We conceived RTI India as a portal to bring in all officers, citizens, groups, NGO's , organization into one place which is completely dedicated for sharing, and we would strive towards providing authentic and analytic interpretation of RTI Act from the perspective of it's operation.
Also we have not formed a closed group as are some, but opened up the platform for all so get information and use it to their advantage, as a guest too can read what is in RTI India. This can be seen by two ways:
- We have more guest visits than our members. In less that 3 months of it's inception, from the past 7 days we had 200 or more visits per day by guest where as we had 5-7 members per day logins. Thus we know for sure that we are able to disseminate information.
- Try searching in Google/Yahoo/MSN search engine: "RTI India Portal"; the 1st search engine result is rtiindia.org. This clearly means that search engine consider this portal as the best information source for this subject.
Yes, crusader is right. We would like public interaction (by way of forums) more than private. If we interact at the level of forums, we are actually speaking to many and many more in the times to come. This is what is the spirit of RTI Act too. However, if we start writing to some via email, it will defeat the spirit of this Portal.
To rephrase again, we would like this portal to be as pubic as possible, where everybody can get information they want, and provide platform for those who love to interact and be part of RTI India. We do not restrict any registration, except of course spam posters and abusers. All individual can join us and get information and in-turn share with us.
I think we should also try to associate new personilities to RTI and this forum. Also we need to find out unsung heroes of RTI who started RTI campaign and suffered a lot to save this Act
Thats a very good suggestion Brajesh.
I would request our members to inform about any unsung hero who is working in the field of RTI.
Another prominent personality in RTI is Arvind Kejriwal. Times of India has rightly named him as one of the Heroes of 2006
The Right Act
NEW DELHI: One of the most heartening developments of 2006 is the vengeance with which a traditionally information-starved society took to the new Right to Information law.
A band of activists across the country are engaged in propagating this powerful idea in the face of resistance from a hierarchy of custodians of information. Their pioneering efforts gained international recognition when one of their brightest stars, IIT engineer-turned-bureaucrat-turned-information activist Arvind Kejriwal, 38, was honoured with Ramon Magsaysay award.
His relentless efforts have made a tremendous impact on the development of this nascent law. For instance, rattled by the prospect of making public the truth behind its senior appointments, the government attempted to amend the RTI law within a year of its enactment in order to deny access to sensitive file notings.
In the event, Kejriwal played a vital role in mobilising public pressure to drop the proposed amendment.
Having organised a drive against bribes linking RTI to the challenges faced by the common man, Kejriwal's latest initiative is to help the Bihar government set up a call centre to enable illiterate villagers to access information.
Heroes of the year-Special Report-SUNDAY SPECIALS-The Times of India
This is an excellent example as to how RTI can help people across board to solve the problems.
Originally Posted by ganpat1956
The gap of Know and Know not can be bridged only by RTI.
Well Said Maneesh
A life devoted to RTI
From the web I could get some information on one more RTI activist, Mr Shailesh Gandhi, which I am posting for the benefit of our readers:
Shailesh Gandhi insists that one need not pay bribe in this country to get information. His reason: It is easily available through the Right to Information (RTI) Act, which is a legally-enforceable citizens right to acquire information about government and semi-government bodies and their functioning.
An IIT-Powai graduate, this 59-yearold is so driven about the RTI Act that he sold his successful business to devote himself fully to it.
He now sustains himself on the interest that comes from his savings, which is about Rs 60,000 a month. Of this amount, he spends a third on RTI.
“Earlier, our family comprised three members—my wife Bharti, daughter Ayesha and myself. Now that Ayesha is married and on her own, our expense remains the same because now it’s Bharti, RTI and myself.
For Gandhi, RTI was a natural extension of his interest in taking up the evils of society. “I used to hold a number of meetings in my house to take up issues such as communalism, corruption, Enron, IIT privatisation, Skybus and so on.”
His first tryst with RTI was in September 2003 when he approached the police commissioner of Mumbai, public information officer, for names of politicians who had recommended the transfer of some policemen.
This information was refused and thus began his battle against the police. “After some months under the RTI, I was able to get the names of all those, including some ministers, who were responsible for the illegal transfers.” His drive resulted in action being taken against the police officers…
Soon, he started using RTI as a tool to dig out information about government functioning. In 2004, he began offering to teach any individual or group who wanted to learn how to use the Act. For this, he even approached various organisations.
So far, Gandhi has managed to reach out to about 6,000 people. He believes that if one lakh people in Mumbai start using RTI every month (which according to him is possible), then fighting corruption would be an easy job.
Going by this yardstick, the figure for Maharashtra would be three lakh and for the rest of India, 10 lakh. “Imagine if 10 lakh people started questioning the government and authorities on policies and corruption, what an impact it would have on the quality of governance. At this rate, it would be one crore people per year questioning the government through RTI.” (The emphasis is mine--Ganpat)
According to Gandhi, instead of cribbing, people of India should ask for information to uncover corruption, non-implementation of rules and laws, arbitrariness in government functioning, lack of proper policies or existence of policies against public interest.
“The very fact that individuals ask for information will itself be an empowering exercise.” To spread this message, he holds discussions on the subject in English, Hindi, Marathi and sometimes in Gujarati.
This apart, he distributes booklets on RTI with a Marathi version and few copies of in Braille to all those present at the discussions. Gandhi also offers free court fee stamps to citizens who make an RTI application.
Gandhi has about 40 to 100 interactions with individuals every month, who usually meet him at his residence seeking help on using RTI.
In order to save time, Gandhi usually encourages people to seek help on the telephone or via email. “At times, people come with personal problems where I cannot be of any help.”
But at most times, Gandhi tries to educate and encourage the individual. “My primary objective is to teach people how to fish using RTI rather then catching it for them. I don’t follow up on the cases with the people who have sought help as I leave all that to them.”
Gandhi, however, makes an exception on issues like municipal road repairs, illegal structures or quarrying, cooperative society problems, police inaction, charges of corruption, Sebi probes, where he personally files applications.
Currently, he is pursuing the case of a visually-challenged man who was denied a job in a Mumbai college although he was unanimously selected by a university panel.
However, Gandhi is more than satisfied with his experience with the RTI so far. As soon as a citizen requisitions under the Right to Information Act, all files move at an amazing speed.
“Usually, the pending work is completed even before the 30-day deadline for giving information on the status of an application under the RTI Act.”
Source : The Times of India: Breaking news, views, reviews, cricket from across India.
We need more leaders like him to educate the massess. Long live Mr. Gandhi.