RTI:Aruna Roy for another campaign, to implement the Act

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New Delhi, Nov 3 (UNI) Expressing dissatisfaction over the way the Right to Information(RTI) Act was being implemented, Magsaysay awardee and the moving force behind the people's Right to Information campaign Aruna Roy today called for launching another struggle to compel the Government to implement the historic law in its true spirit.

She also asked the Central Information Commission to put an end to the galore of controversies surrounding its functioning by initiating dialogues and seminars on the issue.

Ms Roy demanded creation of a council in which people could freely say what was wrong with the implementation of the Act.

''Time has come for another campaign, this time to make the RTI Act deliver the results,'' said Ms Roy.

The rights activist was speaking at the Third Annual Convention of the Central Information Commission, chairing the session on 'RTI--Need for a Different Strategy Specific to Rural Areas.' She said state governments were not doing enough to enable the panchayat bodies to disclose information to the people.

In rural areas, there are no suo motu disclosures, which was creating difficulties for the people to know what kind of information they needed, because only if there was some information already available, one could ask questions, she said.

Giving an example, she said in one panchayat, her people could know that the work done under the rural employment guarantee scheme was bogus only because the panchayat had posted the list of works done under the scheme.

So, the implementation of Section 4, dealing with the disclosure of information by the authorities was very important.

Ms Roy, however, admitted that despite all the shortcomings, there has been improvement in the functioning of the panchayats because of the people filing RTI applications.

''People have really made fantastic use of RTI,'' she added.

Ms Roy felt that state governments should spend more on capacity building of panchayat bodies to enable them to disclose more information to the people, and also on creating awareness about the RTI Act.

Moreover, these bodies do not make a record of RTI applications made to them, which should be rectified.

Lamenting the paltry amount of funds being allocated to the state informations commissions for their working, she said lack of funds was hampering the functioning of the information commmissions.

UNI NAZ SB HT1842

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