Right to information (RTI) is the right that you have, as a citizen, to access information from your government and private bodies that receive public funds. RTI is based on the principle that information belongs to the people. RTI boosts transparency, which in turn strengthens accountability, reduces corruption and improves delivery of public services.
How RTI can help you?
RTI enables citizens to hold public officials to account for their actions, demand for rights and better services, take a stand against corrupt practices, and so on. Even if you never make a request for information, you benefit from this law – as other groups bring to light activities that may otherwise have been kept secret. RTI empowers you!
The government also benefits from RTI. The access to information by public officials makes it easier for them to carry out their duties more efficiently. RTI supports citizens’ oversight and demand for accountability, which in turn helps improve performance and functioning of public organizations. For example, RTI can help you find out.
- The process and official fees for getting a driving license or transferring property, and if a public official asks for more than that, you can challenge him.
- The reason for no action on long pending re-construction of a broken bridge near your area. If funds have been allocated and no related activity has taken place, you can call for action.
- If local development schemes are not completed or are of poor quality, you can get details of the contracts to demand for proper execution of the work from the contractors.
- How many teachers’ positions were sanctioned and how many are actually working or attending your child’s school? If absenteeism of teachers is high, you can push for action.
- If any funds have been allocated for the dispensary or basic health unit of your area, and if it is closed for long or does not have necessary staff present, you can highlight the issue for government’s attention.
- What services and facilities are budgeted for by the local government, or how many staff (e.g. teachers, medical staff) are supposed to be working in them? With this information, you can demand for these services or ensure that staff works properly.
- If the recruitment process for a certain government job was transparent and the decision was based on selection criteria and rankings.
View the examples of the ways in which access to official information can empower you.