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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

RTI Act effective against graft: U.N. report

The Hindu (National), Special Correspondent
“India has implemented key options”
NEW DELHI: The Right to Information Act 2005 was “one of the most progressive legislations” in the developing world for tackling corruption, according to a United Nations report released on Thursday.

India was one of the eight countries in Asia and the Pacific to enact such a legislation, the United Nations Development Report on “Tackling Corruption, Transforming Lives – Accelerating Human Development in Asia and the Pacific” said, adding it was perhaps too soon to judge whether the legislation had worked throughout the region.

The process through which the Act was drafted and came into force in India illustrated the power of sustained pressure: when the government proposed to amend the law to exclude some administrative files and Cabinet papers from it, intense pressure from civil society organisations forced it to drop the plan, the report said.

India’s law was particularly effective, the report said, because it specified information that must be disclosed on a proactive basis, including some that would help expose corruption.
Precise information

The Act also allowed individuals and organisations investigating corruption to ask for precise information.

For example, while generally excluding information from the intelligence agencies, it specifically allowed for the disclosure of information “pertaining to allegations of corruption or human rights violations.”

According to the report, India had implemented a number of key options to combat corruption.

They included the progressive Right to Information Act, using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and e-governance to make the administration more transparent, encouraging media and citizen initiatives and becoming a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

The report found that where democracy was most effective at checking corruption, it did not necessarily do so through the system-level “hardware” such as elections, but through the deeper ability to voice demands that were taken seriously by the government – that of the civil society organisation.

At the same time, there were many other ways individuals could act to combat corruption: asking questions, resisting demands for bribes, reporting the activities of corrupt officials and refusing to deal with corrupt businesses.
Role of media hailed

The report also appreciated the role of the media and investigative journalists against high-profile offenders leading to their resignations and prosecutions.

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Date:13/06/2008 URL: Back

1 comment:


RTI act is real welcome. at the same time one should also agree that law enforcement authorities should ensure the RTI act should only be standby and law enforcement, vigilance, intellengence authorities should take timely action to safeguard the citzen, making that individual need not have to undergo sufferings and seek assistance under RTI act.

secondly, RTI act ensures only the information (postmartem) - I do don't think that it is useful unless law enforcing authorities, bigilance, inteligent judiciary also give complementary support for ensuring clean and transparante government.

I have a example of how our Government machineries works - I have lodged a complaint with CVC/CAG/CBI and CVC registered my complaint under CVC Ref:611/05/10 - CVC public domain (web site) first stated that "Administrative action has been taken" subsequently CVC updated the web site stating "Commission advised closure of the case.

the case involves several hundred crores of rupees.

any one desired to know the case, they can obtain copies of my complaint from CVC (quoting CVC ref: 611/05/10) under RTI Act.

this action will show how Government department respond to RTI Act - and also how Vigilance Agencies respond to public interest complaints.

many may get surprises - as assured safeguard to not passed on to citizens.