Reach of RTI is negligible in Raj

Today News, Jaipur, April 29, 2010

Citizens of Rajasthan do not seem to be much influenced by a revolutionary Act like Right to Information (RTI). In a study it was revealed that only 37% population of the state is aware of the Act and hardly a 5.5% uses it as a tool to fight corruption.

The findings of CUTS International were presented on Tuesday in a seminar organised along with Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF).

According to the study, 78% of Public Information Officers (PIOs) have heard about this Act but many say that they have not received any RTI applications yet. A set of recommendations was also presented in the meeting to simplify the processes of selected government schemes.

“Even after 65 years of independence, a large proportion of Indian population, act as ‘passive citizens’ and thus their contribution towards eradication of corruption in various sectors is zero,” said Jagadananda, state information commissioner of Orissa. RTI Act, if used wisely, can work wonders in controlling the menace of corruption in India, he added.

Experts say that RTI Act is one of the progressive Acts the independent India had seen. It has the potential to strengthen the democracy, bring in transparency in the development processes and combat corruption. But without proper knowledge of the usage, it is of no use. He stressed on awareness building of the general mass on its usage.

This project was launched in 2009, through empowered network of ‘Consortium of Groups for Combating Corruption’. Three flagship government programmes, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana and Indira Awaas Yojana implemented by the State Rural Development Department were targeted for advocacy under RTI Act.

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