Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Crusade against corruption finds recognition

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 1, 2006

Crusade against corruption finds recognition

Staff Reporter

Kejriwal awarded for activating India’s Right to Information movement at grassroots Mr. Kejriwal was cited by the Magsaysay Foundation for “activating India’s Right to Information movement at the grassroots, empowering poorest citizens to fight corruption by holding the Government answerable to the people.”




Arvind Kejriwal


NEW DELHI: Social activist and crusader for transparency in governance Arvind Kejriwal has at last found recognition for the hard work he has put in to rid the system of corruption.

Though happy at being selected for the Magsaysay Award in the `Emergent Leadership’ category, Mr. Kejriwal is sad that his work has not received due recognition in his own country.

“I got the news of the Magsaysay Award this [Monday] afternoon. It is nice feeling but at the same time I am sad that while a foreign institution has recognised our work, the same has not happened within the country,” he said.

Mr. Kejriwal was cited by the Magaysay Foundation for “activating India’s Right to Information movement at the grassroots, empowering poorest citizens to fight corruption by holding the Government answerable to the people.”

Having recently launched a successful 15-day awareness campaign with other NGOs and student activists on the Right to Information, Mr. Kejriwal is sceptical about the Government’s decision to make amendments to the Right to Information Act.

The mechanical engineer from IIT Kharagpur said that by keeping file notings outside the purview of the Act, the Government proposed to keep key information about the decision making process out of the reach of the common man.

Having left a job with the Income Tax Department, Mr. Kejriwal has been instrumental in launching a crusade against corruption and bribery in government departments.

He formed the non-governmental organisation Parivartan in 2000 and first took up cudgels against the Income Tax Department demanding that it ensure transparency in public dealings. Unable to find a positive response, Mr. Kejriwal took leave from his job and started organising people to launch a movement against corruption.

The journey to secure the rights of the people had its rough patches as he had to face the fury of a group in the Food and Civil Supplies Department that was badly affected by his crusade. Mr. Kejriwal and his activists were roughed up or brutally attacked on many occasions. However, they refused to give in to the mafia that had infiltrated the PDS in the capital.

After a long struggle, Mr. Kejriwal and his team, with the help of other activists, got justice for the poor by forcing PDS outlets to make their functioning more transparent.

His next target was the Right to Information Act, which he felt had great potential to empower the people and check corruption and bribery. Parivartan was also behind the successful campaign against privatisation of water in the capital under the World Bank sponsored programme.

The 38-year-old social activist joins the list of Magsaysay awardees from India including Vinoba Bhave, Baba Amte, Mahasweta Devi, Kiran Bedi, Varghese Kurien and Aruna Roy.

Other Magsaysay awardees

UNI reports:

The other Magsaysay Award winners this year are: Ek Sonn Chan (Cambodia) for “Government Service”; Park Won Soon (South Korea) for “Public Service”; Eugenia Duran Apostol (The Philippines) for “Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts”; Sanduk Ruit (Nepal) for “Peace and International Understanding”; Antonio Meloto (The Philippines) for “Community Leadership”; and the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation (The Philippines) for “Community Leadership.” The Awards ceremony will be held in Manila on August 31.


2 Responses to “Crusade against corruption finds recognition”

  1. Dhirendra Krishna said

    Arvind has set a glorious example for others to follow.

  2. RAJINDER said

    want some help to expose corruption in a govt deptt. have enough document to nail the cocerned officer. just need the proper and powerfull medium.

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