Right to Information : Starting the Transparency Revolution

Right to Information : Starting the Transparency Revolution Mon, 03 Mar 2014

Right to Information : Starting the Transparency Revolution

Unlike some political parties who only talk about corruption but did not have the courage to notify the enabling rules for the Freedom of Information Act, the UPA government not only brought the law but also ensured that every Indian had the legal right to ask questions.

And these questions led to answers that provided justice to millions of Indians'€¦

Laxmi Devi of Bhiwani district in Haryana lost her son Anoop Singh, who was working in the Delhi Police, in a road accident in 2001. Her her daughter-in-law Mamta, who was drawing the family pension, re-married in August 2005, leaving her penniless.

She appealed to the Central Information Commission (CIC) for gaining access to file notings made by authorities on her son'€™s dossier regarding the payment of terminal benefits totalling about Rs 4 lakh and his family pension and this was within months of the act being introduced.

In Sept 2008, Muddasar Ali forced Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in Delhi to provide free treatment to his 73-year-old mother after doctors allegedly sought medicines worth Rs 30,000 from him for her hip-replacement surgery.

People have sought land records, sought details of the admission process in the CAT exams, some have even used the RTI to get back dues from the LIC while some brave women sought details on where food-grains meant for the Public Distribution System was going.

And then there was a case of Ratnaji, a visually impaired person from Rangaru village in Rajkot in Gujarat, who exposed corruption in the development works in his village. The RTI documents showed that many works registered as completed were actually never taken up or remained incomplete.

A total of 3,74,048 RTI applications were received during 2011-12. All these efforts have helped cleanse the system of corruption and each RTI has been a step towards accountable governance.

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