Saturday, June 14, 2008

Using RTI Act to get more information

Ever since the RTI Act came into existence, it has been seen as a powerful instrument to clear out secrecy of movements of records within the bureaucracy, and of helping to explain as to what decisions are made on what basis. It could be seen as a powerful laser-strength light shines like a powerful sun on the cobwebs of the Government bureaucracy and exposes corruption; however, one of the main problems seen is the inability of normal street level people to make sure of it. This has been seen as one of the main problems of the Act, it is only as good as the ability of people to use it.
Well, it seems like people are slowly catching on, and this awareness, even if more pronounced in urban areas, will slowly move through the whole country. Even a slight increase in awareness and a reduction in corruption and stealth of Government operations will do wonders for the enhancement of citizens. Imagine the power of a villager being able to find out where the money alloted for improving a road went to ? In many cases, just the act of filing a RTI petition can cause the concerned officials to move much faster. Consider these examples of how the RTI Act seems to be catching on:

Armed with the Right to Information (RTI) Act, citizens are posing peculiar questions to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) at an average of 10 applications per day. The questions range from appointments, service matters, building penalisation scheme etc. It's not the city folk but people from districts and even other states are demanding information.
Consider this. P Anand, a resident of Ashok Nagar in the city sought information on last November's appointment of additional commissioner (heritage) J Kedareshwari. This included whether she was posted in GHMC through an open advertisement and why her appointment was done in haste and the qualifications and eligibility for the post.

It is really heartening to see this movement catching up on; if this continues and becomes a mass movement, then we will finally see levels of corruption coming down and the influence of vested interests will start coming down.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 2:08 AM