RACKETS EXPOSED DUE TO RTI
Objectives of RTI Act, 2005
INCREASE AWARENESS: Through this act, a common citizen can access information regarding workings of the government. This creates awareness as general public gets to know about how certain decisions are taken and implemented. This acts as a tool for the general public in order to take action against unjust practices.
PARTICIPATORY DECISION MAKING: This act enables a two way communication between the citizens and the public administration. It invites suggestion from the general public by giving them an opportunity to review the functioning of the government.
INCREASE IN RESPONSIBILITY OF GOVERNMENT : When the government is aware that all of their actions are under public scrutiny, they tend to be more sensitive towards the needs of the citizens and act accordingly.
INCREASE IN CREDIBILITY OF DATA : As this act allows to obtain data from official sources, the credibility of the mass media also increases given that there will be no scope of manipulation of the facts.
INTEGRITY OF THE GOVERNMENT : The amount of transparency in government operations made possible by this act helps in creating a political environment which is more accountable and corruption free, thus, helping in maintaining the integrity of the government.
Looking at the flip side, there is a major issue of conflict between right to privacy and right to information whenever there is a demand to access personal information from the government bodies. So, there is a need to identify the boundaries as to what is acceptable and what does not constitute public information.
Scam of Adarsh Society
To honour and make the lives of the families of the kargil war heroes in 1999 better, the government came up with a project wherein a six storey apartment building was to be constructed to provide housing to the widows of the martyrs. It later turned out to be a thirty one storey building. After an RTI filed by activists Simpreet Singh and Yogacharya Anandji, it came to light that the land was being misused and was used to house powerful defence personnel and politicians and their relatives who bought houses worth almost 8 crores at one tenth of its value in the market. On top of that, the modified construction was not approved by ministry of environment and forests, due to it being in proximity of already planned military installations. This scam was also
investigated by CBI. The then Maharashtra chief minister, Ashok Chavan was involved and thereby had to resign. This sort of power was not available to the common citizens before RTI. It proved that no matter how influential a person is, they all come under the purview of RTI.
This scam showed how deep rooted the corruption is in the Indian administrative system. It revealed that the then telecom minister of India, A. Raja in 2008 was charging less amount than stipulated to permit licenses to telecom operators consequently causing a loss of almost Rs. 1.76 lakh crore to the government. Not just this, people who were not qualified or had any proper documentation were granted licenses at throwaway prices. This was all revealed through an RTI filed by Subhash Chandra Agrawal in 2011. The CAG took charge and prepared a report which revealed that significant shares of companies at high premiums were given in exchange of these fraudulent licenses.
Scam of Commonwealth Games
An RTI filed by NPO- Housing and Land Rights Network in 2010 brought everybodyʼs attention towards the fraud committed by Suresh Kamaldi, the then chairman of the organising committee of the Commonwealth Games who diverted funds from the Dalitsʼ social welfare project and did not even use them on the event, the athletes were allegedly made to stay in shabby apartments. This embarrassed India at an international level and tarnished its image in the world. This showed how every sector is plagued with corruption that even such a high end event was not exempted from it.