The Right to Information Act: Turning it into an Effective Tool to Combat Corruption in Governance
Consultant; Ashoka: Innovators for the Public
December 31, 2006
Following the recent global trend towards recognition of the right to information, the Delhi government passed the Right to Information Act (RTIA) in 2001, which was subsequently followed by eight other Indian states. It is poised to become a national Act in November 2005. Under this Act, any citizen can approach the competent authority in a state department and seek any information on the activities of that department and take copies of documents. If refused, the official concerned is liable to be penalised. Despite this, the real picture continues to be different. Corrupt government departments refuse to part with information, taking full advantage of the common citizenry's lack of awareness regarding the Act. Delhi-based Ashoka Fellow Arvind Kejriwal is using the RTIA to tilt the balance in favour of the people. His idea is simple: create awareness among the people and the state departments about the Act and then use it as a powerful tool to ensure transparency and accountability in state machinery, which in turn will check corruption. How does he do it? He uses three basic tools: public awareness, Delhi's Right to Information Act and a unique platform called the Jan Sunwai (public hearing).
Number of Pages in PDF File: 8
Keywords: social entrepreneurship, ashoka, freedom of information, right to information, transparency
Date posted: April 20, 2007
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