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Thursday, November 2

I have a right to know ! - Links

Following up on my previous post about RTI, here are some links:

Parivartan : This is the NGO started by Arvind Kejriwal which is heading the RTI movement in India. The site has all kind of info.

The Indian RTI blog.

Taz writes about Arvind Kejriwal's visit at Sepia Mutiny.

And while I am at it, let me recount a vivid example of how the international institutions like WB impose their will on the administration. So all your doubts about the evilness of WB may not be far fetched after all. The story goes that Delhi Govt has a project about the privatization of water distribution in Delhi. The project was funded by WB. The project was being run secretly for 5-6 years ! And when Parivartan tried to get information under RTI, they initial response of the Govt was a complete denial of the existence of the project. However after a extended confrontation, they were able to get all the files related to the project and the details that came out were shocking. The project was finally scrapped after experts form leading technical institutions of India equivocally pleaded against it.

The information received also included all the correspondence exchanged between WB and Govt agencies and shows the extent of bullying that goes on. So WB wanted a particular firm to get the contract for the initial research. When the tenders were opened and each of company assessed, the said company failed to make the cut. The WB in a series of letters forced the Govt agency to scrap the process/ change the scores/ remove the person who gave lower marks to that company etc . There were letters from the WB that said things like "Change the last line of 3rd paragraph in the document to include a the. Delete the 4th line from the last paragraph.", virtually dictating everything. And this was a project that was going to change the water distribution network of Delhi completely. There was no participation from the major stake holder i.e. the citizens of Delhi. Probably a big disaster was averted by the timely intervention.

Everyone of these incidents points to only one thing, that each one of us has to start participating more actively in the things around us and that we have to go ahead and claim our stake in the things that affect us.

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