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Deepak kumar

few burning aspects of RTI

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Respected sir;

I am a student and presently pursuing Economics in my UG course.

I wanted to about some burning questions on RTI. I wd be oblized if you can find

the questions worthy and give yr feedback in full detail:

 

(a):how to create awareness about RTI among all levels of the society(i.e from

humble ones to middle man to rich society)?Give some pts and steps that need to

taken to make it reachable to each one.(like.advertising or...)

 

(b)And How can we make our RTI powerful and effective ?i.e. what measures we sd take

so that we make sure that those practising wrong are virtually trapped?

 

 

 

(

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I think this is very pertinent question but not with simple answer. When in our Indian society we are still not able to percolate the 2 drops campaign for pulse polio with so much of media involvement, WHO, international funding, its really hard to see RTI reaching to full masses in the coming time.

 

However, NGO, Media can all help to narrow the gap.

 

RTI will not be actually trapping people, but making them more accountable and transparent. Every govt orgaization will know that people are watching and will act responsibly.

 

As the trend is people are using RTI to get their work done, rather then exposing or asking for 'public interest'. There need to be some body from within the Govt. who knows what is going on in the department in details, and they should be given the onus to ask the question.

 

Also any decision taken should be on web, or open at a place. Why should somebody go and ask the information. If the information is not classified there is no need to let people ask and then the department replies.

 

I think it should be made conpulsory for the departments to publise their documents in the net. It has already been floated by the CIC, but not followed in spirit. I can only find the list of all PIO of only Postal deparment, why not others?

 

I would suggest RTI India Portal should collect all the information and put it here so that one needs to come here only to get all information.

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I think this is very pertinent question but not with simple answer. When in our Indian society we are still not able to percolate the 2 drops campaign for pulse polio with so much of media involvement, WHO, international funding, its really hard to see RTI reaching to full masses in the coming time.

 

Unless the massess realise there participation in the governannce process it cannot be percolating down to last level. In democracy, it is said its "rule by the people".

 

 

RTI will not be actually trapping people, but making them more accountable and transparent. Every govt orgaization will know that people are watching and will act responsibly.

Very rightly said the aims is to bring accountablity and transperacy.

 

As the trend is people are using RTI to get their work done, rather then exposing or asking for 'public interest'. There need to be some body from within the Govt. who knows what is going on in the department in details, and they should be given the onus to ask the question.

Again the right to ask question is suggested to be given to some one within the governemnt. I wonder, if that happend there may be circumstances, where a seperate act will be required for them as well.

 

I believe RTI is still evolving and its a great tool. Citizen should used this great tool with caution and sincerity and apply test of public interest before asking for any information. As mind less misue will result in some amendment which will make a little difficult to obtain justified information.

 

I would suggest RTI India Portal should collect all the information and put it here so that one needs to come here only to get all information.

 

We welcome such step but for we need dedicated volutneers like you.

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there are so many laws which have not been implemented in spirit. The same way we are witnessing the path of RTI implementation. Govt staff are making use of this act to further their careers, transfers etc,to fight court cases by seeking confidential information under this act. IN organisations almost 50% information seekers are departmental employees.

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  • The general contempt law under IPC is presently used, there should be a clause providing for contempt proceedings within the Act in case of non-compliance of the CIC directions be included in the law.
  • There should be encouragement for introducing a concept of 'Whistle blower'. There is a need to ensure privacy, especially if the person is a whistle blower. It is a matter of his or her security
  • There should be an autonomous body for research and development in the field of RTI which will help in evolution of RTI in India. This forum can also work as an R&D for the Act.
  • There should be autonomous body as suggested by crusader from within the organisation which will help out bring right cases under 'public domain', and not just individual cases.
  • I really do not know about this; but there should be no pressure on CIC from the Government.

These measures will in fact boast and trickle down the phenominon to the grass root level.

 

From the grass root level:

  • There should be a regular column in the newspaper about this issue.
  • Each department should organize workshops and ask people to come out. This I think is important department wise because talking generally will never make common man aware about individual department. The workshop will tell what can be asked from the particular department.
  • All PIO's in the district should meet and conduct seminars and and discuss about the ways to open up.
  • All the cases which are recieved at the PIO, should be publicized and put up for display for public to see and even they should be discussed at workshops.
  • All public distribution system to the field area should contain a slogan about this right of people.

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As this thread is very important and requires more of general discussions I am moving this to 'RTI General Discussions' from 'Ask for RTI support'.

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True blue, you had given great suggestion.

 

  • There should be encouragement for introducing a concept of 'Whistle blower'. There is a need to ensure privacy, especially if the person is a whistle blower. It is a matter of his or her security
    The whistle blowing concept should be popularized, and the complete protection to them should be extended apart from privacy.
  • I really do not know about this; but there should be no pressure on CIC from the Government.
    I agree there should not be pressure. However, as the Act get strengthened, it will then create more pressure. Also the day CIC start punishing the officers, it will build the pressure. So the real litmus test of sustaining pressure will come after that time.
  • There should be a regular column in the newspaper about this issue.
    Yes, the media can play much greater role. There should also be endorsement from cricketers and Film personalities.

I also think that big cases should be highlighted and especially those which involved the big public interest. As mentioned previously, mostly the cases now are personal matters. It should be more of larger public interest or else the RTI will become an intrument of harrasement and settling score and will loose its sheen.

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there are so many laws which have not been implemented in spirit. The same way we are witnessing the path of RTI implementation. Govt staff are making use of this act to further their careers, transfers etc,to fight court cases by seeking confidential information under this act. IN organisations almost 50% information seekers are departmental employees.

 

You are right smnislam that if you see the statistics of infomration seeker its montly government employees but i believe its a phenomea which will go away once the act mature. In my opinion, the act should be allowed to be matured with wider contribution from society and not by curbing it unilaterally.

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Existing anti-corruption institutions lack teeth and do not have officers with impeccable integrity

 

India is perceived to be among the world’s most corrupt nations. According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2005, India’s score was only 2.8 out of 10, and was positioned 88th out of 159 countries. India also fared poorly in the recently released Bribe Payers Index (BPI) 2006. On a scale of 0 to 10—‘rampant corruption’ to ‘no corruption’—India scored the lowest, 4.62, among the nations included in the survey.

 

Although the two indices consider different aspects of corruption, countries that rank low on the CPI fare badly on the BPI as well. According to the India Corruption Study 2005, an overwhelming majority attributed corruption to:

  • The absence of transparency and accountability in governance.
  • The lack of honest officials and acceptance of bribes as a way of life.
  • The lack of corruption reporting mechanisms and weaknesses in the grievance redressal machinery.
  • Inadequate training of government officials.
  • Ineffective police and judiciary due to the lack of accountability.
  • Criminalisation of politics.

Besides, the existing anti-corruption institutions are not effective as they are under the control of politicians; they lack real teeth; and do not have enough officers with impeccable integrity.

 

Corruption needs to be dealt with on three fronts: firstly, petty corruption affecting the common man in dealings with public services; secondly, corruption in procurement and construction deals; and thirdly, the involvement of politicians in corruption.

 

Combating the first type, petty corruption, requires the introduction of transparency and accountability in governance and deterrent punitive action against erring officials. Transparency and accountability in governance can also be introduced through effective implementation of following measures:-

 

Citizens’ Charters: They promise certain standards on the basis of “Where to go; how to proceed”. Most of the currently available citizens’ charters have been formulated without consulting the concerned service seekers and do not have a penalty clause in case the promised standards of services are not adhered to. Further, there is poor awareness about their existence even among service providers themselves.

 

Right to Information: Though it is considered an exemplary initiative, people in general are dissatisfied with the functioning of the Central Information Commission (CIC), primarily due to the non-adherence to the principles of natural justice and failure to impose penalties. This has encouraged the bureaucracy to ignore RTI requests.

 

e-Governance: Corruption takes place the moment a service seeker faces the service provider. This measure avoids such a situation. Though the government is introducing e-governance in various services, the main problem is limited access to the Internet and awareness about measures taken so far. Besides, service providers are required to change their mindset, and make this service more user friendly.

 

Sincere efforts will be required on all these fronts to improve governance and create nationwide awareness about them. Besides, in order to tackle the issue of petty corruption in an effective manner, there is a need to clean the system by:

 

  • Introducing transparency and accountability in governance
  • Impounding illegally acquired assets.
  • Recognising and rewarding skilled, efficient and honest officials.
  • Removing the protection given to tainted government officials under Article 311.
  • Removing weaknesses in the grievance redressal machinery, and providing adequate protection to whistle-blowers.
  • Training government officials adequately.
  • Disposing corruption cases quickly.
  • Policing corruption effectively and beefing up the judiciary.

Besides, sincere efforts are required to give adequate publicity and create awareness about all these methods to improve governance. In addition, strong domestic anti-corruption measures are required to be translated consistently into responsible business practices in India. The World Bank and the regional development institutions can help by enforcing debarment programmes that block crooked companies from profiting from development funds, while the poor are left out of the picture. Moreover, corruption in procurement and construction deals can be dealt with by adopting Integrity Pacts (IP).

 

Though the defence ministry has mentioned IPs in its procurement policies for 2005-06 and 2006-07, it has yet to implement it. Similar arrangements are being considered by many PSUs.

 

However, it is felt that in India, strong domestic anti-corruption measures, including the adoption of IPs, are required to be made compulsory to curb scams.

 

These measures include a clear-cut policy on middlemen and the methodology to regulate their role, ratification of the UN Convention Against Corruption, commitment to the OECD Convention Against Bribery and enactment of an Act like US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977.

 

As far as political corruption is concerned, some well thought out measures can bring it down substantially. Some of the important steps that may be undertaken by the government include the enactment of a comprehensive Lok Pal legislation; barring criminal elements from politics as recommended by the Election Commission of India; impounding illegally acquired assets as recommended by the Law Commission.

 

Fighting corruption is not an end in itself. It is a critical path to providing opportunity; securing health, education, sanitation and basic services for the poor; and strengthening prospects for economic growth. Anti-corruption programmes need to be integrated fully into development strategies. They must involve the building of partnerships between civil society, the private sector, the legislative and executive branches of government. There is an apprehension that without effective anti-corruption strategies in the coming years, the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of those living in absolute poverty will not be achieved.

 

—SK AGARWAL, The writer is vice-chairman, Transparency International-India

 

The article was published here: Graft and economic growth are incompatible

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Existing anti-corruption institutions lack teeth and do not have officers with impeccable integrity

 

India is perceived to be among the world’s most corrupt nations. According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2005, India’s score was only 2.8 out of 10, and was positioned 88th out of 159 countries. India also fared poorly in the recently released Bribe Payers Index (BPI) 2006. On a scale of 0 to 10—‘rampant corruption’ to ‘no corruption’—India scored the lowest, 4.62, among the nations included in the survey.

 

Although the two indices consider different aspects of corruption, countries that rank low on the CPI fare badly on the BPI as well. According to the India Corruption Study 2005, an overwhelming majority attributed corruption to:

  • The absence of transparency and accountability in governance.
  • The lack of honest officials and acceptance of bribes as a way of life.
  • The lack of corruption reporting mechanisms and weaknesses in the grievance redressal machinery.
  • Inadequate training of government officials.
  • Ineffective police and judiciary due to the lack of accountability.
  • Criminalisation of politics.

Besides, the existing anti-corruption institutions are not effective as they are under the control of politicians; they lack real teeth; and do not have enough officers with impeccable integrity.

 

Corruption needs to be dealt with on three fronts: firstly, petty corruption affecting the common man in dealings with public services; secondly, corruption in procurement and construction deals; and thirdly, the involvement of politicians in corruption.

 

Combating the first type, petty corruption, requires the introduction of transparency and accountability in governance and deterrent punitive action against erring officials. Transparency and accountability in governance can also be introduced through effective implementation of following measures:-

 

Citizens’ Charters: They promise certain standards on the basis of “Where to go; how to proceed”. Most of the currently available citizens’ charters have been formulated without consulting the concerned service seekers and do not have a penalty clause in case the promised standards of services are not adhered to. Further, there is poor awareness about their existence even among service providers themselves.

 

Right to Information: Though it is considered an exemplary initiative, people in general are dissatisfied with the functioning of the Central Information Commission (CIC), primarily due to the non-adherence to the principles of natural justice and failure to impose penalties. This has encouraged the bureaucracy to ignore RTI requests.

 

e-Governance: Corruption takes place the moment a service seeker faces the service provider. This measure avoids such a situation. Though the government is introducing e-governance in various services, the main problem is limited access to the Internet and awareness about measures taken so far. Besides, service providers are required to change their mindset, and make this service more user friendly.

 

Sincere efforts will be required on all these fronts to improve governance and create nationwide awareness about them. Besides, in order to tackle the issue of petty corruption in an effective manner, there is a need to clean the system by:

 

  • Introducing transparency and accountability in governance
  • Impounding illegally acquired assets.
  • Recognising and rewarding skilled, efficient and honest officials.
  • Removing the protection given to tainted government officials under Article 311.
  • Removing weaknesses in the grievance redressal machinery, and providing adequate protection to whistle-blowers.
  • Training government officials adequately.
  • Disposing corruption cases quickly.
  • Policing corruption effectively and beefing up the judiciary.

Besides, sincere efforts are required to give adequate publicity and create awareness about all these methods to improve governance. In addition, strong domestic anti-corruption measures are required to be translated consistently into responsible business practices in India. The World Bank and the regional development institutions can help by enforcing debarment programmes that block crooked companies from profiting from development funds, while the poor are left out of the picture. Moreover, corruption in procurement and construction deals can be dealt with by adopting Integrity Pacts (IP).

 

Though the defence ministry has mentioned IPs in its procurement policies for 2005-06 and 2006-07, it has yet to implement it. Similar arrangements are being considered by many PSUs.

 

However, it is felt that in India, strong domestic anti-corruption measures, including the adoption of IPs, are required to be made compulsory to curb scams.

 

These measures include a clear-cut policy on middlemen and the methodology to regulate their role, ratification of the UN Convention Against Corruption, commitment to the OECD Convention Against Bribery and enactment of an Act like US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977.

 

As far as political corruption is concerned, some well thought out measures can bring it down substantially. Some of the important steps that may be undertaken by the government include the enactment of a comprehensive Lok Pal legislation; barring criminal elements from politics as recommended by the Election Commission of India; impounding illegally acquired assets as recommended by the Law Commission.

 

Fighting corruption is not an end in itself. It is a critical path to providing opportunity; securing health, education, sanitation and basic services for the poor; and strengthening prospects for economic growth. Anti-corruption programmes need to be integrated fully into development strategies. They must involve the building of partnerships between civil society, the private sector, the legislative and executive branches of government. There is an apprehension that without effective anti-corruption strategies in the coming years, the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of those living in absolute poverty will not be achieved.

 

—SK AGARWAL, The writer is vice-chairman, Transparency International-India

 

The article was published here: Graft and economic growth are incompatible

I must compliment the young author on this excellent article!Hari Gautam Obhrai

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I must compliment the young author on an excellent article and wish her organization all success in efforts to bring about improvements in our system! Hari Gautam Obhrai

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I think this is very pertinent question but not with simple answer. When in our Indian society we are still not able to percolate the 2 drops campaign for pulse polio with so much of media involvement, WHO, international funding, its really hard to see RTI reaching to full masses in the coming time.

 

However, NGO, Media can all help to narrow the gap.

 

RTI will not be actually trapping people, but making them more accountable and transparent. Every govt orgaization will know that people are watching and will act responsibly.

 

As the trend is people are using RTI to get their work done, rather then exposing or asking for 'public interest'. There need to be some body from within the Govt. who knows what is going on in the department in details, and they should be given the onus to ask the question.

 

Also any decision taken should be on web, or open at a place. Why should somebody go and ask the information. If the information is not classified there is no need to let people ask and then the department replies.

 

I think it should be made conpulsory for the departments to publise their documents in the net. It has already been floated by the CIC, but not followed in spirit. I can only find the list of all PIO of only Postal deparment, why not others?

 

I would suggest RTI India Portal should collect all the information and put it here so that one needs to come here only to get all information.

 

I agree with crusader and suggest that RTI Portal should contact NIC and establish links with National portal as they are already quite advanced in getting data of many departments which would simplify task ! Hari Gautam Obhrai

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Since many departments are already providing data to National Portal at india.gov.in it would be useful for RTI site to get linked to National portal to make work of both more fruitful ! it can also help in conolidating views of officers of different departments of Government to facilitate the work of sixth Pay Commission whose terms of reference and questionairre can be obtained from National Portal by the young computer savvy team of RTI Portal. Best luck! Hari Gautam Obhrai

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