Students write RTI applications: Pledge never to give or take bribe

Magsaysay Awardee Dr Sandeep Pandey taught students how to write applications under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, 2005, to fight corruption, and to increase accountability and transparency. He also appealed to the students to take a pledge never to give or take bribe. Grow up as responsible and honest citizens, said Dr Sandeep Pandey. The students gave Dr Pandey examples of corruption they see or have heard of in their lives. Giving donation for admission in educational institutions, giving a bribe to police agencies, schools forcing students to buy books from a particular shop or publisher, were some of the corruption examples students told Dr Pandey. Dr Sandeep Pandey was interacting with the students of Rani Laxmi Bai (RLB) Inter College, Sector 14, Indira Nagar, Lucknow.

"It is apparent that mostly it is the educated people who indulge in corruption vis-a-vis uneducated poor people of our country. Most of the big scams are not possible without the connivance of highly educated officers" said Dr Sandeep Pandey. "This is all the more reason why it is important for young students to be sensitive to issues like corruption and think of social welfare instead of just their own interests in their future life" said Dr Pandey.

Dr Sandeep Pandey gave an example of a student from City Montessori School (CMS) who had used the RTI and filed an application under RTI Act, 2005, to Lucknow Nagar Nigam asking the following questions:
- Why the garbage in front of her school has not been removed?
- Whose responsibility is it to remove garbage lying in front of her school?
- What action should be taken against those responsible for not doing their duties of removing this garbage?
- By when this garbage will be removed?

In response to this RTI application, the garbage was removed promptly and the school authorities then built a public library for citizens on that place, said Dr Sandeep Pandey.

Students felt enthused to see how they themselves can play a positive and constructive role in fighting corruption and improving conditions in and around their living area.

Dr Sandeep Pandey then drafted a sample RTI application and every participating student wrote a real RTI application on some issue affecting their lives. The application has to be addressed to Public Information Officer (PIO) and must state that the information is being sought under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, 2005. Every RTI application has to be filed with a fee of Rs 10 which can either be paid in cash or sent through a money order. Students don't have to go to the offices concerned because they can also send the application through registered post, said Dr Sandeep Pandey.

Dr Sandeep Pandey also administered an oath to the students never to give or take bribe.

Initiating over a thousand students into using RTI Act, 2005, is a great step forward in making the young people more proactive in fighting corruption. Let's hope these young people grow up into honest and responsible citizens and contribute to the development and social welfare in a positive manner.

Bobby Ramakant - CNS

Published in:
Citizen News Service (CNS), India/Thailand
The States Times, Jammu & Kashmir
Elites TV, California, USA
RTI For Citizen

1 comment:

  1. "Nannu is a daily wage earner. He lives in Welcome Mazdoor Colony, another slum habitation in East Delhi . He lost his ration card and applied for a duplicate one in January this year. He made several rounds of the local Food & Civil Supplies office for the next three months. But the clerks and officials would not even look at him, leave alone do his job or bother to tell him the status of his application. Ultimately, he filed an application under the Right to Information Act asking for the daily progress made on his application, names of the officials who were supposed to act on his application and what action would be taken against these officials. Within a week of filing application under Right to Information Act, he was visited by an inspector from the Food Department, who informed him that the card had been made and he could collect it from the office. When Nannu went to collect his card next day, he was given a very warm treatment by the Food & Supply Officer (FSO), who is the head of a Circle. The FSO offered him tea and requested him to withdraw his application under Right to Information, since his work had already been done.

    Mrs Bakshi has a house in South Delhi. She rent a part of her house to someone, who was using it for commercial purposes. Therefore, a commercial water connection for that part of the house was taken. When the tenant vacated the house, she applied to Delhi Jal Board (DJB) for converting water connection back to domestic. She kept running around for several months. None listened to her. She was even told by some DJB men that the work would be done in no time if she paid a bribe. She refused. Her Neighbour, Saurav, one day told her about RTI and helped her in filing an application. She filed one and her job was done in the next few days.

    Mr Sharma had to go to Germany. His daughter-in-law was expecting a baby. He needed a passport urgently. He applied for one. Acccording to the rules, it should be made in 45 days. For six months he kept running around. But no one listened. When he finally applied under RTI, his passport was made in a weeks time."