RTI was introduced in India in the year 2005, for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens of the world’s largest democracy. Though not all, many people have used this act to reveal appalling details involving, negligence, indifference, corruption and ineffectiveness of our governing body. People have used this powerful weapon to uncover truth which made a huge difference in their everyday life. Let us check out 15 great uses of RTI and instances citizens put it to good use.
1. Status of Work in Progress
Mazloom Nadaf was promised a house under Indira Aawas Yojana, but no progress was seen even after 5 years. Instead of paying the amount of Rs.5000/- the 77 year old Rickshaw puller used RTI to find justice and shelter.
2. Right Use Of Public Funds
Why do we have so many potholes on Indian roads? Are the funds sanctioned for road repairs being used appropriately? The answer seems to be in negative as found out by a NGO worker who by means of RTI when investigating the pathetic road condition of Bagepalli which claimed several lives. The authorities had misused Rs 1.32 crore sanctioned for road repair.
3. Killing by Feeding
Bad quality food served under the Mid-Day Meal scheme has claimed several young lives. Instead of filling the hungry stomach, the money is filling the greedy pockets of the officials. Many RTI activists are fighting their war to bring justice to these children.
4. Basic Wages
Workers can seek help on non-receipt of minimum wages at Govt. offices. RTI will reveal the exact amount of pay and day of issuance as well. No matter whether they work in the office or not, they are off course entitled to their pay.
5. Voters ID Card
Officials ask for voters ID card wherever you go, but often villagers not receiving Voter ID cards. Now there have been cases where either helped by NGO or just independently they got their IDs with the help of RTI
6. Schools Without Teachers
Whereas the problem of teachers being in school but not teaching the children cannot be solved by RTI, the ‘Absence of Teachers in schools’ can be.
7. Overcrowded Jails
What’s new? Isn’t the whole of India overcrowded? Yet considering responding to an RTI query filed by NCPRI worker Raja John Bunch, Supreme Court issued notice to resolve this problem, especially keeping the under-trials in mind.
8. It’s My Money
9. A Dead Death Certificate
When Anita Jain, 30, lost her husband, his death certificate which should have been issued in week did not arrive even for month. It looked like the death certificate itself was dead and all hope was lost; she used the RTI to know the status of the death certificate and get justice for herself.
10. Save The Trees
It is not always for personal issues that people take help of RTI. For example, Neeraj Kumar Singh filed RTI to check the issue of tree felling in Delhi.
11. FTII Gender Issues
Though Indian Cinema has had its share of women directors, actors and other artists, the FTII, according to RTI file report doesn’t encourage women employees. Between the years 1993 -2013, only 3 women have been appointed at the institute as fulltime faculties.
12. Students Rights
Though we say we promote literacy, Indians fall down on their face when it comes to actually helping students reach their goals. Vaishavi Kasturi, a visually impaired student did well in entrance exam but was denied seat in IIM. By filing RTI, she made the IIM’s admission criteria public. Unfortunately, she did not get admission.
13. Relief Funds
Officials who misuse funds can be shamed when someone decides to file RTI. Bureaucrats of Indian Red Cross Society were charged with fraud for misusing funds meant for Kargil war victims and those hit by natural disaster.
14. A Child’s Play
Police may fail in catching the thief, but they need not fail in lodging an FIR. They learned their lesson a hard way when 9 year old Pranav used RTI to force them to lodge an FIR about his lost bicycle which they refused earlier.
15. No One Is Spared
The power of RTI was proven when Ashok Chavan has to resign from his CM’s post when the Adarsh Society Scam was brought to light. May be there is still hope for citizens of India.