What is the NCPRI ? – http://www.righttoinformation.info/
Posted by rtiact2005 on June 12, 2006
What is the NCPRI?
http://www.righttoinformation.info/The NCPRI is a movement of committed individuals working towards making our government and society more transparent and accountable.
The National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) seeks to empower people and to deepen democracy, through promoting people’s right to information. Through the use of this right, it seeks to fight corruption and social apathy, to make governments, and other institutions and agencies having an impact on public welfare, more humane and accountable to the people, and to promote efficiency and frugality. Values
The NCPRI is committed to support participatory, just, secular and humane democracy.
Methods and Activities
The NCPRI endeavours to constantly engage and interact with the state and with other institutions and agencies. It campaigns for the enactment and use of a right to information law that is effective and accessible to all, and supports people’s efforts at developing the ability and motivation to use the right to information for addressing individual and social problems. It works at disseminating the RTI law and encourages and supports the development of materials related to transparency and governance, the raising of awareness about the fundamental value of information, the conduct of research, and the setting up of information clearing houses. It seeks to further the cause of transparency by adopting other direct and indirect methods, including the filing of information requests, the fighting of legal cases, and the holding of public hearings.
The NCPRI seeks to actively work with other progressive campaigns and movements and in solidarity with other progressive elements of society.
The National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) was founded in 1996. Its founding members included social activists, journalists, lawyers, professionals, retired civil servants and academics, and one of its primary objectives was to campaign for a national law facilitating the exercise of the fundamental right to information.
As a first step, the NCPRI and the Press Council of India formulated an initial draft of a right to information (RTI) law. This draft, after extensive discussions, was sent to the Government of India in 1996. The Government finally introduced the Freedom of Information Bill in Parliament, in 2002. This was a very watered down version of the Bill first drafted by the NCPRI and others in 1996.
Meanwhile, the NCPRI was also campaigning for state RTI acts and supporting the efforts of state governments, like Karnataka and Delhi. It also worked at promoting awareness and broadening and deepening the campaign. The first national convention was held at Beawar, Rajasthan, in 2002, and was attended by over a thousand delegates, from all parts of the country. The second convention was held in Delhi in 2004, and again was attended by over a thousand delegates from all over the country. Over thirty workshops were organised as a part of the convention to discuss the use of RTI in different areas of work and governance.
The NCPRI also organised a public hearing in Bhopal, in 2002, around the proposed Maheshwar Dam on the Narmada River. Three to four hundred people, mainly from among those who were affected by the project, attended this public hearing. Representatives of S. Kumars, the company building the project, also participated.
In August 2004 the NCPRI forwarded to the National Advisory Council a set of suggested amendments to the Freedom of Information Act 2002. These amendments, designed to strengthen and make more effective the 2002 Act, were based on extensive discussions with civil society groups working on transparency and other related issues and were in response to the undertaking given by the UPA government, in their Common Minimum Programme, that the “Right to Information Act will be made more progressive, participatory and meaningful.”
The NAC endorsed most of the suggested amendments and recommended them to the Prime Minister of India for further action. These formed the basis of the subsequent Right to Information Bill, introduced in Parliament on 22 December 2004.
However, this bill, as introduced in Parliament, had many weaknesses. Most significantly, unlike the NCPRI suggestion, it did not apply to the whole country but only to the Union Government. The consequent outrage from civil society groups, including the NCPRI, forced the government to review the changes. The Bill was referred to a Standing Committee of the Parliament and to a Group of Ministers. The standing committee asked several of the NCPRI members to give evidence before it, and ultimately endorsed the stand taken by the NCPRI in most matters. . In the next session of Parliament, the bill was passed after over a hundred amendments introduced by the government to accommodate the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee and the Group of Ministers. Most important, the jurisdiction of the Bill has been extended to cover the whole of India. The RTI Act has come into effect all over India from 13 October 2005.
The NCPRI is a non-registered group that is managed according to a constitution. Funding Sources
The NCPRI does not accept institutional funds, from India or abroad, and is financed wholly through individual donations. We have an annual budget of roughly Rs. 6,00,000, which includes all overhead payments and salaries of a skeleton staff that runs the NCPRI's Munirka office, in Delhi. Details of our accounts are available on our website.
Management The founding members of National Campaign for People's Right to Information, which was launched in 1996. are Ajit Bhattacharjea, Prashant Bhushan, Nikhil Dey, Bharat Dogra, Prabhash Joshi, K.G. Kannabiran, Harsh Mander, Renuka Mishra, M.P. Parmeswaram, Aruna Roy, S.R Sankaran and Shekhar Singh.
The NCPRI is managed by a Working Committee. The members of the NCPRI Working Committee for 2004-06 are Ajit Bhattacharjea, Anjali Bhardwaj, Aruna Roy, Arvind Kejriwal, Bharat Dogra, Harsh Mander, Maja Daruwala, Nikhil Dey, Prabhash Joshi, Prakash Kardaley, Prashant Bhushan, Shailesh Gandhi, Suman Sahai, Vishaish Uppal, Angela Rangad, V. Suresh, Jagdeep Chhokar, Trilochan Sastry, Samir Acharya, Balraj Puri, Manesh Kumar Gupta, Venkatesh Nayak, Jagmohan Singh, P. Wangchuk, Debu Bandhopadhya, Jean Dreze, Harivansh, Sandeep Pande, Vinay Mahajan, S. R. Sankaran, Shekhar Singh (Convenor).