RTI can check corruption: Experts

October 16th, 2011 - 7:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Oct 16 (IANS) Amid a debate on the Right to Information Act (RTI) affecting governance, experts Saturday batted for strengthening the transparency law, stressing its potential to check corruption and redress grievances.

Bibek Debroy of the Centre for Policy Research, Maja Daruwala of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and G. Raghuram of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) felt that the RTI Act’s “potential for stemming corruption and grievance redressal needs much more obedience to proactive disclosure”.

They shared their views on the final day of the two-day convention Oct 14-15 on “Transparency and Accountability with Special Reference to Public Private Partnership Projects” here.

While Daruwala maintained that the RTI Act “has the potential and efficacy to curb corruption and redress grievance”, Debroy was of the opinion that “corruption comes down if monopoly goes away and corruption comes down if discretion goes away”.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who also addressed the meet, said Right to Information is a basic right that underpins good governance, democracy, poverty eradication and the practical realisation of human rights.

He requested the CIC to organise an all India workshop on RTI as is being implemented in Patna.

The controversy over the transparency law arose after the prime minister, addressing the 6th Annual Convention of Information Commissioners here Thursday, said the act has been effective but there were “concerns that it could discourage honest, well-meaning public servants from giving full expression to their views”.

“Even as we recognise and celebrate the efficacy and the effectiveness of the Right to Information Act, we must take a critical look at it,” Manmohan Singh said. “There are concerns that need to be discussed and addressed honestly.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had accused the prime minister of trying to dilute the law and social activist Aruna Roy, also a member of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, had criticised Manmohan Singh for “suggesting dilution of the Act.”

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