|State Information Commisioner Shri V V Giry delivering the inaugural address|
This was followed by a talk by Shri P Rajan, who is an eminent journalist and one of those personalities who take an active interest in this legislation. He shared his experience on filing RTIs to various departments. He hailed RTI as a weapon for better governance, accountability and to get due justice by the common man. He also hailed the Kerala State Information Commission for being very liberal and forward thinking in many of the decisions taken. He made certain observations on the act and its implementation. He said that even now there is no clarity on public information officers in various departments.He also opined that that there is a rigorous need of publicity in the middle class to use RTI.He stressed upon the importance of NGOs and organised movements to use RTI as a tool to fight corruption. He encouraged students to take an active part in the social issues and use RTI as potent tool to get information which is their right.
This session was followed a documentary screening on the RTI Campaign by NDTV and an NGO called Kabir called DRIVE Against BRIBE.THe documentary drove home the point on how effectively RTI can be used to counter corruption and bring about transparency.
The session after lunch was an introduction to the Liberal Youth Forum India, by Mr. D Dhanuraj. He explained the philosophy of the organisation and how any liberal is welcome to join this forum which acts as a common platform for common issues all over India.
RTI coordinator, Jithin P Varghese took the students throught the basics of the Right to Information Act and also helped them to understand the practical applications of the act. This was followed by a ‘Question and Answer’ session in which the students clarified various doubts regarding the act and its applicability.
The session on RTI was followed by a presentation on Centre for Public Policy Research by Malathy M, Communications Associate, CPPR. She introduced the organisation and explained to the students the various activities undertaken by CPPR and how they could be a part of the organisation in the fields of their interests.
This was followed by a talk by Advocate D B Binu, who is a well known RTI activist in the state. He shared his recommendations to make RTI more powerful and effective.
The highlight of the workshop was the launch of ‘FRIENDS OF RTI’, a network of RTI Volunteers across the state who would work for the cause of RTI. Friends of Right to Information, an initiative of Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) will be a network of RTI volunteer’s across the state. It would act as a platform for volunteer’s interested in campaigning for the cause of RTI. The centre will provide necessary training for interested parties to campaign in their respective working areas and also in rural communities. CPPR intends to bring like minded individuals /organization working on RTI, under this umbrella of Friends of RTI.