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Media, RTI and Development “Information is the fulcrum of Social change” K.A Badarinath Policy Editor – Financial Chronicle.

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Presentation on theme: "Media, RTI and Development “Information is the fulcrum of Social change” K.A Badarinath Policy Editor – Financial Chronicle."— Presentation transcript:

1 Media, RTI and Development “Information is the fulcrum of Social change” K.A Badarinath Policy Editor – Financial Chronicle

2 Information facilitates active participation of people in democratic governance Promote and supervise good governance that is open, transparent and accountable Help assure law enforcement Help delivery of public Services and Development Schemes

3 An effective RTI regime can enable credible, evidence-based and factual reporting on key issues of public interest. It can enable the media to expose mal- administration, corruption, inefficiency and propagate stories on accountability, transparency, effective administration and good governance.

4 Under RTI Act, media professionals like citizens, can: Demand information pertaining to government departments Demand copies of contracts, payments, estimates, measurements of engineering works etc. Demand certified samples of material used in construction of roads, drains, buildings etc. Demand to inspect any public development work that may still be under construction or completed Demand to inspect documents - construction drawings, records books, registers, quality control reports etc. Demand status of requests or complaints, details of time delays, action taken on Information Commission’s decisions etc. How can the media use RTI ?

5 RTI : an empowering tool for Social Change Catalyze effective Implementation of RTI Act Provide Information to Citizens and Create awareness Lending Voice to Citizens, Communities Acting as Watchdog on behalf of Citizens

6 Suggested areas of action for media? Monitor implementation of RTI act Report in-effectiveness & inefficiency in public services Highlight corruption and fraud related cases. Bring to fore citizens’ grievances Highlight cases or efforts made by civil society bodies, communities and individuals.

7 How Media can highlight Citizen Grievances List all grievances received from people with case studies Action taken on each grievances Time limits for each grievance to be resolved as per rules/Citizen’s Charter Penalty prescribed against officials if they do not adhere to these time limits Reasons for delay in resolution of grievances, Action taken against the officials in case there was delay.

8 Highlight Efforts made by Organizations Bring to public domain success stories. Write on cases where information was withheld by PIOs Work on stories reporting decisions by Information Commissions. Profiles organizations promoting RTI Personality stories in RTI campaign Initiatives undertaken by civil society organizations and communities

9 Here are Such Stories People start getting rations - Parivartan Almost 90% of food meant to be distributed to poor people under PDS is being siphoned off. These were findings of surveys done by Parivartan in different areas ofDelhi. But all this changed for better after records of ration dealers were obtained using RTI and made public. Now, people have started getting full entitlements in these areas.

10 A road in Harijan Basti, Mandawali Harijan Basti is a small jhuggi jhompri cluster in East district of Delhi. For the last four years, few volunteers and residents were trying to get a road repaired that runs parallel to the cluster. Local municipal councilor and MCD officials gave false reassurances that repair work will begin soon. In November 2004, half the road was repaired and the other half was scheduled to begin in April 2005. However, the work did not begin. Only after a RTI application was filed in July 2005 by Suchi Pande that work actually began. MCD engineers kept the applicant informed on progress of road built and after the work was completed, an inspection was carried out and sample of material was also taken.

11 RTI exposes Union Minister The case of a 4 th Grade Employee, Hitesh Verma was brought to justice with the help of RTI. Mr. Verma was transferred from Assam owing to malicious intent of a Union Minister. Verma’s mother filed an application seeking reasons for transfer and policy of transfers in coal India. In reply Coal India admitted that transfer of Verma was motivated decision of a VIP. Verma’s mother sent a letter to PM seeking the name of VIP involved in transfer of Verma. Ultimately on order by PMO, Coal India had to reveal the name of the VIP as Subodh Kant Sahay, the Union Minister. It was found that transfer order was malafied and against the policies of Coal India.

12 Awareness of RTI acts as a Threat Mazloom, a rickshaw-puller of Madhubani district, Bihar, did know nothing about RTI, but was aware of the fact that an application under this could change attitude of the Government officials towards poor people like him. He had a pleasant experience of RTI. The Block Development Officer (BOD) was asking for bribe against release of money under Indria Awas Yojna. But Mazloom did not budge and rather threatened the official that he would file an application under RTI. Only a threat to use RTI did the trick for him, as the babu immediately handed him his entitlement amount.

13 Reporting Social Audit RTI is single most significant law that widens scope of social audit in development projects, public policies, programs, key officials and make them accountable. The Act secures every citizen enforceable right to know, examine, audit, review and assess Government activities, decisions and also ensure that these are consistent with public interest, probity and justice.

14 Social audit of implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act,2005 is legally mandated (Section 17). For Questions like??

15 Whether Gram Sabha was involved in identification of works in village? Was there transparency in process of registration? Was there transparency in issuance of job cards? Whether applications were processed as per guidelines? Was there transparency in sanction of works? Was there transparency in implementation of works? Whether quality was maintained in the work? Whether wages were paid on time according to measurements? Whether payments for all bills have been made? Whether prescribed worksite facilities were made available to workers? Whether measurement, check measurement, and quality control inspection data recorded tally with the actuals on ground?

16 References RTI Cell, ATI, Kohima India Foundation for Rural Development Studies, New Delhi ‘Sopan Step’ editorial teams ‘Echo’: development communications group Excerpts: “The Right to Information Act, 2005 - A Guide for Media” by Centre for Good Governance (CGG), Hyderabad THANK YOU

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