GUWAHATI, Oct 7: "Access to Right to Information (RTI) must be ensured to the deprived and margilized segments of society and the muted voices must be heard loud and clear," said Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi while iugurating the one-day regiol workshop on 'Right to Information Act, 2005' at Assam Administrative Staff College at Khapara here today.
Gogoi said Right to Information can be made an effective tool by ensuring that the voices of the deprived and margilized segments of society are heard loud and clear.
The Chief Minister said that Assam is one of the pioneer States which introduced the Right to Information by a separate State Act in 2002. He said that protection must be accorded to the public servants who work with good intention and not those with vested interests. "Public servants who serve the people with good faith and intention must be protected unlike those who have malafide intention and are in nexus with vested circles. Those who take risks and take hard decisions without fear or favour for the common good must be given protection," Gogoi said, adding that favouritism, nepotism and corruption must be weeded out by ensuring transparency and accountability in governce which are vital for strengthening the roots of democracy.
Underscoring the need for involvement of civil societies and NGOs in removing the lacue in implementation of the RTI Act, Gogoi said, "The very purpose for which the RTI Act has been ected must be ensured and for this whatever idequacies found must be plugged to make it more effective. For this the involvement of civil societies and NGOs is a must."
Attributing the assertiveness of the people about their rights as a healthy sign of democracy, Gogoi said: "More and more people are coming forward to assert their rights and dues, and this is definitely a healthy sign of democracy. The RTI Act can play a pivotal role in making people aware of their rights by creating awareness."
Earlier, in his welcome address, State Chief Information Commissioner HS Das said the RTI Act ected in 2005 has completed 10 years of its implementation. Das said the good practices adopted by various States together with the problems confronting the States in implementing the RTI Act would be deliberated upon and the vital inputs would be placed before the tiol Convention to be held on October 16 and 17 in New Delhi.
The iugural session, was attended, among others, by Central Chief Information Commissioner Vijai Sharma, Central Information Commissioner Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu, Assam Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia, Chief Information Commissioners of Meghalaya and Manipur, State Information Commissioners of Assam, Aruchal Pradesh and galand, Assam Additiol Chief Secretary Subhas Chandra Das and civil society members, RTI activists, NGOs and SPIOs of different departments.