency, delay; and encourages touts, corruption and litigations.
  • Transparency of Rules Act (TORA) aims to solve above conundrum with following mechanisms:

Transparency of Rules Act (TORA): Salient Features

First, All organization have to publish latest rules and regulations in a unified and comprehensible format, in English, Hindi and vernacular languages on their website. Example, UPSC recruitment notification PDF can’t say “for IPS eye sight requirement refer to so and so gazette of Home Ministry or DoPT.” In that notification itself, they’ll have to mention “IPS eyesight requirements are as following:

  1. Distant vision __, near vision ___.
  2. Correction with upto 6.00 D glasses permitted.
  3. Correction with LASIK and other refractive surgeries permitted.
  4. Color Blindness and Squint not permitted.

Once an organization is declared “TORA-complaint”, any rule that is not explicitly on the website would be deemed not to apply i.e. No Government official can impose / demand compliance with a rule that is not published on the website. e.g.

  1. If HRD ministry’s TORA page says “for scholarship, aadhar card and school marksheet required”, then official can’t insist on school id card as additional proof.
  2. If circular on PT teacher’s minimum qualification says only B.P.Ed, then govt can’t insist on candidate’s height and chest requirement at the time of recruitment.
Ramrahim's Wikipedia page history

Something like this, to ensure the accountability of the officer updating the rules.

Second, Govt. websites will have to mention the date and time whenever new rules are updated. It’ll be similar to wikipedia:- On the frontend user sees an article, but when he clicks on update history, he can also know which rules were changed when and by whom. So, if officials are playing mischief by secretly updating the rules without broader consultation or due process, then aggrieved person can approach higher authorities or courts.

Third, Every time the rules / requirement changes, citizens/businessmen will be given adequate time to comply with that. Example, often in the Government licensing, auctioning, tendering and procurement, the minimum requirements of documents, work-experience, turnover, bank guarantee etc. are kept in such manner, that only those businessman who have paid bribes to the government can comply with it before the last date, because they know such requirements in advance, before it was published in gazette/newspaper! Classic example is 2G scam: Where A. Raja took Rs.3,000 crores bribe to change the last date for application from 1st October 2007 to 25th September, so that some eligible companies couldn’t apply, and the crooked companies will get spectrum at throwaway prices.

Fourth, If there is any error on the TORA page, the department, and not the citizen, must pay for the consequences of any error.

Compare: TORA vs. Citizen Charter

TORACitizen Charter
Proposed in the Economic Survey 2016-17, Volume-2.
  • Origin in the world: by UK PM John Major (1991)
  • Origin in India: After Chief ministers’ conference at New Delhi (1997)
It’s a public organization’s compulsory declaration in electronic format. It provides the all gazettes, circulars, rules, regulations, resolutions, etc. in the latest, unified, comprehensive format, for ordinary citizens and businesses.It’s a public organization’s voluntary declaration in written format for the public. It usually covers following:

  1. List of activities, public services, fees, time limits.
  2. Opening and closing hours of the office and its particular windows.
  3. Name and contact numbers of the concerned personnel.
  4. Grievance redressal procedure.
Primary objective: Person doesn’t have to wade through decades of gazettes to know the current requirements for obtaining any scheme entitlement, admission, job, tax compliance, business approval, license, permit etc.Primary objective: Client knows where to go, when to go, whom to approach, whom to complaint, for availing a particular public service.
  • Once this law is enacted, it’ll be compulsory for all the government websites to publish such TORA compliant unified notifications.
  • And, subsequently, no person can be asked to comply with any rule which is not mentioned such Government website.
  • As such RTI act requires all the public organizations to  publish the information related to their functions and duties, procedures etc.
  • but “Citizen charter” is an voluntary administrative activity. So, if RTI reply or citizen charter said “office opening time is 10:00AM” but if it’s not open at a particular time despite complaining to higher authorities, there is no in-built remedy within the Citizen charter or in RTI.
  • Although, various states have enacted separate laws to enforce the promises made in the citizen charters. E.g Gujarat’s Right to Public Services Act 2013.
  • Similar bill is pending at national level REF: PRSIndia.

Compare: TORA vs. RTI

TORARight to Information Act
Proposed in the Economic Survey 2016-17, Volume-2.Origin: Enacted in by the parliament of India in 2005.
Primary benefit: Ordinary citizen doesn’t have to waste time and brain in finding what is he required to do, to obtain a particular admission, job, scheme entitlement, license, approval etc.Primary benefit: Since all the administrative actions are open in public domain, the govt. functionaries will think twice before indulging in corruption, nepotism and wrongdoing.
  • Public organization has to upload information on website. So, in that context, TORA is a subset of RTI.
  • But, what makes TORA different is: Notifications have to in simplified and unified format. It’s like turning Arvind Subramanian’s 24 chapter Economic survey into Mrunal’s 6 pillar Economic survey ‘summary’.
  • RTI doesn’t explicitly compell the public authorities to present information in simplified and unified manner.
  • So, if UPSC uploaded 50 files- one for fee, second for minimum age limit, third for minimum education limit, and in forth PDF it simply said approach Disability department to know about PH reservation and so on,…. Still it’d comply with RTI act but not with TORA act.
  • It deals only with the rules, notification where you personally want something from government. e.g. “What is the procedure to get a MNREGA job card?”
  • Here, Department will not be required to upload who got the job cards in past or who was rejected on what ground? How many mandays of work conducted in particular district Etc.
The span of RTI span is broader than TORA, because here I can even ask:

  1. What is the procedure to get a MNREGA job card?
  2. List of beneficiaries in __ village. How many of them SC/ST/Women?
  3. List of developmental works done in the previous financial year. And so forth.
  • Compulsorily upload online.
  • Under the Digital India mission, as such the government is encouring digitaization  of all processes. Therefore, TORA is unlikely to create additional fiscal burden.
  • Public organizations have to proactively disseminate information- in noticeboard, newspaper, online. (but not compulsorily upload online.)
Information will available online for free.Unless you’re a BPL, you’ve to pay fees to available information under the RTI Act.
Economic survey has not mentioned such things. There are two possibilities:

  1. Separate statutory body to enforce TORA.
  2. No statutory body will be setup. As and when there is violation, you can approach ordinary courts.
Under the RTI Act, public organizations have to designate Public information Officers (PIOs), First Appellate Authorities (FAA); and there are  Information Commissioners at state and union levels with statutory powers of a civil court.

Criticism /Evacuation of proposed TORA

  1. As such, RTI act requires the public authorities to proactively disclose the information pertaining to their functions. So, instead of enacting a separate TORA act, it’ll be better to amend the RTI act to specifically require the public authorities to provide the list of requirements in latest, unified and simplified language, pertaning various jobs, admission, license, permits etc. on their website.
  2. After reading the requirements on a TORA compliant webpage, you submit the documents accordingly, but still if you’re denied a particular public service, license, permit etc. despite complainting to the griveance redressal authorities mentioned in organization’s citizen charter, then there is no remedy within TORA or Citizen charter or RTI.
  3. Right to public service and right to information have reciprocal relatiation with each other. So, instead of creating TORA as a bridge, it might be worth exploring to keep RTI embedded with TORA on one side, and Right to public service act with Citizen Charter embedded on the other side.

Even more points can be devised to compare and contrast, critically examine etc. but this much content is sufficient. You can compress it to fill any variety of 200 words answer.

Conclusion

Rather than nitpicking over summary type or finding type conclusion, better we simply conclude with a positive note, by linking the topic with SDG.

  • Sustainable development Goal (#16) requires the nations to provide access to justice and public sevices to all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at the all levels of government.
  • Although, we already have established citizen charters (1997) and enacted right to information act (2005), but the fragmented nature of rules and notifications harmper ordinary citizens and businesses from fully benefiting from either of them.
  • Indeed, the enactment and implementation of TORA will greatly help in filling up this deficit. [or criticism point number3, if there is a question like that.]

Hindi: Model Answer Framework

First, read the English description given above, to understand the topic with illustrations and examples.

परिचय / Introduction

  • भारतमें सुचना अधिकार कानून के लागू होने के बावजूद, सामान्य नागरिक व् व्यवसायिको के लिए, सरकार के विभिन्न स्तरों द्वारा लागू किए गये नियमो, विनिमयो, प्रारूप, तथा प्रक्रियाओ के बारे में आसानी से समजना या कार्यवाही करना संभव नही.
  • यदि आप किसी संस्थान में दाखिला या नोकरी चाहते है, किसी कार्य के लिए लायसन्स, परमिट या अनुमति लेनी है, किसी टेंडर में अर्जी डालनी है या सरकारी योजना का लाभ लेना है वगेरा, तो उस हेतु न्यूनतम पात्रता क्या है, कोन कोन से दस्तावेजो की आवश्कता होगी इत्यादि  मुलभुत प्रावधानो को समजने के लिए भी, नागरिकने दशको के राजपत्रोमें बिखरे हुए नियमो का अध्ययन करना पड़ता है.
  • इस प्रकार की कलिष्ट और अपारदर्शी प्रणाली दलालों (tout), भ्रष्टाचारीओ तथा मुकदमेबाजी (litigation) को प्रोत्साहित करती है.

टोरा के मुख्य प्रावधान:

उक्त समस्याओ के निवारण हेतु, आर्थिक सर्वेक्षण २०१६-१७ ने एक “नियमो की पारदर्शिता अधिनियम” (टोरा) बनाने की सिफारिश की गइ है. इस कानून के अंर्तगत,

  1. सभी सरकारी संस्थानोंने अनिवार्य रूप से अपनी वेबसाइट पर अध्यतन, एकत्रित और आसानी से समज में आ सके ऐसे स्व रूपमें सभी नियमो कानूनों का संकलन अंग्रेजी, हिंदी व् प्रादेशिक भाषाओमें प्रकाशित करना होगा. एकबार किसी विभाग को ‘टोरा-अनुरूप’ घोषित कर दिया जाय, तत्पश्च्यात जिन नियमो का उनकी वैबसाईट पर जिक्र नही है, उसे जनता पर लागू करने की किसी भी सरकारी कर्मचारी को अनुमति नही होगी.
  2. किस तारीख और किस समय पर नियम में सुधार किया गया, उसके पुरे इतिहास का जिक्र भी वेबसाईट पे करना होगा.
  3. किसी भी नियम को बदलने के बाद, नागरिको को उसका अनुपालन करने के लिए पर्याप्त समय देना होगा.
  4. वेबसाईट पे यदि कोई भूल हो, तो उसका परिणाम नागरिक नही बल्कि सरकारी संस्थान ने भुगतना होगा.

ये TORA नागरिक अधिकारपत्रों (citizen charter) से अलग कैसे है?

  • नागरिक अधिकारपत्र किसी संगठन के द्वारा लिखित प्रारूपमें जनता के लिए की गई स्वेच्छिक घोषणा है.
  • नागरिक अधिकारपत्रों शुरुआत:
    • विश्व में 1997: इंग्लेंड के प्रधान मंत्री जोंन मेजर द्वारा, तथा,
    • भारत में 1997: प्रधानमंत्री की अध्यक्षता में नई दिल्ली में आयोजित विभिन्न राज्यों /संघ राज्य क्षेत्रों के मुख्यमंत्रियों के सम्मेलन के बाद इसे क्रियान्वित किया गया.
  • सामान्यत: नागरिक अधिकारपत्रों में निम्न चीजो को शामिल किया जाता है: संस्था के कार्यो, सेवाओ, की सूचि, इसमें लगने वाला सामान्य समय, फ़ीस; कार्यालय और उसकी अलग-अलग सेवाओ की खिड़कियो के खुलने व् बंध होने का समय, शिकायत निवारण तन्त्र व् उसतक पहोचने के ब्योरे इत्यादि.
  • यानि के नागरिक अधिकार पत्र से आपको ये जानकारी मिलती है, की कोई विभाग क्या काम करता है. जबकि टोरा-अनुरूप वेबपेज से आपको ये जानकारी मिलेगी की वो सरकारी सेवा, परमिट वगेरा लेना के लिए आपकी तरफ से क्या प्रक्रिया / कागजी कार्यवाही करनी होगी.

ये TORA सुचना अधिकार (RTI) से अलग कैसे है ?

  • सूचना का अधिकार अधिनियम भारतीय संसद द्वारा 2005 में पारित किया गया.
  • सुचना अधिकार सभी प्रकार के प्रशासनीक निर्णयो को सार्वजनिक कर भ्रष्टाचार व् भाई-भतीजावाद से लड़ने, व् जनता के प्रति सरकार की पारदर्शिता और जवाबदेही को बढाने के लिए बनाया गया है.
  • आम नागरिक या व्यावसायिक को सरकारी संस्थान  से कोई चीज / अनुमति / परमिट इत्यादि लेने के लिए क्या प्रकिया करनी होगी उसका सरल व् एकीकृत किस्म की नियमावली वेबसाईट पर रखवाना टोरा का उद्देश्य है. जबकि सुचना अधिकार का उद्देश्य व् व्याप टोरा से काफी बड़ा है.
  • उदा. टोरा के अंतर्गत ग्रामविकास विभाग व् जिला प्रशासनने मनरेगा कार्ड बनाने की विधी को वेबसाईट पे प्रकाशित करना होगा, वहीँ, आर.टी.आई. के अंतर्गत न केवल एसी विधी बल्कि कीस जिले में कितने व्यक्तिओं के कार्ड बनवाये गए, किस प्रोजेक्टमें कितना पैसा चुकाया गया, वगेरा सभी चीजो का ब्यौरा माँगा जा सकता है.
  • कलिष्ट भाषामें बनाये गये दर्जनों परिपत्रो को नोटिसबोर्ड या वेबसाइट पर प्रकाशित कर एक विभाग सुचना अधिकार का पालन तो कर सकता है, किन्तु टोरा के अंतर्गत उसका विषयानुसार  एकीकरण व् सरलीकरन अनिवार्य होगा.

आलोचना / प्रस्तावित टोरा का मुल्यांकन

  1. वेसे तो आरटीआई कानून के अंर्तगत ही, सार्वजनिक संस्थानोंने सक्रिय रूप से अपने कार्यो की जानकारी का ब्यौरा देना है, अत: टोरा नामक नया कानून बनाने की वजाय, आरटीआई कानून में ही संशोधन कर ऐसे संस्थानों को अपनी नियमावली नवीनतम, एकीकृत और सरलीकृत भाषा में वेबसाईट पर रखने के लिए बाध्य करना ज्यादा उचित होगा.
  2. दूसरा, यदि टोरा-अनुरूप वेबपेज पढकर नागरिकने जरूरी दस्तावेज/प्रमाणपत्र जमा किये, फिर भी उसे कोई सेवा, परमिट. लायसन्स नही मिल रहा, और नागरिक अधिकारपत्र में सूचित समस्या निवारण अधिकारी भी उसका हल नही दे रहे, तो उसका इलाज न टोरा, आरटीआई व् नागरिक अधिकारपत्र में से किसी में नही.
  3. (सार्वजनिक) सेवा के अधिकार और सुचना के अधिकार के पारस्परिक संबंध को देखते हुए, उचित ये होगा की आर.टी.आई. कानून में ही संशोधन से टोरा के प्रावधानो को शामिल किया जाए, तथा, सार्वजनिक सेवा के अधिकार कानून को अलग से पारित किया जाय जिसमे नागरिक अधिकारपत्र भी सम्मिलित हो.

सार / Conclusion

  • सतत विकास लक्ष्यों के अंतर्गत, सभी देशोने सभी व्यक्तिओं को न्याय व् सार्वजनिक सेवाए देने हेतु, सभी स्तरों पर कारगर, जवाबदेह और समोवेशी संस्थाओ का निर्माण करना है.
  • इस अनुसन्धानमें वेसे तो भारत में पहेले से ही नागरिक अधिकारपत्र (१९९७), तथा सुचना अधिकार (२००५) की स्थापना हो चुकी है, किन्तु बिखरे हुए नियम-कानुनो के चलते इन दोनों प्रणालीओ का महत्तम लाभ लोगो को नही मिल रहा.
  • टोरा कानून लागू करने से इस खाध की पूर्ति में वाकई मदद मिलेगी. [या फिर प्रश्न में क्या पूछा गया है, उस प्रकार से आलोचना मुद्दा नम्बर ३.]

 

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13 Comments on “[AW/GSM4] Art of Answer writing: Transparency of Rules Act (TORA) vs RTI vs Citizen Charter for Transparency, Accountability & Good Governance”

  1. keep it up! Your written material is the best.

  2. बेहतरीन

  3. Thanks a lot for your tireless efforts in providing invaluable knowledge and guidence to indian youth.

  4. Nostalgia. Best place for written articles.

    SDG 16 important for Pub ad.
    Entire article great for Pub ad.
    If there is anyone from pub ad still remaining. 😄

  5. great sir…graet work ……thanks a lot

  6. nyc article sir …

  7. गज़ज़्ब ……

  8. Really sir commendable work….
    Hat’s off to you

  9. Thank You Mrunal sir…your written articles are better than video lectures..means user friendly

  10. Innovative n Lucid explanation as always ! Mrunal rocks :)

  11. I think tora, rti and citizens charter are not compared with sufficient elucidation. Tora is about transparency in regulation or what is expected of individual citizens. Citizen charter is what is expected from the state for all the taxes we pay, or transparency for improving accountability of state. Third rti is about providing information of functioning of executive, whether what it promises (right to punlic services)(not a right just as dpsp are not enforceable) or whether what it expects (regulatory requirements, rules etc.)( mandatory because this is how state are, social justice etc.). In this way both tora and citizens charter are two opposite facets of rti.

  12. SIR , please shift back your content from video s to written articles. they are much better, easy to understand and revise and much involving . please sir

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