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Power of Information

by IT Web Admin
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The decision by the centre to conduct a study on the Right to Information Act (RTI Act) that was enacted In 2005 as a tool to further the objective of bringing more transparency and accountability to the public offices and the governance is indeed a timely and much needed step in the right direction. Various issues relating to the use of RTI has been in the news- main issues being their misuse and also the use of force to curb the activists from using the act to reveal public ills, influential persons and departments trying to shy away from being included in it’s ambit. The purpose of the proposed study- to gauge the public perception and determine the level of satisfaction or otherwise, the extent of reduction in corruption as a result of it’s functioning and to calculate cost to the government in providing information under the act- is a wakeup call to all and sundry to make use of perhaps one of the most liberating and powerful act specially brought in to make, rather force governance to work in a fair manner for the welfare of the public. Unfortunately the monitoring mechanism has been dismal and unexplained or incidental deaths and threats to those who used the act to unearth various discrepancies still practicing in the public offices have proved to be a deterrent for the common man ,as also the slow and deliberate delays in responding to the queries. The recent incident of an RTI activist being manhandled and assaulted by security of the Agricultural Department of the State government which made news is a case in point.” RTI activists”- persons who sought to made information public about various irregularities, are often being targeted and harassed-the bitter truth in an otherwise welcome and useful set-up. What needs to be done from the perception of the general public is a more fair and expeditious handling of the requests and appeals with an increased awareness about the processes and formalities for filing of information- an overall improvement in the delivery system. The Public Information Officers handling such requests should be trained to be courteous and helpful to the applicants, be more informative and have a friendly attitude which will go a long way making the applicants and seekers of information feel positive and reassured of the efforts the government is making towards their end goal of better transparency and accountability that will, if not totally abolish, mitigate the scourge of corruption being faced by the general public in every walk of life and give them the power to claim their rights, for knowledge is power.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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