RTI activist Commodore (Retd.) Lokesh K. Batra, who has played a significant role in popularizing the Electronic Indian Postal Order (e-IPO), shed light on the developments and the future of the facility in his latest communication.
The e-IPO was released on March 22 this year for 'Indian Citizens' abroad' to be able to purchase Indian Postal Order electronically by paying a RTI Fee on-line through e-Post Office Portal of the Department of Posts.
Lokesh Batra said that since there were no initiatives taken by the Government to bring awareness of the eIPO facility among 'Indian Citizens' abroad', in July this year he took up case with Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Batra has expressed satisfaction with the response he got from both the MOIA and the MEA.
"Must say both Ministries (MOIA and MEA) took prompt action and issued directions on July 23, 2013 and August 02, 2013, respectively to all Heads of Missions and Posts abroad to undertake awareness of eIPO facility for payment of RTI Fee and Cost," Lokesh Batra said.
Following this, Lokesh Batra's next step was to ensure that the MOIA and MEA efforts do not remain on papers only, and so he communicated via over 130 email letters between August 19-24 2013.
Lokesh Batra got response of thanks from 14 Missions, while many others did act on his request by posting eIPO links.
As of August 24, 2013, 37 of the total 125 Missions (30 percent) have indicated eIPO information on their website.
Presently, the eIPO facility is provided to 'Indian Citizens' abroad' for 2369 public authorities consisting of Ministries and mainly Departments of Central Government.
According to Lokesh Batra, future proposals will look to extend the eIPO facility for filing RTIs in Indian Missions and Posts abroad, an initiative which is also under consideration in MEA and DoPT.
Additionally, Batra said that efforts are also on to get the facility extended for purchasing eIPO for all Central and State Public authorities in India, who accept IPO as mode of RTI Fee.