RTI Awards – 2009, what it means
I am no fan of the RTI Act (Right to Information act). I do think it has its uses. It gives one some options to track the status of personal petitions that are pending with bureaucracy. That is the long and short of it.
I just saw Prannoy Roy pitch the National RTI Awards 2009 on TV. They even have a website http://www.rtiawards.org Among the jury are Aamir Khan, Mallika Sarahbhai, Narayana Murthy, and other luminaries. Of course, the website has the oblilgatoire banner of expressionless poor people and farmers.
RTI is not going to ‘transform democracy‘. Why ?
For big ticket issues, i.e. in which the petitioner does not have a personal and immediate interest.
RTI is nothing but NTK in disguise (Need to Know).
Actually it is more, RTI is nothing but NTK and WWTK (Who wants to know)
Actually it is even more, RTI is nothing but NTK, WWTK, and DADT (Dont ask dont tell)
Information released on a ‘need to know/ who wants to know/ dont ask dont tell’ basis is one of the the classical signs of a fake socialist state which has something to hide.
- For personal petitions pending with the bureaucracy (eg, what happened to my passport application, what is the status of my land record) the RTI needs to be substituted with disposal timeframes.
- For civil issues, (eg, who is the contractor for this culvert, what is the status of the irrigation canal project) there needs to be full mandatory disclosure. You should not be required to put your well being at risk for knowing the status of tax payer projects. Too muck risk for negligible returns.
- For the root issues (eg, what is the performance of social justice, what are the amounts and sources of inward religious charity remittances, how has the stone-breaker fared over the past 50 years, how much tax has the government lost due to the STPI and now SEZ tax schemes). For these root questions there needs to be more than automatic disclosure. The country needs deep scrutiny because these issues have a direct bearing on constitutional rights (primarily the right to equality and right to social-justice justice but also right to tax discrimination)
The good thing is there is a rising number of youth who do not believe everything the media dishes out. There is a rising number of youth who know there is a radically better alternative to the status quo. Read the status quo as permanent third world status for the entire country and plummeting living standards for the common man.
I know what you are thinking. Something is better than nothing right ? Its hot and I crave a cold beer – but the choices are cold water or nothing. Why would anyone knock the cold water ?
The fact is the RTI and MD (Mandatory Disclosure) are not the same thing. It is not a choice like “cold beer vs cold water”. It is more like “cold beer vs a truck tyre”, completely unrelated.