Thursday, February 27, 2014

Now pay RTI fees online for 2,496 Central govt offices

Dear Comrades,

A six year tenacious battle by Delhi-based RTI activist Commodore (retd) Lokesh Batra has resulted in the government facilitating eIPO for payment of RTI fees in 2,496 central government offices
Since 22 March 2013, only Indians abroad had the facility of paying Right to Information (RTI) fee online, for their e-RTI applications. Since 13 February 2014, all of us living in India too can use online RTI by paying the fee through electronic Indian Postal Order (eIPO) in 2,496 central government’s public authorities. As for public authorities of state governments, you can pay your RTI fees online but you need to take out a print-out of the eIPO and attach it to your RTI application.
According to RTI activist Commodore (retd) Lokesh Batra, who single-handedly has pursued this campaign since the last six years, there is much enthusiasm for the eIPO facility, but a mass public awareness needs to be created through media and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the field of RTI.

The eIPO facility is important in terms of national savings too. As per a costing exercise undertaken in 2011-2012, the operational cost of a postal order is Rs37.45.  This information came as a response to an RTI filed by an activist to the Department of Posts on 18 October 2013. An eIPO now comes virtually free, besides relieving citizens of the inconvenience of standing in long queues at Post Offices to procure an IPO.
In order to purchase the eIPO online, go to the e-Post Office Portal or India Post web-site A link for e-Post Office has been provided to create his/ her profile for the first time. Both Debit and Credit cards of any Bank powered by Visa/ Master can be used.
The Department of Posts, which has created this facility, spells out the following salient features of eIPO:     

  • The eIPO facility is extended to Indian Citizens living in India

  • Indian Postal Order can be purchased online in electronic form termed as ‘electronic  Indian Postal Order(eIPO)

    All the requirements for filing an RTI application as well as other provisions regarding eligibility, time limit, exemptions etc., as provided in the RTI Act, 2005 will continue to apply

  • The applicant will have to get himself/herself registered at ePost office portal of India Post i.e. or through India Post web site (where a link for ePostoffice has been provided) to avail this facility to pay RTI fee. Email ID, Mobile number, address, date of birth and gender etc. will be captured at the time of registration.

  • For the process of registration as at (iv) above, email id and mobile number are mandatory. The codes for verification would be sent by the system on email id as well as mobile number provided while registering

  • The applicant has to select the Ministry/Department from whom he/she desires to seek the information under the RTI Act and the eIPO so generated can be used to seek information from that Ministry/Department only

  • Payment of RTI fee can be made using Debit card or Credit card of any Bank powered by VISA/Master

  • The eIPO service will be available at the web address It can also be accessed through the link given on India Post website
  •  A unique number for each transaction would be generated by the system which is to be used as eIPO number

  • A printout of the eIPO is required to be attached with the RTI application. If the RTI application is being filed electronically, eIPO is required to be attached as an attachment
Calling this as true participatory governance, Cmde Batra says the government responded positively to suggestions made by a citizen. So, what did it take to make eIPO, a reality? Following is the chronology of Cmde Batra’s campaign, to whom, all Indians in India and abroad need to thank.

  • It all started in October 2008 when Cmde Batra was visiting his daughter in Boston (USA) and wanted to file follow up RTI in the Nithari case but could not do as there was no facility for payment of RTI fee/cost from abroad

  • Between 2008 to 2013, Cmde Batra filed 150 RTI applications to Indian Mission in the US, Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Secretariats of President and Vice President and Leaders of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. A complaint was also filed in Central Information Commission (CIC).

  • 16 August 2010: Secretary or DoPT addressed two identical letters to the than Secretary (Post) and the than Foreign Secretary seeking solution

  • 6 September 2010: Secretary (Post) offered solution through their Virtual Post Office

  • 22 March 2013: Electronic Indian Postal Order (e-IPO) launched for Indian Citizens’  Abroad"  After protracted efforts/deliberations within Government and RBI and Activists the Department of Posts (DOP) came out with service of Electronic Indian Postal Order more known as e-IPO. This is a facility for ‘Indian Citizens’ abroad’ to be able to purchase Indian Postal Order electronically by paying RTI Fee on-line through e-Post Office Portal of the DOP.

  • 7 October 2013:On his proposal to Secretaries of MEA, DoPT and Department of Posts (DOP), the above e-IPO facility was extended on 7 October 2013 for “Indian Citizens’ abroad “ to include all 176 Indian Missions abroad in the above list making it to total 2,492. Central Public Authorities including Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) and union territories (UTs).

  • 22 October 2013: Cmde Batra sent a proposal to the secretaries of DoPT and DOP to “open the existing e-IPO facilities for our citizens’ living in India too”, for payment of RTI fee / cost consisting of 2,492 central public authorities, including 176 Indian Missions abroad, GNCTD and UTs).Polite Reminders were sent on 24 December 2013 and again on 2 January 2014.

  • 8 January 2014: The DOP sent confirmation to DoPT about acceptance of the proposal and DOP’s approval to now “Open existing e-IPO facility for our ‘Citizens’ living in India”

  • 9 January 2014: In response, DoPT welcomed the DOP’s acceptance

  • Launching : 13 February 2013 at 11AM : At Dak Bhawan
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