The Right to Information Act, 2005, is one of the progressive measures introduced during the UPA Government’s tenure. It has helped a large number of people, although I personally believe the middle class, the most vocal, disenchanted and fretting section of our citizens, has been rather slow in realising its potential.
Although no one expected the RTI Act to cut through the thick layers of Government easily, a report on the working of the law says things are very difficult in many states, even after three years.
Although this may not be the definitive or perfect report on the subject, it shows the scope to do structured work on the RTI, without relying only on individual experiences and anecdotes. It also provides a range of individual sub-topics to analyse the working of the Act.
I believe NGOs and citizen sector movements can achieve a lot under the Act, if they sit down to analyse its potential, and equally important, educate the citizenry on its use. At present, many people are simply unaware of how to draft a petition and send it with the requisite fee.
In Chennai, the Fifth Pillar has been doing something about this, but its reach is yet to translate into spectacular actions that shake Government.