RTI stands for “Right to Information” which is a fundamental right that every citizen has! Basically, the RTI gives you all the information that you want about the Govt. and what they are doing with your tax money! You have the right to ask the Government. why the roads outside your house are not fixed, why have you not received your “ration card” as yet, why is there so much garbage in your area that is not picked up etc.
But there’s a catch to it! Simply because if you go into a Govt. office and demand that they tell you why your work has not been done, they will not entertain you. If it’s a law, then it becomes harder to do this; that’s why we have the Right to Information Act, 2005. If they do not give you the information you want, they will have broken a law and can be punished for it!
Now you’ll ask me, who will give you the information you are looking for? If you want some information, you need to file an application with the “Public Information Officers” (PIO) or Assistant Public Information Officers (APIOs) who work in every Government Department. The PIO’s are responsible for collecting information wanted by you and providing that information to you within 30 days !
1) You can draft your application on a normal sheet of paper and submit it by post or in person to the PIO. Remember to keep a copy of the application for your personal reference!
2) You can find your concerned PIO at www.rti.gov.in
3) A PIO can refuse information on information prejudicial to security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the country, breach of privilege of legislatures, etc. But don’t worry about this! For an average citizen like you and me, the information we are looking for does not come under these categories. So the PIO cannot refuse to give us information.
Often a lot of things start falling in place just by asking information. In many cases, roads got repaired as soon as the “money spent” on repairs was asked. So, seeking information and questioning the government is an important step. Say you expose some corruption or wrongdoing using RTI, you can then complain to vigilance agencies, CBI or even file an FIR!
One thing is for sure. Seeking information like this and exposing the corruption does improve the future. The officials get a clear message that the people of that area have become alert and any wrongdoings in future would not remain hidden as they were in the past.
It’s like Sadda Haq Aithe Rakh! Demand what you Deserve!!