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