Only someone who has the courage to listen, and the humility to introspect and change, has the ability to bring about a nation's transformation. We were elected to power in 2004 with a clear mandate from the people of India: to bring transparent and accountable governance.
We realised we were the repositories of a billion people's hopes and trust. We were unflinching in our resolve. Within a year, the Congress-led UPA government delivered the first, and the most decisive, blow to India's closed system of governance when we brought the Right to Information Act (RTI).
It empowers people to ask questions, and makes the government legally bound to answer. More than 10 lakh RTI applications were filed in 2011-12. People have sought land records and used the RTI to get dues from the Life Insurance Corporation. Some women have used the RTI to question the distribution of grains under the Public Distribution System. Countries around the world have recognized the RTI Act's success and now view it as a model to emulate.
Our Aadhaar Unique Identification scheme not only provides proof of identity to millions of Indians who did not have any such proof, but also provides a platform to ensure that corruption, leakages and delays in the delivery of benefits under government welfare schemes can be eliminated. As of February 2014, 57 crore Aadhaar identity numbers have been issued. The Aadhaar based Direct Benefits Transfer Scheme has started the delivery revolution in India. People now get cash subsidies directly in their bank accounts, further devolving power from the state to the people.
In 2013, we passed the Lokpal Bill, which took another unprecedented step towards ensuring probity in public life, even bringing the Prime Minister's office under its ambit. Our commitment to change extended from Parliament to the Prime Minister right through to the internal structure of the Congress Party, where for the first time in India's history, a national party will choose 15 of its candidates for this Lok Sabha general election. The Primary system will enable any citizen to stand as candidate for the Congress Party.
We believe in building a future where transparency begins at home. Join us in making India a model for good governance. Submit your ideas for how we can make all our institutions more transparent: www.incmanifesto.in