The Vice President of India M. Hamid Ansari has said that RTI is a powerful tool that strengthens democracy and promotes good governance by enhancing the citizen’s ability to participate in the process. He was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the New Building of Uttar Pradesh Information Commission in Lucknow, today. The Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Ram Naik, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Akhilesh Yadav, Senior Judge, Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court, Justice A.P. Sahi and the Chief Information Commissioner of UP, Shri Jawed Usmani were present on the occasion.
The Vice President said that the legislative intent was to empower the citizen to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every Public Authority, reduce the gap between the information provider and the information seeker, enhance efficiency in administration of public authorities, mitigate corruption and promote good governance. He further said that there can be little doubt that this Act is one of the most empowering and progressive legislations passed in the post Independent India. This Act provide for better governance, and impact on the very nature of governance itself, he added.
The Vice President said that the basic tenets of the Act have been implemented, the institutional mechanisms are in place, and are being used by citizens as a tool to bring in transparency and accountability at all levels of Governance. He further said that while the Civil Society Organizations and Media can act as pressure points, most of the correctives need to be carried out by the Government and Information Commissions. There is a need for a sustained mass awareness campaign, need for greater voluntary disclosure of information held with public Authorities, need to rid ourselves of the old mindset regarding secrecy of government processes and transactions and the need for person demanding information under the RTI to be emboldened and secure, he added.