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RTI for transparency and accountability
DIMAPUR, Nov 20:
Published on 21 Nov. 2008 1:15 AM IST
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Legal Awareness program organized by Youth Alive Society was held Thursday at Community Hall, Dhansiripar. Referring to the RTI Act H. David, Lawyer said Right to Information had the power to unveil the iron curtain and foster transparency and accountability in the working of our government Highlighting the origin, objective, procedural technicalities, whom to approach and limitations of the RTI Act, David shared his experience in researching the origin of right to information where he traced it to the first story of mankind where God gave the other party the "Right to be heard"; thus, "wrong or right each party has a right to be heard before the actual judgment is passed", he stated. While stressing that RTI was a powerful tool he lamented that many were ignorant about it and were not utilizing the tool as desired. Highlighting S. 2(2) of the RTI Act, he informed that an applicant need not give any reason for filing an application nor to divulge any personal details. In the 2nd session, K. Sani talked about consumer rights as laid under Consumer Protection Act of 1986 and its importance in the daily life. "We are all consumers in one way or the other" he stated and went on to state that, as consumers of "goods" and "services", we all need to be aware of our rights such as safety against hazardous goods and services, right to choose from a variety at competitive prices, right to be heard and seek redressal among other rights. The participants, in the discussion hour, raised many concerns ranging from deficient service of hospitals and schools in their area, non-uniformity of pricing, charging more than the MRP, selling of spurious drugs by pharmacies, too poor to seek redressal, ignorant about whom to approach, , etc. The program was supported by Indo Global Social Service Society (IGSSS) and was attended by village chairman, youth, students, GBs, and women society. The program that started with a highlight of the activities of Youth Alive Society by Toshi Longchar, Secretary, ended on the note that each one needed to be aware of one's rights and to have knowledge to approach the right channel/s in order to become empowered citizens.

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