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Nationwide anti-bribery campaign from July 1

Written by: Staff

Ahmedabad, June 29 (UNI) A nation-wide campaign to motivate the citizens to use the Right to Information Act judiciously instead of paying bribes to get their legitimate work done will be launched from July 1.

About 1200 volunteers have been trained to help people during the 15-day 'Anti-Bribery Campaign' to be held in 45 cities across the country.

In Gujarat, the programme is being organised by a group of 30 voluntary organisations under the banner of ''Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel'', at Kochrab Ashram in the city.

Speaking about the programme, Mr Jagdeep Choker, the coordinator, said about 300 volunteers have been given special training to assist and guide citizens in the use of the Act. About 40 of them will be present at the camp to actually help them draft appeals or complaints under the RTI Act for getting their work done, he added.

He said the Act gives the people the right to know what they want. But it is a tool that should be used for appropriate purpose, he stressed.

He said the Central Ministry of Personnel and Public Grievances has taken note that the campaign is going to generate a large number of applications and passed orders asking for arrangements to be in place.

He said the Pahel has started a telephone helpline for RTI on May 12, which has got tremendous response. ''The helpline has received more than 900 calls till date with callers asking for information, help for problems they are having in getting common services,'' he said.

Dispelling fears about misuse of the information procured through exercise of this right, Mr Rahul Madgaonkar of AIR, an NGO, said it is people's right to get the information, and how they use it is upto them. ''In case, of any misuse, police or any law enforcing agency should be approached,'' he said.

Mr Choker also said the Central Information Commission has ruled that wherever motive is malafide, then information could be witheld.

''Like asking for someone's IT returns is inappropriate as it is personal but the Income Tax Commissioner's assessment order is in the public domain.'' Rahul said increasing number of companies were using the RTI to know the status of their deposits in case their tenders were rejected. Many government servants too are opting for this right in matters related to transfers and promotions, he added.


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