Empowering citizens to demand accountability

“the reason we all are here as Members of Parliament, is to ensure delivery of justice”

From the first, Milind has been a vocal supporter of every Indian’s right to access essential information on the basic functions of their nation. It is a basic right in any democratic nation to demand answers from the decision makers who shape policy and, by extension, the everyday lives of citizens. Below, you will find excerpts from a speech Milind made to the Parliament in 2005 emphasizing the importance of RTI.

“In one word, if this Bill could be summed up, it is empowerment – it is empowerment of one billion Indians to make them free; to allow them a great deal of autonomy, a great deal of transparency and, more importantly, access to accountability, which, in my opinion, has not been there for many years in India.

“The fundamental value of political science or politics, the reason we all are here as Members of Parliament, is to ensure delivery of justice. Justice is procedural in nature; justice is social in nature. This Bill will strengthen the process and delivery of procedural justice, which often precedes social justice.”

“We may keep in mind that India is a country where we spend Rs. 40,000 crore per year on poverty alleviation programme and yet, we have 300 million people living below the poverty line. This clearly means that something is wrong with the implementation or that something is wrong with the delivery mechanism. In my opinion, this Bill can be a solution for that.”

“…They saw it as freedom of information and we see as right to information. We see it as a fundamental right and not as freedom of information.”

“Similarly, in India, what we are enacting today will go a long way in ensuring that openness and transparency in our system will bring down implementation cost and eventually bring down the cost of the Government which will lead to better quality of governance in the system.”

“I do not think there is any reason, why if we have an ambassador for polio or for AIDS, the Government cannot have an Ambassador for Right to Information.”

“The point I am making is that we as Members of Parliament over here today, we are part of the transitory Government. This Bill, this piece of legislation, it has one fundamental objective of holding both the transitory Government, as well as, the permanent Government, the politicians, as well as, the bureaucracy much more accountable.”