‘Recognition of collective effort…amid attacks on those raising questions’: Anjali Bhardwaj -Sourav Roy Barman
-The Indian Express
New Delhi: On Tuesday, the government of the United States named Anjali Bhardwaj among 12 individuals from across the world as the recipients of the newly-instituted Anti-Corruption Champions Award.
“When we don’t get ration, what do we do with information?”
Sometime in 2005, right after the implementation of the Right to Information Act, activist Anjali Bhardwaj was holding an awareness camp at a Delhi slum when a woman threw this question at her.
“The question made me realise that people will have to be explained that the law will help them access not just information, but help them access their rights and dues. Gradually, as it helped them access records about ration shops, stock registers, sale registers, the corruption became apparent. They realised they can now hold ration dealers accountable,” Bhardwaj said.
Over the years, the RTI has emerged as one of the most used transparency laws globally. “Around 60 lakh RTI applications are filed annually. And this in a country where one has to contend with big ticket corruption as well as grassroots corruption,” Bhardwaj said.
On Tuesday, the government of the United States named Bhardwaj among 12 individuals from across the world as the recipients of the newly-instituted Anti-Corruption Champions Award. The state department under the Biden administration made the announcement, saying the award recognises those who braved adversity to defend transparency and combat corruption.
Founder of the Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS), a citizens’ platform working to bring transparency and accountability in governance, Bhardwaj hopes that the award will help draw attention to lapses such as the absence of rules holding up the implementation of the Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2014 for seven years.
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The Indian Express, 25 February, 2021, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/recognition-of-collective-effort-amid-attacks-on-those-raising-questions-anjali-bhardwaj-7203580/