Right to Information – Master key to good governance

RTI Act has helped curb corruption: Pachouri

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 12, 2006

RTI Act has helped curb corruption: Pachouri

HS Rao (PTI)

London, July 12, 2006


The Right to Information Act has helped reduce corruption and increase transparency and accountability in the country’s administration, Union Minister Suresh Pachouri said in London on Wednesday.

“The Act has become one of the finest ways of combating incidents of corruption,” Pachouri, who is heading a four-member Indian delegation to the UK, said.

Comparing Britain’s Freedom of Information Act with the RTI Act, Pachouri, who is Minister of State for Personnel, said the latter “covered a much wider area of administration and included legislature and judiciary, making it more open for citizens”.

The minister held a series of meetings with his British counterparts over the last three days on good governance and improving transparency and accountability in administration.

During his meeting with Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of UK Department of International Development (DFID), Gareth R Thomas, Pachouri expressed gratitude for the 6.5 mn pounds assistance extended by Britain for improvement in governance in areas of Public Administration reforms in India.

He also highlighted the need of its expansion in the field of transparency and accountability.

Pachouri discussed with Thomas the issue of technical support and assistance being given in the field of developing capabilities of citizens and civil societies so that the RTI Act is used in a meaningful way.

Thomas suggested that a formal proposal might be drawn up in consultation with the country’s office in New Delhi.

Pachouri also held discussions on issues of common interest with Commonwealth Secretariat Deputy Secy-General Florence Mugasha.

He enumerated steps taken under the RTI Act to enhance public service delivery system to poorer sections of society by strengthening transparency and accountability mechanisms through e-governance and social audits.

Lauding the contribution of India in administrative reforms, Mugasha said it has a good pool of resource persons which could be used in other developing countries as well.

She said the Commonwealth Secretariat could cooperate with India in vigilance mechanism to contain corruption in public service, where India has statutory organisations like Central Vigilance Commission, the Election Commission and has experience in handling civil service reforms.

Pachouri on Tuesday called on Baroness Ashton, junior minister in Department of Constitutional Affairs, to share experiences in the field of public access to information.

According to Ashton, this would enhance the capacity not only of the administrative ministry but also pave the way for better implementation of the Act, thus achieving its real objective of increased transparency and accountability.

Pachouri said that his UK tour had been “a successful visit and the response has been very encouraging.”

The other members of the delegation were Additional Secretary Rahul Sarin, Joint Secretary C B Paliwal and AR Rizvi, Personal Secretary to the Minister of State.


2 Responses to “RTI Act has helped curb corruption: Pachouri”

  1. Dhirendra Krishna said

    It is quite amusing that Honorable Minister needs technical support from UK to effectively implement RTI Act in India. I hope he comes back with some fresh ideas.

    Basic differances are that in UK there was more thorough preparation before the law was enforced; RTI Act in India became “operational” on 12.10.2005 without preparing the civil servants and the citizens.

    Another major differance is that in UK there was budget allocation earmarked for the administrative reforms and widespread training. Government of India and State Governments have not earmarked any funds to enable implementation. How can a law with far-reaching consequences be implemented, without earmarking funds for a well concieved implementation program?

    It is not necessary to go to UK to find these in an era when all the required information is available on internet.

  2. ramesh wasudeo said

    we have problem areas in implimentation of RTI in india due to illiteracy of over 25 % male and 50 % female population. communication problem in india is additional constraint. payment procedure for fees is not standardised. not all central govt departments have uniform procedure. for instance, income tax department needs to use special challan form with specific major and minor heads to be filled and handed over at select branches only of SBI.

    britain has absolute literacy, smaller country and population and well laid communication lines. we can seek assistance from any country who have better laid out system for RTI. we should not shy from learning from any one. no one is perfect.

    UK can assist us in providing few solutions to some of our problem area since they have experiance and technology. pachauri is right in holding discussion and seeking any help that may be forthcoming. internet has its own limitations.

    yes, govtneeds to earmark funds for RTI. however i am glad that in absence of that the media and news papers are lending some useful support to RTI. more and more NGOs must get involved. we can not expect the govt to do all the work for us. govts will come and govts will go. we must learn to help ourselves.


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