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International Anti-Corruption Day: All you Need to Know About Right to Information (RTI)

All nations are impacted by the complex social, political, and economic issue known as corruption. Corruption threatens democratic institutions, stifles economic growth, and fuels political instability.
By skewing voting processes, subverting the rule of law, and establishing bureaucratic tangles whose sole purpose is to collect bribes, corruption undermines the foundation of democratic institutions. Foreign direct investment is discouraged, and corruption frequently makes it impossible for small firms within the nation to cover the necessary “start-up costs,” which stunts economic progress.

International Anti-Corruption Day

Resolution 58/4, passed by the General Assembly on October 31, 2003, requested that the Secretary-General appoint the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as secretariat for the Conference of States Parties to the Convention. Since that time, 188 parties have agreed to uphold the Convention’s anti-corruption commitments, demonstrating the nearly universal appreciation of the significance of sound political commitment, accountability, and governance.
In order to increase public awareness of corruption and the Convention’s role in preventing and fighting it, the Assembly also proclaimed December 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day. In the month of December 2005, the Convention became effective.

International Anti-Corruption Day 2022

The goal of the 2022 International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD) is to draw attention to the critical relationship between anti-corruption efforts and development, security, and peace. Its basic tenet is that combating this crime is everyone’s right and obligation and that the only way we can mitigate its bad effects is through everyone’s collaboration and commitment. States, public servants, law enforcement officers, journalists, members of the private sector, members of civil society, academics, the general public, and youth all have a part to play in unifying the world against corruption.

RTI – The tool to Fight Corruption

RTI, which stands for Right To Information, is a right of the citizens of India to ensure transparency and hold the persons in power accountable for their actions. Each person has the right, regardless of boundaries, to request and receive information and ideas about any topic through any media under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The main objectives of the RTI Act are:
– Allow the citizens of the country to question the working government.
– Promote transparency and answerability of the working government.
– Check corruption prevailing in the government to serve the citizens better.
– Make citizens well-informed about the functioning of the government system.

Types of Information that can be accessed using RTI

The public has the right to inquire about any information that the government may release in the parliament. In other words, Indian citizens are entitled access any type of information. Through the RTI Act, they have the right to inquire about any government officials at any time.
There are some restrictions on the kinds of information that can be accessed, though. Information is not covered by the Right to Information Act if it could compromise our nation’s integrity and sovereignty. The RTI Act of 2005 exempts from disclosure any sensitive information pertaining to our nation’s internal security, information about India’s associations with other nations that is necessary for upholding cordial relations between them, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), and any cabinet discussions.

Importance of RTI in Indian Democracy

The Right to Information is a fundamental right of the citizens. The RTI Act of 2005 must be understood in order to act as a responsible citizen. Its importance is highlighted in this section by the following points:
– The Right to Information Act gives citizens the ability to challenge the secrecy and unethical behaviour present in the current state of government.
– The RTI Act is used by authorities at the federal and state levels to assist citizens in obtaining the information they need.
– Since the RTI Act is subject to the interests of Indian citizens, the information that falls under its purview is treated as public property. The openness of democracy and effective governance both depend on this kind of information.
– For the current government to be held accountable, the information covered under the RTI Act is essential. It is helpful for additional reasons as well, all of which serve society’s interests for a better future.
– RTI gives ordinary persons in our nation the ability to challenge even the highest and most powerful authority.
– People now have access to information that might otherwise be withheld by governments and bureaucrats thanks to the RTI Act.
– The RTI Act assists in bringing to light any violations of human rights, exposing corruption that exists in government systems, and drawing attention to improper actions by union or state-level government officials.
– The RTI Act gives citizens access to information on government decisions, programmes, and initiatives that directly affect them.
– Referring to Articles 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees that people have the right to free speech and expression as well as the right to live as they like, the Supreme Court has deemed RTI to be a basic right.

How to file an RTI

– Visit https://rtionline.gov.in, the official RTI website.
– Click the submit request option to submit an RTI application.
– The “Guidelines for the use of RTI ONLINE PORTAL” page will appear after selecting the submit request option. Various instructions for utilising the RTI online portal can be found on this screen. Select the checkbox, then press the submit button.
– The screen for the online RTI request form will then appear. From the Select Ministry/Department/Apex body dropdown, choose the ministry or department for which the applicant wants to submit an RTI.
– If the applicant gives a mobile number, SMS notifications will be sent to that device. The fields with an asterisk (*) are required; all others are optional.
– If a citizen falls under the BPL category, he must check the box next to “Is the applicant below the poverty line?” and choose “Yes.” A BPL card certificate must be uploaded in the supporting document field.
Note: (No RTI fee is required to be paid by any individual who is below the poverty line as per RTI Rules, 2012)
– Following application submission, a special registration number would be given, which the applicant might use as a reference in the future.
– The answer to the question “Is the applicant below the poverty line?” must be “No” if a citizen falls into the Non-BPL category.
Note: According to the 2012 RTI Rules, non-BPL category citizens must pay a fee of Rs 10 for each request. The supporting document area allows for the upload of the application.
– Click the “make payment” button after completing the form’s fields with all necessary information.
– The applicant will also receive an SMS and email alert after their application has been submitted.

Limitations of RTI

– By requesting extraneous information that has no purpose for the general public, the RTI can occasionally be abused or misused to waste the valuable time of public authorities.
– RTI may be used by some as a means of gaining notoriety by scandalising trivial facts.
– When RTI is abused, the public authorities are occasionally pressured and harassed.
– RTI in India faces obstacles due to the size of the country, a lack of awareness, and illiteracy.
– The fundamental goal of the RTI Act of 2005 was not to be utilised as a mechanism for resolving disputes, however, this does happen occasionally.