Monday, August 16, 2010

RTI News Article in New York Times

Recently I saw an article in New York times, “ Right-to-know law gives India's poor a lever” and started to read it as it was relevant to the kind of work we do in our organization. The article was about Chanchala Devi from a desolate village in Jharkand, who had repeatedly tried to receive the support payment from the government to build a new house as she was below poverty line. She was the right candidate eligible for the support funds of $700, but was delayed whereas neighboring wealthier people received the same funds from the government and had constructed new homes. After waiting 4 years she approached an RTI activist and filed an RTI petition. Within days the local bureaucrat sanctioned the funds, and she is on her way to build her new home. This is good for her, but where is the justice for the rest who are still waiting for a miracle to happen and the grants to be sanctioned whereas the money is siphoned wrongfully to the already rich people. The RTI petition should act both ways. One to receive the delayed services and the other to question the services provided to those who are not eligible. These kind of RTI petitions followed by remunerative measures like retroactive repayment with interest of the wrongfully sanctioned grants would help steer the corrupt into the right direction due to fear of severe penalties. We can definitely contain Corruption and create a sense of responsibility if we can use the RTI Act effectively.

No comments: