A one-day workshop was organized by the UGC-Human Resources Development Centre, University of Hyderabad (UoH) on RTI Act: Retrospect and Prospect on 14th August 2015. The RTI Act is a master key for good governance and needs a wider debate on its implementation in full, said Dr. Sudhakar Babu from Academic Staff College, UoH while introducing the theme of the workshop.
Prof. Madabhushanam Sridhar Acharyulu, Central Information Commissioner, Govt. of India was the Chief Guest and he said that through this workshop feedback and opinion on the implementation of the RTI Act in the last ten years will be collected and analyzed for making suggestions to improve the reach of the same. When RTI Act came in 2005 it was like a second Independence for our country, he added. Prof. Sridhar also stated that in India we need to be more vigilant on the performance of the government on a daily basis which will help people to get information on their performance and bring out the loopholes to be corrected for good governance. He thanked the UoH for arranging this workshop.
Prof. S. Rama Rao, World Intellectual Property Organisation – United Nations in his inaugural address said that India as a new democratic entity after independence is a major contributor of the International Human Rights Law. RTI Act has been recognized as freedom of expression. In 1990s, only 13 countries had national legislation on RTI but today there are more than 100 countries that are following this, he added. Prof. Rao further stated that it is only good governance that can give transparency and accountability. We must bring out the black sheep out of secrecy to help in changing the system to benefit the common man, he concluded.
Shri S. Prabhakar Reddy, State Information Commissioner in his keynote address titled 10 years of Implementation of RTI: Some Issues, stated that RTI Act is a great milestone in evolution of democracy in India. In the past ten years it has ushered transparency and good governance in the country. Though it is gaining awareness and has helped the poorer sections to get information at low cost in short time, there is room for more improvement, he added. Shri Reddy further opined that authorities must implement pro-active disclosure and more powers to be given to the Information commission to strengthen the RTI Act. While concluding his address, Shri Reddy said that adequate measures should be taken to provide safety to whistle-blowers.
Presiding over the inaugural session Prof. R P Sharma, Vice-Chancellor of UoH said, “we are fortunate to have three luminaries in our midst whose knowledge on RTI can enrich all of us and help in wider implementation of the Act.”