Sunday, July 29, 2007

Nurse uses RTI to penalize officials for delay

For some time now, people and organizations working to promote the use of RTI as an instrument to bring the babudom in check have been advocating the use of RTI by people in a more wide spread way. Frequent use of RTI for ferreting out information, along with penalizing officials for failure to carry out their duties is the only way to sensitize the bureaucracy towards their responsibilities.
The best way to do is to keep on bringing out success stories of the use of RTI, thus making sure that more and more people feel that they can also use this act if they are struck with something in government and they are getting the run-around or not getting satisfactory movement.
The below example is a fabulous example. It is the story of a nurse who was getting the runaround for getting her leave encashment settled for over an year; first RTI helped in getting her dues cleared, and a secondary RTI petition helped in identifying the babus involved in the delay and getting them penalized for the delay.

Vijaya S Mulay, a retired municipal nurse, filed a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act which sought to track the movement (or non-movement) of papers pertaining to her retirement dues. The papers had been pending with the administrative department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for more than a year.
The RTI response revealed the names of the officials who 'sat' on the file for months together. The format also gave a detailed reply which showed where the papers got stuck and for how many days. Following her RTI query, the civic authorities were forced to take action against the errant officials and penalise two BMC employees for the delay.

I ask people to read the story that is linked. It describes how this tenacious nurse, frustrated over the delay in her application, used RTI most effectively. And she was not satisfied only with getting her dues, but wanted to catch the babus who sit on such requests, not caring about this affects the people.
The amount that they were not penalized was not much, but the fact that a censure was made and their names highlighted in the newspaper is a public punishment. It is a reminder that people in government, no matter what their position, are meant to help the common man, the citizen of the country.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 2:20 AM