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    PM cautions against emergence of 'middlemen' in use of RTI Act


    ON the first anniversary of the RTI Act the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, today cautioned against the emergence of 'professional middlemen' in the use of this Act as has been seen in some countries and also encouragement of rivalry among stakeholders of this nascent law.

    Though PM assured all stakeholders that the Government would make a sincere endeavour to strengthen the implementation of the Act in favour of genuine information seekers but he coolly sidestepped the issue of removal of file notings from the purview of the Act.

    Dr Singh said that the right to information was not a substitute for good governance and that it could only support and aid the process. Emphasizing the word “public interest”, the Prime Minister underlined the need for a computerized network throughout the country, down to the village level, to ensure public participation in the process of development.

    He further added that whatever may be the differences on the finer points of the Act, we must all be aware of the course that we are setting for the future of democratic governance. It can be said that the right to know is the most fundamental of all those rights, which are critical for upholding human dignity. We live in an age of information, in which the free flow of information and ideas determines the pace of development and well being of the people. The implementation of RTI Act is, therefore, an important milestone in our quest for building an enlightened and at the same time, a prosperous society. Therefore, the exercise of the Right to Information cannot be the privilege of only a few.

    As published by Taxindiaonline.com


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    I disagree with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks legislation. By “professional middlemen”, does the PM refers to those individuals and organisations that have been trying to get ordinary citizens—the more, the better—to use RTI to prise information from the government?

    The RTI’s very inception owes itself to precisely such efforts. It was the sustained efforts in this regard by Anna Hazare, and others, which forced our system to make such legislation.

    Aruna Roy received the prestigious Magsaysay award precisely for this effort; Arvind Kejriwal was awarded the Magsaysay this year for motivating the masses to use the RTI to force accountability in government.

    There are groups like this now in every state, all “professional middlemen”, to whom we owe a lot of RTI success. It is these same groups whose mobilisation of public opinion got the government to retreat on the Cabinet decision to exempt file notings from the RTI’s ambit.

    Without these “middlemen”, citizens would still be without the courage and training to use the RTI and force accountability by civil servants.

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    I agree with senthil. This will undermine the efforts of NGO's and people who are helping citizens to come out and train them to use RTI.

    It will be only with the help of 'Professional Middleman', that our rural folks can actually use it to bring out the Government hidden facts and grow the country.

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    Dr. Pathak
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    Kindly read this blog entry of mine here:
    http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/blogs/...lemen-rti.html

    Regards,
    Last edited by Shrawan Pathak; 03-05-08 at 09:23 AM.

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    Nikhil Gandhi
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    Re: PM cautions against emergence of 'middlemen' in use of RTI Act


    What does PM mean by middleman? He does not know how many percentage of people are illeterate in India? Govt. should thank middleman and activists of RTI for educating even educated persons of urban areas !!

    Govt. should open RTI guidance cells for atleast one month in every govt. offices to guide people of their right to know and try to enforce better governance.

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    Re: PM cautions against emergence of 'middlemen' in use of RTI Act


    Let us not ask the govt. for anything except information. These cells will become another center of loot and tax on people. We can ignore PM's exhortation in good spirit. Let we the people strengthen ourselve, help each other more.

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    Re: PM cautions against emergence of 'middlemen' in use of RTI Act


    When PM refers to Professional Middlemen,he means professionals engaged to gain information through RTI for commercial gains/purposes on behalf of various contractors ,competing bidders,losing bidders to spite ,may be bussinessmen,corporate people etc. These professionals,like paid lobbyists ,are very much existing and no use denying.
    As for people like Anna Hazare,he was a most respected and selfless social worker,who devoted his whole life in the interests of a common man,and fighting corruption . And PM knows that as much as anyone else.
    As for NGOs , RTI Act today is a result of relentless efforts of these devoted people. This ia a well known fact,and some of these NGOs are still guarding RTI Act with all their intellectual might from vested interests.
    Last edited by opsharma; 19-05-08 at 11:06 PM.

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    Re: PM cautions against emergence of 'middlemen' in use of RTI Act


    I fully agree with OP Sharma.

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