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Ten Years of RTI (Right to Information Act): What Do We Know?

20 Oct 2015

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  • Title: Ten Years of RTI (Right to Information Act): What Do We Know?
  • Author(S): Prashant Sharma
  • Date: 15 Oct 2015
  • Publication: Down To Earth

The RTI has brought us much joy. Several large (and small) scandals have been exposed through its use. Many entitlements have been provided when it has been used, at times even at the prospect of it being used. Scarcely a day goes by without a mention of the RTI in the news. It has brought in a palpable sense of empowerment in the lives of many ordinary Indians, not to mention activists and citizen groups. We even have a new kind of social worker – the RTI Activist.

But 10 years later, we also know a few other things. We know that the government that brought in the Act presided over the greatest corruption scandals that the country has ever known. We know that with thousands of appeals waiting to be heard (regardless of whether the Chief Information Commissioner has been appointed or not), a piece of legislation that had been supposedly designed to ensure effective implementation is collapsing under its own weight. (We already knew it, some would say, given the state of our judicial system.) We know that political parties love to take credit for the RTI, but are loath to submit to it. We know that NGOs love the RTI, but rarely make public details of their finances and functioning anywhere close to the extent which they want the government to. We know that the media uses the RTI with great gusto, but we do not know who owns the media, and we certainly cannot use the RTI Act to find that out.

To view the entire news article by Down To Earth, and republished by Youth ki Awaaz.

To access the related book on the Right to Information (RTI) Act in India by UNRISD Visiting Fellow Prashant Sharma "Democracy and Transparency in the Indian State: The Making of the Right to Information Act", © 2015 – Routledge.

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