Skip to main content

Right to Information on Wheels, Gujarat initiative, begins Bharat Yatra from J&K amidst apprehensions on RTI

By Our Representative
Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah flagged off Right to Information (RTI) Bharat Yatra on June 16 in Jammu, organized by Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP) amidst clear signals emerging that the powerful tool promoting transparency may come under Government of India scanner, with efforts being made to point towards how RTI has become a "hindrance" to growth. Supported in J&K by Sangharsh J&K RTI Movement, the multi-media van, RTI on Wheels, will become the vehicle of MAGP’s RTI Bharat Yatra across India over the next few months.
In Jammu, Balvinder Singh, convenor, Sangarsh RTI Movement J&K stated, “RTI has proved to be a powerful tool in the hands of common citizens. It has helped efforts to make government transparent and accountable. It is necessary that the powerful tool reaches to common citizen.”
MAGP and Sangharsh RTI Movement J&K are part of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) and the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), the two national platforms seeking to promote transparency in governance.
While flagging off the RTI Bharat Yatra, Abdullah was accompanied by the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu and inspector general of police (IGP) Jammu. In a statement, MAGP, said, “A start of RTI Bharat Yatra programme from J&K gives encouraging message to citizens of the nation that RTI will make our democracy participatory and more meaningful.” `
Harinesh Pandya, MAGP founder, said, “RTI Bharat Yatra aims at sharing and learning from each other, and it will connect RTI users across nation. We are happy that RTI Yatra has got momentous start. We appeal the J&K government to initiate RTI on Wheels for the J&K region, so that citizens are informed about government programmes, budget allocations and schemes proactively. RTI on Wheels will conduct its outreach programme in Doda, Srinagar, Badgaun, Pulwama, Rambag, Shopian, Poonch and Rajouri over the next few days.”
During its all-India campaign, which will continue for the entire year, the MAGP’s RTI on Wheels will be supported by respective state organizations making RTI as a tool to bring about greater transparency in governance. India’s first multi-media van for RTI awareness, RTI on Wheels is supported by the Association for India’s Development (AID), a volunteer group mainly consisting of Indian scholars in various universities in the US.
AID has been supporting several people’s organizations across India for quite some time now, including the Agariya Hit Rakshak Manch, working in Kutch among salt-pan workers.
The programme has been launched against the backdrop of government effort to curb the voluntary sector’s foreign links in some measure. An Intelligence Bureau report to the Prime Minister’s office recently blamed India’s voluntary sector for retarding the country’s economic development by 2-3 per cent.
Already, the view has gone strong among certain circles close to the establishment in Delhi that RTI is proving to be a “drain” on government resources. The Reserve Bank of India recently prepared a report which said that nationalized banks should be kept out of the RTI purview, for which, if needed, these should be privatized.

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.

Election Commission suffering from worst-ever "credibility crisis": Ex-bureaucrats

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, a group of ex-bureaucrats have lamented ‘weak-kneed’ responses of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Citing various violations of the model code of conduct, and pointing towards how ECI has taken little action, the letter asks the President to tell ECI to “conduct itself in a manner where its independence, fairness, impartiality and efficiency are not questioned.”

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.