Right To Government's Information?

The Parliament has passed new Right To Information Bill on May 12, 2005. Indians now have the right to demand access to government information. This is likely to help eliminate corruption and usher in an era of better governance. This Right To Information Act has the widest possible reach covering both central and state governments, panchayati raj institutions, local bodies and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), which are recipients of government grants.

One visible omission in the Draft National Environmental Policy was the right to information for improving environmental. It did not acknowledge the right to information as an important principle for environmental governance. Now that the Right To Information Act has become a law, the Environment Ministry is duty bound to incorporate it in its policy for meaningful participation of the people to examine the appropriateness of the decisions taken by others.

But what is sad is that only this right to information confined to government. As a part of globalization, government is constantly alienating public space in favour of private agencies. With the annexation of public space, private and corporate agencies are in command of more information that is vital to the lives of the people than the State has. Corporations should have been included in its ambit. Given this fact and the absence provision for prison sentence is clearly a stark loophole. Civil society feels that if these two omissions were addressed, it would give more teeth to the law.


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