Civil Society & Right to Information

Topics: Education in the United States, Accountability, Society Pages: 5 (859 words) Published: May 31, 2013
Civil Society & Right to Information

NIA: Capacity Building for Right to Information

RTI is a weapon in the hands of Civil Society. RTI empowers the civil society with the Right to seek information and helps in:

* Enabling Good Governance
* Ensuring accountability and transparency
* Ensuring participation of public in governance
* Eliminating corruption &
Empowering people

Civil Society & Right to Information

Volunteers from Civil Society Organisation can invoke RTI to access any:

• Information pertaining to any of public authorities
• Photocopies of Government contracts, payment, estimates, measurements of engineering works, drawings, records books and registers etc. • Samples of materials used in the construction of any Government project like roads, drains, buildings etc.

Right to Information
& Social Audit

To attain greater public accountability and transparency using RTI, CSOs across India have adopted a novel social accountability tool that goes hand in glove with RTI – SOCIAL AUDIT.

“Social Audit is an independent and participatory evaluation of the performance of a public agency or a programme or scheme. Social Audit enables the Civil Society to assess whether a public authority lives up to the shared values and objectives it is committed to”.

The RTI Act can be coupled with Social Audit to ensure the following:

• Access and audit availability of information in the public domain. • Generate demystified and understandable formats for better public comprehension. • Provide for the community to verify recorded information • Facilitate a regime of transparency and accountability

Examples of How RTI can be used to undertake Social Audit of Government processes, programmes and schemes

National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme

Volunteers from CSOs can inspect mandatory records maintained by Gram Panchayats & seek information & explanation under the scheme. Records that can be verified include:

• Application Registration Register
• Job Card Register
• Employment Register
• Estimates Register
• Muster Roll Register
• Measurement Books (M B)
• Complaint Register, etc

Public Distribution System

Volunteers from CSOs can invoke the RTI Act to collect information and verify the following under this process:

• Register/s containing names of card holder.
• Stock registers to assess the total stock
• Sale registers
• List of BPL cardholders
• List of commodities and rates fixed by the Government • Other registers supplied by Civil Supplies Officer / Mandal Revenue Officer, etc

Primary Health Services

• Attendance of medical officer and other staff
• Field visits & supervisory visits of the PHC staff
• Stock registers and inventory of medicines
• No. of Outpatients treated
• No. of Surgeries conducted and their success rate
• Inspection of immunisation registers & cold chain
• Inspection of other relevant registers
• Samples of medicines being supplied to patients.

Primary Education

CSOs can take a lead role in ensuring that the public education system function efficiently. The RTI Act can be used for accessing the following information: (sub. to exemptions)

• Teacher Attendance Registers
• Pupil Attendance Registers
• Teaching standards in the schools (Curriculum and daily lessons) • Enrollment and drop-out rate of students
• Student performance (Progress reports)
• Implementation of Mid-Day Meal Programme
• Infrastructure standards in schools (Class rooms, black boards, teaching aids, toilets etc.)

Civil Society & Right to Information

Some important functions that the CSOs can play with regard to RTI are as follows:

• Involve in basic service delivery and provide necessary institutional basis to the RTI movement along with the Government. • As grassroots...
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