RTI: Blindly transparent?

The Right to Information Act is in the news again because Rahul Gandhi spoke about it. This is what I had written earlier:

The RTI Act might become stronger only for a handful. Some of these celebrities could use this Act to have their way and use it as one more calling card. It is bad enough that much of the security machinery leaks out information to the media. This added empowerment of the pampered citizen will demote the right of the common person. Do you think anyone will want to know about kickbacks on tube-wells or how hooch tragedies take place? How many farmers are going to file PILs?

The important thing is not just getting information but whether anyone can act upon it. Who will be made answerable and to whom? Isn’t there a possibility that to snuff out corruption there could be more corruption with some big names smuggling out information using their good offices and a tacit barter?

If the idea is empowerment, then the signature campaigns should include those whose rights are being fought for and not merely unsolicited spokespersons. Today, we have a situation where landmark structures are being given special security while badly constructed buildings crash every other day. Does anyone want information about that?

Such talk only works as a style statement and sheds no light on the right to know. And knowledge does not stop with information.


This is to give perspective before I launch on the speech! Here it is: How he turned the tables: The Rahul Gandhi Interview

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