Rajasthan's Jan Soochna, mother of RTI, is the ultimate weapon against petty corruption -Shivam Vij
The Right to Information gives way to the government’s duty to publish. The Centre and all states must emulate Rajasthan.
When the Right to Information Act came into force in Rajasthan in 2000, and nationally in 2005, there was a flush of stories for years about citizens and activists using the new law to expose corruption. That road built only on paper, the money released on files that never reached the public, and so on.
It’s déjà vu in Rajasthan. A fresh spate of such stories is appearing across the state, thanks to a new government website. It’s called the Jan Soochna portal, which has put out a massive load of information about government schemes and their beneficiaries. For a lot of things people don’t need to file an RTI application anymore. They just need to go to https://jansoochna.rajasthan.gov.in. There’s a mobile app too.
People can now go and look up their own names and the status of their welfare benefits. If an old man wanted to know ‘why have I stopped getting pension?’, ordinarily, he would have had to do the rounds of government offices for days, or file an RTI application, which the bureaucracy would have stonewalled and he would have got to know many weeks later that he’s been marked dead in the system. But thanks to the Jan Soochna portal, an activist of the Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey-led Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) was able to discover the reason instantly and challenge the decision. The activism of MKSS, which was behind the RTI movement, is also largely responsible for Jan Soochna becoming a reality.
Mother of RTI
From the status of your application for a tourism project to your farm loan waiver request, it’s all in the Jan Soochna portal. There are 82 different request options for 32 schemes across 13 departments. Most of the information is provided in two ways. First, you could enter any given code (such as the PDS shop number) or your Aadhaar number and see the status of a particular person or centre. Another way is to trawl the data across the state. If you want to know how many students in your village have been given a government scholarship, you will find it easily.
ThePrint.in, 4 December, 2019, please click here to read more
ThePrint.in, 4 December, 2019, https://theprint.in/opinion/rajasthan-jan-soochna-mother-of-rti-ultimate-weapon-against-corruption/330145/