Governance, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
Evaluate the impact of institutional measures such as the Right to Information Act and the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act on enhancing transparency and accountability in the public sector.
सार्वजनिक क्षेत्र में पारदर्शिता और जवाबदेही बढ़ाने पर संस्थागत उपायों जैसे सूचना का अधिकार अधिनियम और लोकपाल और लोकायुक्त अधिनियम के प्रभाव का मूल्यांकन करें।
In this question candidates need to write about impact of RTI act and Lokpal and lokayukta act on enhancing transparency and accountability in public sector .
Right to Information Act 2005 (RTI Act), Lokpal and lokayukta act was enacted to empower the citizens to seek information from Public Authorities.Thereby it promotes transparency and accountability in the working of the Government, and makes Indian democracy work for the people in real sense.
Major impact of achievements of RTI Act, 2005.
- Increased responsiveness: Greater access of the citizen to information, led to increased responsiveness of government to community needs.
- For example, for about two years, every time, Suvarana Bhagyawant case in which she got the certificate within eight days.
- Awareness of rights: RTI has led to awareness of rights and responsibilities as citizens among people.
- This led to increased accountability of officials through RTI and litigation.
- In 2007, data obtained under RTI inspired citizens to question elected representatives to stop a scam worth over Rs. 6,000 crores in the Crawford Market redevelopment issues in Mumbai.
- Discharge of duties: Information through RTI has led to legitimate discharge of their duties by officers. It raised the standards of public services
- Led to Culture of obligation: RTI has developed an obligation at village, district, state or national level to disclose information to the people.
- Thus it enhanced transparency among various government bodies at all levels of the government.
- For e.g Villagers in Madhubani district, Bihar used RTI to expose a solar-light scam, leading to charges against 200 corrupt officials.
- Empowered poor communities: RTI empowered poor communities to raise their voices on the basis of information and demand for their rights from the government.
- This ensured the government being answerable to the poor.
- It plugged the incidence of corruption and plugged leakages.
- Proper grievance mechanism: RTI provided for Central and the State Information Commissions to hear grievances related to RTI.
- Informed Citizenry: RTI enabled healthy democracy and also contained corruption and held Governments accountable to the people.
- In the model district of Mocha, Chhattisgarh, people are using RTI to secure employment, scholarships and pensions for the elderly.
Impact of lokpal and lokayukta act –
- This Bill was passed by Parliament in July 2016 and amended the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013.
- It enables the leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha to be a member of the selection committee in the absence of a recognized Leader of Opposition.
- It also amended section 44 of the 2013 Act that deals with the provision of furnishing of details of assets and liabilities of public servants within 30 days of joining the government service.
- The Bill replaces the time limit of 30 days, now the public servants will make a declaration of their assets and liabilities in the form and manner as prescribed by the government. 2/5
- It also gives an extension of the time given to trustees and board members to declare their assets and those of their spouses in case of these are receiving government funds of more than Rs. 1 crore or foreign funding of more than Rs. 10 lakh
Way forward –
- In order to tackle the problem of corruption, the institution of the ombudsman should be strengthened both in terms of functional autonomy and the availability of manpower.
- The appointment of Lokpal in itself is not enough. The government should address the issues based on which people are demanding a Lokpal. Merely adding to the strength of investigative agencies will increase the size of the government but not necessarily improve governance. The slogan adopted by the government of “less government and more governance”, should be followed in letter and spirit.
- Moreover, Lokpal and Lokayukta must be financially, administratively and legally independent of those whom they are called upon to investigate and prosecute. Lokpal and Lokayukta appointments must be done transparently so as to minimize the chances of the wrong sorts of people getting in.
- There is a need for a multiplicity of decentralized institutions with appropriate accountability mechanisms, to avoid the concentration of too much power in any one institution or authority.
Since the implementation of the RTI, lokpal and lokayukta act it has established itself as an important tool in handling corruption and inefficiency in the Government. Issues and loopholes in RTI, lokpal and lokayukta should be removed through proper amendment to further the objectives of transparency and accountability.
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