The Right to Information Act (RTI) in India is all about bringing information to the citizens. It was introduced in 2005 and mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information. It is an initiative taken by Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. It’s used heavily by Indian citizens even though the portal itself is far from being what you would consider user-friendly.
Mid March I’ve had the chance to chat with Raja Muzaffar Bhat from Kashmir on this topic. Muzaffar is one of the foremost Right to Information activists in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, focusing his attention on raising awareness and use of the RTI. He was a co-founder of the Jammu and Kashmir Movement (JKRTIM) which he left in 2012 to spearhead transparency as member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Muzaffar has rejoined JKRTIM after resigning from PDP on Feb 9th – only after 5 month – in protest against the hanging of Mohammad Afzal Guru.
It was a kind of tough and tricky to keep Muzaffar “away from Kashmiri politics” and focus on RTI – but at the end we more or less managed pretty well;-)
Thanks Muz for your time!