'Time to look beyond RTI to achieve transparency'

Speakers at the Leadership Summit organised by the government of India and SKOCH Foundation, which concluded on Thursday, suggested that it was indeed time to look beyond the RTI for remedies.

Field researchers monitoring RTI implementation said that inherent defects in the Act and reluctance amongst bureaucrats to give the most relevant information were posing serious roadblocks in achieving transparency in governance.

Accountability Initiative (Centre for Policy Research) director Yamini Aiyar said the problem lay with the websites of government agencies, which in most cases do not provide the information most vital for implementation of the programmes.

The way information is being formatted to provide content, which calls for more skills in comprehending it, is also an issue, Aiyar said. Experts also stressed the need to look beyond providing information to ensure transparency and governance.

They said people’s participation in implementing a programme could only be ensured by giving beneficiaries at the local level an opportunity to modify it.

Secretary of Planning Commission Sudha Pillai said inclusive growth is harder to achieve due to rampant corruption in the system, which is preventing implementation of legislation like Minimum Wages Act, the Equal Remuneration Act and the Maternity Benefits Act.

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