Right2Information

Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Bureaucrats are itching to kill RTI

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 15, 2006

Bureaucrats are itching to kill RTI

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Devi Cherian The Pioneer
In addition, the entire gamut of issues relating to master plans, encroachments, public utilities and other matters of public interest will never be made public and hence the taxpayer will never know the role played by the corrupt and servile babus in destroying his habitat. Will RTI Act then become “Right to Information denied”?

August 13, 2006: Right to information was the most progressive piece of legislation enacted by Parliament. It won kudos for the Government from every quarter. It brought hope to the toiling middle class in the metros, who could use this convenient tool to settle their long-standing problems.

News regarding enquiries through RTI and the immediate response travelled far and wide. TV channels started recounting the success stories and it seemed as if immediate solutions were at sight to a myriad problems.

But it was too good to be true. The proposed amendments to the RTI Act as cleared by the Cabinet, will immediately put a shield around erring and corrupt bureaucrats. Unfortunately, the ruling parties in most of the States support the amendments secretly. Politics in India is basically patronage-oriented.

Hence, the decision to grant individual favours need to be kept a secret. Unfortunately, politicians will rue their decision because for one favour of theirs, the babus seek ten others for himself. It is the neta who is on the mat for any major issue, be it a train accident or a Sensex crash, a Tsunami devastation or runaway inflation. Babus are seldom questioned and they often get away easily.

The servile bureaucrats who write along the dotted line and the notoriously corrupt ones who teach the politicians how to go about things, are the guys who will rejoice. Their pearls of wisdom on any given issue will not be open to the public eye. No wonder even the honest amongst the bureaucrats secretly oppose the amendments to the RTI Act.

The NGOs, political and social activists, intellectuals and professionals throughout the country plan to oppose the proposed amendments. Some of them have raised very legitimate issues over government appointments. One expects that all appointments made at the top level should stand public scrutiny. A case in point is the continuing clamour of the professionals and technocrats to be appointed against technical posts, which the babus have been opposing to their own benefit and in the process getting the nod from the politicians.

In addition, the entire gamut of issues relating to master plans, encroachments, public utilities and other matters of public interest will never be made public and hence the taxpayer will never know the role played by the corrupt and servile babus in destroying his habitat. Will RTI Act then become “Right to Information denied”?

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