Use RTI for a Better Dwarka

RTI ACT, 2005- Use it for a Better Dwarka
M. K. Gupta

You are tired of sending letters and reminders to Govt. offices, but have not even got acknowledgement, leave aside action on your genuine grievance. This may be due to that either the officials are indifferent or expect bribe for doing work. File application under Right to Information Act, 2005 and ask for information on the action taken on your letters and reminders.
Some salient features:
*RTI act is good in fight with corruption, enable transparent working and give opportunity of public participation in Governance by empowering the powerless citizens.

*So far, it has achieved many remarkable successes in exposing corruption. Scam involving crores of rupees deducted from the salary of the employees of the Coal India Ltd. for the Prime Minister Relief Fund but were not deposited was discovered by the use of the Act. Ashok Malhotra scam (Chollegate) involving MCD, irregularities in the distribution of aid to flood victims in Mumbai and numerous other cases of corruption came to the light because of the reply of RTI applications. An NGO is now at work to detect the large-scale corruption in the Grameen Rojgar Scheme at Unnao (U.P.) by conducting social audit.

*Citizens are not required to pay any cash for query and therefore no chance of cash for query like scam.The Act empowers ordinary citizens and put them at par with MPs and MLAs in the matter of seeking information from the Public Authorities. While an MP can ask get information during the Parliament session only, there is no such limitation with this Act.

* If such an Act has been in existence earlier, probably big scams like Bofors and others may not have taken place.

* That on denial to provide the information, Central Information Commission can impose penalty of Rs. 250 per day up to Rs. 25,000/- on the Public Information Officer, apart from recommending disciplinary action against him.

*In some cases, RTI has proved more effective than fighting the case in Court as after receiving accurate and to the point information by filing the RTI application, citizen can file the case in the court and thus can save precious time by getting quick decision.

*This Act has helped to curtail undue delay in issuing passport, ration-card and quick action in such other works.

*With the help of this Act, citizens have been able to compel the government and civic agencies to undertake the development work quickly.

*Due to this, India’s rating in corruption infected countries has improved.

*The Act has been an effective tool in controlling corruption, indifferent attitude of the bureaucracy.

*The effectiveness of an RTI application depends on the sharpness of the queries, which is an art and comes with the experience.RTI Act already exists in 65 countries but the Indian Act is the best.

*That the decision about the coverage under RTI Act for private companies and public utilities such as discoms like BSES and NDPL is pending.

*That despite some shortcomings, it is the best remedy available today. This is quick, cheap and no need to engage a lawyer. However, no Law of the land is from the shortcomings.


Source: Dwarka Paichay News and information services