Saturday, August 29, 2009

What makes this Oxford University scholar spending summer time in India's power corridor

HE has been following the right to information movement in India for the last two years, and that makes this Oxford University research scholar to come to Delhi again, and spend time in power corridors of the capital city. And his verdict: Indian babus still have a better time compared to British bureaucrats who are under severe pressure thanks to Freedom of Information Act (FoI), which is the British version of RTI. A masters student in International Development at the University of Oxford, 25-year-old Tom Green told babu blogger how journalists in UK had been using FoI law to feature high profile scoops. “British civil servants feel FoI (Freedom of Information Act) has exerted a huge amount of pressure on them. Journalists regularly make use of the Act as part of long-term investigations in a way that has not become so common in India. This means the British media regularly features high profile ‘scoops’ and scandalous revelations such as the recent MP’s expenses saga. Compared to this scrutiny, it could be argued that Indian babus have it easy, dealing only with the occasional request for a citizen’s personal data or a visit to the Central Information Commission,” Tom explains. This Oxford scholar who graduated from the University of Manchester, however, feels that the Right to Information Act 2005 has had a dramatic effect on the public consciousness in India. “It has redefined the relationship between the citizen and the civil service and provided a highly effective new avenue for redressing personal grievances. It has caught the imagination of the public much more than the corresponding British act, the Freedom of Information Act of the same year, has been able to,” he observes. But Tom is not just gathering information about RTI during this hot Delhi summer! He is watching Bollywood movies here. What he likes most about Delhi – the city’s vibrancy and yes, Nizam’s Kathi Kabab! Also read, "Govt should create RTI implementation cells: Study" posted on July 20, 2009.

Action & Appointments a) S N Patil, IOFS (1988 batch), joint development commissioner, Kandla SEZ will now be Joint Development Commissioner, Dahej SEZ. b) Narendra Kumar G, a 1989 batch UT cadre IAS has been appointed as joint secretary & director in the National Authority for Chemicals Weapons Convention under the cabinet secretariat, in the Pay Band of Rs 37400-67000 (PB-4) with a grade pay of Rs 10000 for a period of five years. c) The Appointment Committee of the Cabinet has approved the proposal for premature repatriation of Anand B Kulkarni, a 1982 batch Maharashtra cadre IAS, presently working as deputy director general, CAPART (joint secretary level) under the ministry of rural development to his parent cadre.


  1. Though India is the largest democracy in the world, the RTI has been used in a limited way and it has tremendous scope...A nice piece of story....

  2. The British scholar's analysis is interesting.RTI no doubt has too many pros, but torturing the babus with trivial and irrelevant queries at the cost of Rs.10/- is a serious con of it.Lets' hope to see light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. RTI is an Act framed with good intentions,but grossly misused, as there is no machinery in place to evaluate the end-use of information. Many a time,the seeker of the info employs it to create nuisance value, settle personal scores, which is unfortunate. Hope RTI matures to serve the needs of a mature democracy

  4. Dear babu blogger, give more such features. This scholar must be working very hard during Delhi's summer. Good luck