RTI act : a step forward to true SWARAJ

25 06 2009

rti imgRTI Act, 2005 is the most phenomenal change that the Government has ever brought in the history of independent India. The act empowers the common man to seek the reasons for delays or negligence in public work & welfare by Government agencies. The RTI ( Right To Information Act ) has come out to be as the most potent weapon for all sections of society to come up with conviction & take on the most powerful. Gone are the days when you couldn’t ask an official to explain the reason why he is not being given the ration card, or why did an honest policeman got transferred for no reasons known! All the Government Institutions are answerable to the common man’s queries & is liable to answer back within a given time period.

The problem of corruption that once looked like unconquerable is now in our hands to solve. There was a time when we felt being completely fouled by the public servants. You never got your work done without bribing the officials .

an ideal public servant

an ideal public servant

But with the RTI act coming in, there seems to be a ray of hope & brings a lot of transparency in governance. The salient features are :

  • Reasons for seeking information need not be given.
  • If the officer concerned doesn’t respond, he is liable to pay a penalty to be deducted from his salary.
  • The act is applicable only to citizens & not to organizations.
  • There is a small application fee. But the people below poverty line are exempted. If the reply doesn’t come in the given deadline, the information should be provided free of cost.
  • Information means any material in any form but does not include ‘file notings ’.
  • Note that the act is not applicable to Jammu & Kashmir.

The response from the public has been immense. Out of the 15000 to 16000 applications received per month , the central commission is able to clear only 1800 cases. Maharashtra being the pioneer state ,has already seen around 3.7 lakh queries being filed in the last 4 years. Bihar has been exemplary by launching call centers to assist people to file their queries.

Further information & guidelines could be obtained from:
1)Portal of The Government Of India ( http://indiaimage.nic.in )
2)Portal on the right to information ( www.rti.gov.in )
3)Website of the central information commission ( http://cic.gov.in )
4)Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_Information_Act )

The real impact of RTI act is yet to unfold as the rural India is still ignorant to it. There should more a greater involvement from the rural India to ensure overall development. Encouraging the common man to take part in this great movement that is next only to the freedom struggle should be high on the Government’s agenda.

The National RTI Awards 2009, instituted this year by Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF), aims to honor every year starting the year 2009, those Information Commissioners, Public Information Officers and Citizens who display exemplary commitment towards the Right to Information Act, 2005. Each award will carry a citation, a plaque and prize money of Rs. 2 Lakhs. This is a great step to encourage the usage of the act by the common man & boost their confidence.

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