Thursday, February 06, 2014

Govt announces 4 RTI fellowships valued Rs 2 lakh each; journalists, NGO activists eligible to apply

ARE you a journalist or a civil society activist or an RTI trainer in the age bracket of 25 to 40 years? And if you are willing to do a three-month-long research on facets of Right to Information (RTI) and its successes or constraints, the government may consider you for a stipend of Rs 2 lakh for completing an RTI Fellowship. The number of such fellowships, as…
announced by the government’s personnel department, DoPT, are four, and the last date of submission of the application is February 25, 2014. The government believes that the research output will enhance its understanding of the status of the implementation of the RTI Act, including its successes, or constraints in its implementation and how those could be overcome.
Here are some details of the fellowship as announced by the DoPT:

No of Fellowships
DoPT proposes to offer 4 (Four) short-term fellowships to researchers from the field of media/journalism/civil society organisations associated with RTI/ RTI trainers to conduct field based research on themes relating to RTI.

Who can Apply
The fellowship is open to individuals in the age group of 25 to 40 years from the field of journalism (newspaper/magazine/radio/TV), civil society organisations associated with RTI and researchers and trainers in the field of RTI. The applicant should have proven credentials in his/her professional area, have some prior experience of work relating to the Right to Information and should have an aptitude for research. 

Research Output
RTI fellowships would be granted for researching any theme relating to RTI with the objective of contributing towards better understanding of the successes of RTI and/or constraints in its implementation and how implementation of the Act could be strengthened?

Examples of Themes
Issues relating to awareness generation and accessibility for seeking information in the remote areas/villages.
(b) Role of civil society in strengthening RTI regime and how government may coordinate with the efforts of the CSOs.
(c) Successes of RTI in improving transparency and accountability.
(d) Issues in functioning of Central Information Commission/State Information Commissions.
(e) Ensuring Implementation of provisions and guidelines regarding pro-active disclosures.
(f) Best practices from the field.

The proposal should clearly indicate the monthly as well as final output that will be delivered at the end of the fellowship. It could be in the nature of a monograph of 10,000 words which is ready for publication, or features/news stories/investigative stories that could be printed/published as a journalistic piece in national/international media or, in the case of professionals from the field of audio-video media, it could even be short video films or stories.  

The copyright of the research output will vest in government of India who may publish the research output and/or may use it in any other way for the purpose of strengthening the working of the RTI regime in the country. Government of India may, however, upon request, permit the Fellow to use the output for publication etc., if government itself does not publish/make use of the output within one year.

The fellowships would be for a duration of three months.

Compensation and Funding
Each selected Fellow will receive a total stipend of up to Rs 2 lakh (subject to tax deduction at source), including a grant of up to Rs 50,000 for books, research material, travel, printing, production of creative etc. on production of actual bills.
b) The stipend will be disbursed as follows:-
(i) Rs 50,000 – On acceptance of the 1st monthly progress report by an expert group
(ii) Rs 50,000 – On acceptance of the 2nd monthly progress report by an expert group
(iii) Rs 50,000 – On acceptance of the final output by competent authority in DOPT.
(iv) Up to Rs 50,000 – For books, research material, travel, printing, production of creative etc. on acceptance of the final output by competent authority in DoPT and on production of the actual bills.

RTI fellows will be selected on the basis of appraisal of the application and the research proposal and/or interviews/presentation of the proposal. The proposals will be evaluated on the basis of evaluation criteria detailed below.
Application for fellowship should be accompanied by the following documents:
a) A comprehensive proposal (not more than 6-8 A4 size pages) outlining the subject to be researched, the research plan and the monthly and final deliverables.
b) Curriculum vitae (no more than 3 A4 sheets) along with a photograph.
c) A brief statement of work done in the field of RTI.
d) Two references from professionals familiar with the applicant’s work from his/her professional field.
e) A no-objection from the present employer, if any.

Final Selection
Final selection will be made on the evaluation of the proposals. However the selection committee may call short-listed candidates for an interview/presentation in Delhi, before finalizing the selection.

How to Apply?
Five sets of the application with enclosures in the enclosed proforma may be sent by post to Under Secretary (IR), Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India, North Block, New Delhi- 110001 Applications received by 5 PM, 24th February, 2014 only will be considered.
The Fellowship Guideline

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