Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Thursday, May 19, 2005

About Us
Contact Us
Other States
News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements | Entertainment |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |

Other States - Rajasthan Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

After RTI success, it's right to work

Special Correspondent

National Advisory Committee member sees many parallels in both movements

JAIPUR: After the successful culmination of a nearly decade and a half long struggle for enactment of a law on the right to information, social activists have once again hit the road pioneering the cause of employment guarantee. There are many parallels between the two movements that have their origin in the people's struggle in Rajasthan.

"I see many parallels. EGA too has come up from a grassroots level movement," observed Prof. Jean Dreze, noted economist and member of the National Advisory Committee (NAC) of the United Progressive Alliance on the Common Minimum Programme. "Both the Right to Information Act and the EGA are complementary. EGA would not be functional without Right to Information," he noted.

"EGA will provide basic security to the people. As long as people remain illiterate and unemployed democracy has no meaning," said Prof. Dreze, who has been closely associated with the movements for the right to information and right to work.

The demand for right to information was first raised at the grass-root level, in the panchayats, by Rajasthan's Bhim-based Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, before it was broad-based and handed over to the National Committee for Right to Information (NCPRI).

Prof. Dreze, along with Aruna Roy, fellow member in NAC, who championed the cause of both the Acts, is happy about the final passage of the Right to Information Act on May 13, though he is not satisfied with the EGA draft pending with the Standing Committee of Parliament.

"It is a kind of people's victory," said Prof. Dreze, who predicted restoration of democracy's credibility in the country with the RTI Act. "The law has emerged from the people's movement. It is not quite as we wanted it but it is almost near to it," he said about the final Act. However, he felt that the success of the Act would depend on its application by the people for which further monitoring would be needed.

"The campaign will have to continue or may even have to be intensified. There can be certain level of resistance from the bureaucracy on its implementation," Prof. Dreze noted. "Then there are the politicians. The political as well as the electoral systems are deeply linked with corruption in development works. The politicians generally use development funds to come to power," he pointed out.

While drawing parallels and contrasts between RTI Act and the proposed EGA, Prof. Dreze said the corporate sector which welcomed RTI in the name of transparency was against employment guarantee. "They are against Government spending on poor or for the social sector. They are against any such expenditure as long as it is not benefiting them," he pointed out.

The NAC had played a major role in spearheading the RTI and its chairperson, Sonia Gandhi herself took personal interest in the passage of the Bill at the earliest. "NAC had a major role in reversing the dilutions in the RTI Bill. With the NAC the commitment was total. All the 12 members were unanimous in their stand on NAC," he revealed.

Asked whether NAC can do the same with EGA, Prof. Dreze said he was optimistic. "I have some hope that it will work out eventually," he said.

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Other States

News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements | Entertainment |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Obituary | Updates: Breaking News |


News Update


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |

Copyright 2005, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu