"...an information revolution [is] sweeping India. It may be the world’s largest democracy, but a vast and powerful bureaucracy governs. It is an imperial edifice built on feudal foundations, and for much of independent India’s history the bureaucracy has been largely unaccountable. Citizens had few means to demand to know what their government was doing for them. But it has now become clear that India’s 1.2 billion citizens have been newly empowered by the far-reaching law granting them the right to demand almost any information from the government. The law is backed by stiff fines for bureaucrats who withhold information, a penalty that appears to be ensuring speedy compliance [...] and has clearly begun to tilt the balance of power, long skewed toward bureaucrats and politicians. [...] "This law has given the people the feeling that the government is accountable to them."Coupling such legislation with growing use of mobiles and proactive civic media and citizen empowerment tools promises to reduce corruption, boost transparency, and increase civic competence.
29 June 2010
Civic Transparency ~ India's Right-to-Know Law
Fascinating to read Lydia Polgreen's NYTimes piece Right-to-Know Law Gives India’s Poor a Lever in which...