Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Anti-bribery campaign under RTI from tomorrow

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 30, 2006

Anti-bribery campaign under RTI from tomorrow
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
A group of citizens and non- government organisations has come together to launch an anti bribery campaign using the Right to Information (RTI) Act from July 1 to 15 in Ludhiana. This is a part of a nationwide campaign which will cover 42 cities in the same time period. Venue for the camp will be SCO-8, second Floor, Model Town Extension Market, Ludhiana. RTI Experts and trained RTI volunteers will be present at the site and will write applications under the RTI Act for citizens who come to them with their grievances and also guide them further on the procedures to follow.

According to Mr Jaskirat Singh, coordinator of the campaign: “RTI is a very powerful tool in the hands of the citizens of this country and it empowers them to obtain any information from government offices. This can be used to force corrupt officials to provide services to the ordinary citizens without taking bribes or delaying their work indefinitely.”.

Jaskirat Singh pointed out: “It is important to note that we can assist them only if they have a grievance pending before a government department whose time limit has passed, for example. it takes a month to issue a new ration card,10 days to issue a tatkal passport and 45 days to issue a regular passport. RTI cannot be used before the time limit prescribed by the government department or the citizens charter, for the given work has passed.”

Mr Hitendra Jain, general secretary, Resurgence India, who is a very well known RTI activist of Punjab, has also extended full support to the campaign. “I am very happy to know that RTI activists are now getting together in Ludhiana. Their coming together will give a big boost to the use of RTI and bring about a lot of positive changes and transparency in the functioning of departments and agencies”, he said, while warning that it will require lot of hard work to bring about such changes.

Any one who comes to the camp for getting their RTI applications written must remember to bring photo copies of the receipts of their original applications submitted to the departments concerned. If they do not have the receipts they should bring photo copies of the original application itself.

Issues which people might bring to the camp can include issue of passport, license, various certificates like marriage certificate, death certificate, birth certificate, SC/ST certificate, OBC certificate etc, inclusion of name in voters’ list, issue of voter ID cards, correction of water, electricity, telephone bills and other legitimate problems with a department like change of faulty meter, providing new water or electricity connection, filing of FIR,claiming various kinds of refunds or payments like tax refund, medical reimbursement, Provident Fund etc.

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