RTI awareness level continues to be poor in the country
A survey titled 'Peoples' monitoring of the RTI regime in India 2011-2013', was done across five state capitals - Jaipur, Guwahati, Delhi, Patna and Hyderabad to know about the awareness of the Right to Information (RTI) Act in the country. The findings of the United Nations Development Programme funded programmme were released recently and show that computer literacy does not necessarily translate into awareness of the rights.
During the course of the survey, conducted by Delhi-based RTI Assessment and Advocacy Group (RaaG) and Samya - Centre for Equity Studies, many street corner interviews (SCI) were held at various locations like the government hospitals, universities, market places, and malls. Between 2011 and 2013, SCI were done with nearly 2,000 respondents in the five cities.
In the capital city of Hyderabad, the services of the city-based United Forum for RTI (UFRTI) was utilised for conducting the survey. The SCIwas done at eight locations including Gandhi Hospital, Osmania General Hospital, General Bazaar, Koti market, Prasad Imax, GVK Mall, Osmania University and Nizam College. The survey shows that awareness of the transparency law ranges from 54% to 69%, with Hyderabad showing the lowest figures and Guwahati having the highest level of awareness. The respondents who were aware of the RTI Act were 55% in Jaipur, 61% in Patna and 65% in Delhi.
The poor levels of awareness of the law which also an important tool to ensure transparency and accountability of public authorities has led to calls for action for awareness campaign.