State Fares Poor On Awareness On RTI

State Fares Poor On Awareness On RTI 26 Jan 2009, 0400 hrs IST, Ajay Parmar, TNN Text: JODHPUR: The people of Rajasthan are at the rock bottom when it comes to awareness on Right to Information Act, despite the fact that the seeds of the movement were sown in the state. According to Transparency International India,(TII) an NGO, just 5.5% people of the state are aware about these rights. Moreover, the urbanites are behind their rural counterparts when it comes to awareness. In terms of corruption, the state comes under the second category, which is "very high." The first is "alarming" and third and fourth being "high" and "moderate" respectively. The categorisation was done by TII for the purpose of the study. Executive director of TII, Anupama Jha, who was in Jodhpur to sign an MoU with Jal Bhagirathi Foundation, another NGO, informed that after a series of NGOs got blacklisted for their involvement in corrupt practices, the TII has been very careful in associating with them but she ruled out complete overlooking of such NGOs owing to their penetration at grass roots level. The TII has now taken up the task of empowering the deprived or the BPL (below poverty line) section with the tools in dealing with corruption and by demanding of their rights from public representatives. There are 5.6 million people in the country who are below poverty line and 34% of these do not have the BPL cards and even those who are having cards, are very frequently denied facilities meant for them. "In our study on BPL families in 2008, it has been observed that the average bribe a BPL family has to give per year is Rs 495 and a major part of it goes to the police. Considering this, we have now decided to spread awareness at the grassroots level for the purpose of improving the standards of governance in the BPL section and provide them with what they are entitled to and for this, it is essential that they are equipped with anti-corruption tools and are able to ensure the compliance of the citizen's charter," Jha added. Jha said that the country has an Integrity score of 3.4 out of 10, which shows that corruption is very rampant in the country and the nation has scaled higher on the International Bribe Payer Index. Referring to the non-ratification of the UNCTAD by India, Jha said that Indian businessmen are quite inclined to pay bribe in foreign countries. The study of the TII says that police, politicians and judiciary are the most corrupt segments in the country. Even National Rural Employment Guarantee Act is not spared by the corruption, which has been kept in the third category.

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Source : TNN,
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