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Pune's anti-spam policy bounces out right to information

RTI activists claim that they are facing delivery failures while attempting to send emails to high-ranking officers of the state government; the IT department says that the anti-spam policy is causing the malfunction and it is in the process of resolving the issue

The state government’s tall claims of being a pioneer in e-governance has hit a roadblock since the email ids of top officials have been virtually inactive for the past one month.City-based RTI activists claim that they are facing frequent message delivery failures while attempting to send emails to high-ranking officers of the state government.


The state’s IT department is aware about these complaints and explained the reason for the bouncing of mails to be the anti-spam policy activated for official email addresses issued by the state government.


RTI activists are stunned that the persisting technical glitch has not yet been resolved. One of them, Vivek Velankar, claimed that even mails sent to the chief minister and deputy chief minister are bouncing since the past one-month.


(L to R) RTI Activists Vivek Velankar (president of Sajag Nagrik Manch), Vijay Kumbhar (president of Surajya) and Vihar Durve.
information at a premium: (L to R) RTI Activists Vivek Velankar (president of Sajag Nagrik Manch), Vijay Kumbhar (president of Surajya) and Vihar Durve. File pics



“In 2011, the state government published a Government Resolution (GR) announcing its e-Governance policy under which the government promised to provide all its services using information technology. However, surprisingly, the government has failed in providing even the basic facilities of corresponding with its officials,” said Velankar.


He added that not only mails sent to CM and his deputy are bouncing, but he also faced similar problems while corresponding with the Urban Development ministry.


As per the newly framed rules of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005, it is necessary for all government officials including the chief minister, deputy chief minister and civil servants to respond promptly to all applications and requests sent on email by people.


“How can we expect quick responses from the government officials when they don’t even get our emails?” questioned another RTI activist, Vijay Kumbhar.


Vihar Durve, who frequently keeps a tab on various civic and political issues by sending emails to the CM’s office and officers in Mantralaya, said that the state governor’s email address too is facing a similar crisis.


“I receive delivery failure messages each time I send mails to the official Rajbhavan email address. Besides, if anyone wants to send huge PDF files of informative material, the chances of the mails bouncing are high,” added Durve.


The state IT department is working toward fixing the bugs in the system and has promised to resolve the issue at the
earliest.


“This problem is occurring due to the anti-spam policy accepted by the state government for its official email address. If we relax this policy, then the official email addresses will be attacked with spam mails,” said state IT Secretary, Rajesh Aggarwal.


He added that earlier too he received similar complaints and his team would try to rectify the problem without spam mail problems.

Fact File

Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005, was enacted after eight long years in December 2013.

The act requires the display of the responsibilities of various officials and the time limit for discharge of people’s requests on the ‘citizens charter’ on office premises and websites.

These rules are to be followed by all government officials, from those working in Mantralaya to municipal bodies and panchayats.

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