Monday, July 17, 2006


I have been wanting to do this for sometime now. And I don't want to put it off any longer. So, as Truman would put it, Good Morning, and in case I don't see ya (again), Good Afternoon and Good Evening and Good Night. And if you ever make it in one peice, see you on the other side!

Friday, July 07, 2006

CRTI and The Drive Against Bribe

About a month ago, the Chennai RTI group along with a number of other organizations and individuals joined together to come up with what has been christened the Tamilnadu Right to Information Campaign. Based on discussions during the initial meeting, it was decided that a concentrated effort to raise RTI awareness in the state shall be launched on the 10th of July which would go on for at least two weeks and end on the 25th. As part of the exercise, it was decided to organize RTI camps in several districts (including Chennai) of Tamilnadu simultaneously during the said period.

To prepare for the campaign, a training workshop for volunteers was held on June 24th. Over 100 volunteers attended the camp which was held to train these volunteers on issues and procedures relating to RTI. These volunteers will be part of the TN RTI campaign that will begin on July 10th and will encompass 15 districts in TN. The TNRTI campaign itself is a part of the national campaign titled "Drive against Bribe". NGOs, unions and citizens' movements in 25 cities in India are taking part in this campaign.

During this campaign, we will target issues that we face in our daily interaction with the government. We might be expected to handle problems that include ration card applications, electricity and water related complaints, license and road transport applications, public distribution system, pension and revenue related problems. As the title of the national campaign suggests, we will use RTI as a powerful and effective alternative to bribes. In addition to this Drive against Bribe related issues, we might also take up citizen vigilante instances where we will use RTI for issues related to public works, state and central government policies and schemes, election commission. The objective of the campaign will be to exercise our right to information, increase awareness about the Act, provide impetus to citizen vigilante initiatives and solve everyday problems using the RTI tool.

Chennairti is playing an active role in the coordination of this campaign in Chennai. It has been decided that the campaign will be run by volunteers from the different partner organizations and individuals not affiliated to any of these organizations. A central camp and several small satellite camps will be set up in Chennai where the volunteers will be available to help citizens draft RTI applications. The central camp will be open all day and the satellite camps will be open for a few hours every evening and during the weekends. The camps will be open for 2 weeks and will be operated by volunteers on a time sharing basis. 4-5 hours of volunteering in total from each volunteer is expected to help us run these camps during the 2 weeks of this campaign.

A training session on the 24th of June (Saturday) trained volunteers to assist citizens in the filing of RTI applications. Each volunteer was trained and provided with the support material (sample applications, case studies, addresses to which RTI applications have to be sent, etc.) to be able to file strong RTI applications that will help get the required information.

The actual campaign will be supported by national media (NDTV, Hindu etc) in the form of daily coverage. We will also partner with local media including Tamil newspapers, TV and Radio channels and neighborhood newspapers.

This is an excellent opportunity to add strength to the largest ever national RTI awareness campaign. Even if you have not been a part of the training session, we would love to have more volunteers during this campaign. 5 hours of your time during those two weeks will help us reach out to more people with this campaign. If you are interested in volunteering, call Guru @ 98407 65030. Please spread the word about this campaign and ask individuals/organizations interested in volunteering to write to or contact us by phone at the number provided above.

(Posted on behalf of the Chennai Right to Information Initiative)