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Role of Designated Officers Crucial in Effective Implementation of RTI Act

Effective implementation of Right to Information (RTI) Act is pivotal to strengthen institutionalization of democratic values, good governance and anti-corruption measures. Research shows strong correlation of RTI and proactive disclosure with improved governance, increased transparency and empowerment. As one of the main stakeholders of the RTI process, Designated Officers (DOs) hold distinctive position and can play a catalyst’s role through increased ownership in discharging their duties to implement the RTI Act effectively. 
The observations came up in a day-long training workshop on the Role of Designated Officers in Implementing RTI Act 2009.  TI Bangladesh organized the capacity building initiative on 27th August 2019 at its Dhaka office as a part of its variety of programs marking the upcoming International Right to know (Rtk) day. The training brought together 31 Dos of different public offices among which 26 were male and 5 were female. Under the partnership with the Information Commission, Bangladesh, the training focused on how to share information proactively with the citizens and to strengthen institutional capacity for disclosure on demand. The training included both theoretical and practical sessions. 
Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director, TI Bangladesh inaugurated the training in the morning. In his opening remarks, Dr. Zaman welcomed the participants and emphasized on the necessity of the implementation of the law to move from a deep-rooted culture of secrecy to openness and achieve improved governance, higher levels of transparency and empowerment. Detailing the correlation between RTI act and disclosure of information, Dr. Zaman referred the DOs as one of the main stakeholders and urged the participants to take the catalyst’s role in implementing the RTI Act through increased ownership. Dr. Zaman also stressed on the increased effectiveness and capacity of the IC.   
The training was conducted by a panel of relevant experts from different areas including Ms. Suraiya Begum, ndc Information Commissioner; and Mr. Hasibur Rahman, Executive Director, Management and Resources Development Initiative (MRDI). 
Later at the concluding ceremony, Mr. Martuza Ahmed, Chief Information Commissioner, Information Commission Bangladesh said, the spirit of the RTI Act complements the spirit of constitution which highlights the duty of public officials to serve the citizens. Referring to different provisions of the act, Mr. Ahmed stressed on the significance and the necessity of proactive disclosure as per the law. Mr. Ahmed also thanked TIB for organizing such capacity building initiative and hoped that the participants would utilize the learnt lesson in discharging their duties and responsibilities.  
At the end, certificates were handed over to the participants.