Day 45 – Q 2.What positive transformations has the Right to Information (RTI) brought since its inception? Illustrate by taking suitable examples.
2. What positive transformations has the Right to Information (RTI) brought since its inception? Illustrate by taking suitable examples.
सूचना का अधिकार (आरटीआई) अपनी स्थापना के बाद किस प्रकार के सकारात्मक परिवर्तन ला पाया है? उपयुक्त उदाहरण लेकर दर्शाएं।
- Introduction- Features of the Act.
- Positive transformations brought in by the RTI Act
- Way forward and Conclusion
The free flow of information from the State to the citizenry and vice versa, is vital for the health of a modern-day democratic system. The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 was passed in our country after years of struggle by people yearning for a more transparent, accountable and participatory system of governance. The passing of this law by the Parliament was a notable milestone in the evolution of our democracy.
Features of the RTI Act:
- This Act makes every public authority responsible for the dissemination of information that it holds with itself.
- It also casts a statutory obligation upon the Competent Authority to maintain and update all its records in a manner that is consistent with the operational requirements of the Act.
- The salient feature of the Indian legislation is that it took into account the experience of various other countries in enforcing and implementing laws aimed at ensuring freedom of information.
- RTI and Service Delivery: Individuals often use RTI applications to resolve other sorts of service delivery problems like delay in provision of services, obstruction or failure to apply the rules, etc.
Prestigious institutions like the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have been forced to make public, their scaling and admission criteria respectively, as a result of RTI applications. This has made the entire process of selection more transparent.
- Combating Corruption and Malfeasance: Allowing people to seek and receive public documents, serves as a critical tool for fighting corruption. This enables citizens to participate more effectively in public life and makes governments more efficient, which, in turn, helps people to exercise their fundamental human rights in a more effective manner.
There are many examples of citizens and civil society groups using RTI to expose corruption, often at the local level. A grassroots level organization called Mazdoor Kisaan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) which grew out of a local struggle for minimum wages in Rajasthan.
- The Act has produced a better impact on the quality of the life of the poor and the marginalized. During the last ten years, the Act has brought about positive changes in the levels of corruption and accountability.
The disclosure of vital information has resulted in an effective check on corrupt practices in delivery of services and ensuring that entitlements actually reach the intended beneficiaries. Concrete steps needs to be taken to make the filing of RTI applications more convenient.
- Citizens’ Participation in Self-Governance: In its very first report titled “Right to Information: Master Key to Good Governance”, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission has acknowledged that access to information can empower the poor and weaker sections of society to demand information from the Government about public policies and actions, thereby leading to welfare of all.
- Good governance and right to information are complimentary to each other.
The enactment of RTI Act introduces an open and transparent government and gives to every citizen, the right to seek and receive information which in turn, helps to make the administration more responsible and transparent, which ultimately leads to good governance. Thus, the World Bank has rightly remarked that “Right to information is an integral part of good governance”.
Information is indispensable for the functioning of a true democracy. In this age of information technology, RTI is a critical factor in ensuring the country’s socio-cultural, economic and political development.
- The first step towards making RTI realistic would be to have a comprehensive legislative and institutional framework at both the Union and the State level.
- Laws by themselves are not adequate. What is needed is that such progressive laws must be backed by peoples’ movements. Simply making the legislation will not do justice to the information seekers unless it is implemented with strong conviction.
- There is always a great deal of resistance to change and the Indian bureaucracy is no exception to this phenomenon. It has, for generations, been brought up on a culture of secrecy. Efforts to thwart the working of RTI must be dealt with sternly so as to send across the right message to Government functionaries at all levels.
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