ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Right to Information : Slow Progress

Information in the present technology-empowered world defies easy definition. There may be a surfeit of it available; on the other hand, the absence of ‘useful’ information or its concentration in the state’s hands implies that citizens remain as unempowered as before. Even in countries in the developed world that spearheaded the citizen’s right to secure information, there have been instances, notably in the US following the terrorist attacks of September 2001, where such rights and liberties have been curbed. In India, the movement gained ground only in the last decade, and has been one led largely by grass roots activists and NGOs. Their awareness raising efforts through forums such as ‘jan sunwai’ in Rajasthan ensured some degree of accountability on the part of local level authorities. The milestones in the movement to make information a right and accessible to the ordinary citizen have been slow but progress has been gradual. Since 1996 nine states have implemented laws guaranteeing the right to information, albeit with varying degrees of circumscription.

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