Two days National Convention on RTI and NREGA concludes

Two days National Convention on RTI and NREGA concludes

The two days convention on the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), being held under the aegis of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) and National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), concluded at Gandhi Bhawan, Lucknow on 10 September 2009. The convention was attended by about 400 people, from UP to Kerala, who projected their problems and solutions.

The first session was chaired by former Justice Mr Kamleshwar Nath, Mr SN Shukla (retd IAS), Mr IC Dwivedi, Mr Rakesh Mittal (retd IAS) and Mr SC Verma. Various problems encountered at the level of implementation of the RTI were highlighted in the presence of social activists Ms Aruna Roy and Mr Nikhil De. On the whole, it came out that the mind set of not giving the information is the biggest problem. It is clear that unless the information providers like Public Information Officers (PIOs), First Appeal Authorities and information commissioners’ work with the proper mind-set, the people will not get the relief they want.

In the second session, the focus was on NREGA. The rural development commissioner Mr Manoj Kumar Singh, listened to the views of the labourers, social and political activists. Some of the major problems projected were: non-preparation of job cards, non-acceptance of applications for work, not getting 100 days work, non–abolition of contract system, taking out wages for fictitious work days, charging money forcibly after it is withdrawn from the bank account, improper social audit, persecution and assaulting the workers (or social activists for instance). Ms Aruna Roy suggested that every month a two day open session, at the state level, should be arranged between the workers, the concerned minister and officers for listening to the complaints and suggestions from the workers, and act upon these too. Mr Manoj Kumar Singh, rural development commissioner, welcomed the suggestion for providing 70-80 days of work to every labour family.

SR Darapuri (9415164845), Urvashi Sharma, Sandeep Pandey, Arundhati Dhuru

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