IF FREEDOM as birthright was the slogan during the Independence struggle, then the right to know has become the clarion call for resurgent India.
The audio visual show at the second day of the media workshop organised by the Women’s Features Service along with the United Nations Development Programme and Britain’s Department for International Development, was an overwhelming experience. When the IIM alumnus Vinay along with his wife Charul crooned Janane ka Haque (right to know), the audience heard in rapt attention.
With the proposal to amend the RTI Act still hogging the headlines, it is such commitment levels that still spell hope for the have-nots. Anjali Bhardwaj of NGO Satark Nagrik Sangthan and Manish Sisodia of Kabir, another voluntary organisation, said though RTI was a powerful anti-corruption tool, but what was of more significance, it ensured public participation in governance. RTI had made life easy for the common man.
The speakers expressed apprehension that though the Act had escaped amendment during the current Parliament session, the government would again try to rake up the issue in the winter session. They hammered the point that all attempts at amending the Act must be thwarted and public pressure must be built to prevent the government from doing so.
The first session focused on poverty and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. UNDP’s Pradeep Sharma lamented that though there has been growth, inequality has also increased.
Emphasising that education was the only way out of poverty, Sharma said the framework of millennium development goals must be brought down to the grassroots level for maximum effect.
Ashok Singh of Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra said there was no political will to eradicate poverty as no guidelines had been yet framed for effective implementation of the programme in the State.