A coffee-table book narrating the success stories of the Right to Information (RTI) Act will be released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the annual Right to Information (RTI) conference to be held in the national capital next month.
Compiled at the Pune-based Yashwanatrao Chavan Academy of Developmental Administration (YASHDA), the book will narrate 62 success stories as well as the best practices followed by government offices in regards to RTI in the country.
Rajiv Sabde, editor-in-chief of the project, said the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) had appointed Yashda to come up with the book.
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“We contacted all the Administrative Training Institutes (ATI), State Information Commissioners and known RTI users and asked them to share success stories from their states. Barring just a few states, all others responded,” he said.
Maharashtra leads the country with six success stories while Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana have contributed three stories each.
Rest of the states have contributed one or two success stories. Even Andaman Nicobar Island had contributed a success story, besides remote states like Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. Only Punjab and a few other states failed to send any response.
The book, according to Sabde, would be divided into two parts featuring the success stories as well as best practices.
The stories range from a treasury officer from Tamil Nadu using RTI to recover ration card of people who had lost the same in the floods, a student using RTI to get roads repaired in Andaman and Nicobar to the RTI Katta run by Vijay Kumbhar in Pune.
RTI on Wheels, an initiative by an RTI body in Gujarat and the open-day practised in various government offices in Maharashtra also find a place in the book.
Sabde said this was the first time a coffee table book on this subject was to be published in the country.
One of the most important themes which came across in the stories was the power and fear of RTI Act in the lower rungs of the bureaucracy.
Sabde said that in many cases, the orders of the SIC was enough to solve problems of people.
“In a village in Gujarat, the street lamps were installed all around the sarpanch’s house. This led to a villager to file an RTI application asking for information. Almost immediately, the positions of the lamp posts were changed,” said Sabde.