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

US research: 40% of India's casteist Facebook posts are anti-reservation, anti-Dalit

By Rajiv Shah
A recent American civil society research has found that 40% of India's casteist posts on Facebook (FB) have anti-reservation slant. Asserting that the reservation policy in India is similar to affirmative action in the United States, the research study, titled "Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech", says, this type of hate content on FB is mainly directed against Dalits and Adivasis.

Sanjiv Bhatt paying price for deposing on Modi role in Gujarat riots: Wife Shweta

Counterview Desk
Following the Jamnagar sessions court ordering life imprisonment to former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for his alleged involvement in three decades old custodial death case, his wife Shweta Bhatt has said that he has been sentenced for a “for a crime he did not commit”, even as criticizing the Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, Gujarat, for not standing up for him.

How Gujarat govt imposed curbs on livestock export for 'fear' of losing BJP vote share

By RK Misra*
Insidious are the ways authorities function, preaching one thing, practicing quite another. Administrative muscle-flexing to suit political goals was on display when the BJP-led Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat banned the export of livestock days ahead of Eid. Even the Narendra Modi-led government expressed its intent to confirm it countrywide, but stopped short of doing so.

One of the least peaceful countries, India's global peace ranking deteriorates: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report has asserted that India's ranking in the Global Peace Index (GPI) is 141st among 163 countries, deteriorating by four ranks in a year. Ranking 163 countries by providing a score to each, the report, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), headquartered in Sydney, Australia, has found India to be one of the least peaceful nations in the region.

Sabarmati 'cleaned up' swimming pool style: Untreated effluents discharged in river

Counterview Desk
In a fresh letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, senior Gujarat environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) have taken strong objection to the recent clean-up drive of the about 11.3 km stretch of Sabarmati riverbed undertaken by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), terming it as “swimming pool type clean-up.” The river’s total length is 371 km.

Jharkhand mob lynching: Adivasis protest police 'inaction', FIR against victims

Counterview Desk
The Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM), a civil rights network, on Monday sponsored a protest against the police action against the Adivasi victims of the lynching which took on April 10, 2019, in Jurmu village of Dumri block in Gumla district of Jharkhand. The incident led the death of Prakash Lakda, aged 50.

Senior advocates targeted because they took up cases against Amit Shah: Lawyers' NGO

Counterview Desk
The Lawyers Collective (LC), an NGO claiming to promote human rights issues, has expressed surprise at the latest move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Lawyers Collective (LC), its president Anand Grover and unknown office bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

Shah Bano case: Arif Mohd Khan gives clean chit to Rajiv Gandhi, says Modi can't take credit for talaq order

By Our Representative
In an usual defence of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Arif Mohammad Khan, the UP politician who quit the Rajiv Cabinet in 1986 over its stance on the Shah Bano case, has said that he does not "believe that Rajiv Gandhi took the decision to overturn the Supreme Court verdict" on the case "on his own."

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.

FIR against Lawyers’ Collective a ‘witch-hunt’ of outspoken human rights defenders

Counterview Desk
In a statement, Ravi Kiran Jain* and Dr V Suresh** of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) have said the CBI’s FIR against the Lawyers’ Collective and senior advocate Anand Grover is an undisguised attempt to silence not just the top human rights organization but is also meant to “serve as a lesson to all others who dare to challenge the Central Government.”
Calling the FIR “motivated, vengeful and vituperative act”, PUCL said the Lawyers’ Collective, which has for 38 years of its existence has taken up cases related with domestic violence, human rights, labour and womens’ rights, adding, among the important ones are the “Naz case on rights of the LGBTQ community, the Novartis case, the Sabarimala case, the triple talaaq case and the Sohrabuddin case, in which current Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah was involved.”
Demanding immediate withdrawal of the FIR, PUCL said, “The case lodged against the organization smacks of vendetta for its exceptional …