The Right to Information (RTI) is a powerful tool for enhancing citizen’s ability to participate in the governance, Vice-President of India M Hamid Ansari has said.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the New Building of Uttar Pradesh Information Commission in Lucknow on Junly 11, 2016, the Vice-President said that democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information, which are vital to its functioning and also to contain corruption and hold governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed
Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Senior Judge of Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court Justice A P Sahi and Chief Information Commissioner Jawed Usmani were present on the occasion.
Vice President Ansari further said that the legislative intent of RTI is to empower the citizens to promote transparency and accountability in the working of public authorities, reduce the gap between the information provider and the information seeker, enhance efficiency in administration of public authorities, mitigate corruption and promote good governance.
“There can be little doubt that this Act is one of the most empowering and progressive legislations passed in the post-Independent India,” he observed and added that this Act provides for better governance, and impacts the very nature of governance itself.
He maintained that the basic tenets of the Act have been implemented and institutional mechanisms are in place, and are being used by citizens as a tool to bring in transparency and accountability at all levels of Governance. He further said that while the Civil Society Organisations and Media can act as pressure points, most of the correctives need to be carried out by the Government and Information Commissions.
“There is a need for a sustained mass awareness campaign, need for greater voluntary disclosure of information held with public Authorities, need to rid ourselves of the old mindset regarding secrecy of government processes and transactions and the need for person demanding information under the RTI to be emboldened and secure,” he concluded.