Hailing RTI as a tool that ensures transparency in governance, President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday said that in a democracy, there is no such thing as too much information. The President added that information overload is always preferable as compared to information deficit. He said this while inaugurating the 13th Convention of the Central Information Commission (CIC) in the national capital.
Speaking on the occasion, the President talked about how RTI has helped the citizens by bringing in more transparency in the system. However, he also touched upon the importance of fine balance between the Right to Information and the Right to Privacy.
Kovind said: “We must be cautious against fringe cases that try to use the RTI mechanism to settle personal scores. Especially in an age when privacy has become a matter of such intense debate, it is crucial to maintain this balance.”
Explaining how RTI helps the citizens, the President said that it allows them to ascertain the pace and quality of services being delivered. According to him, RTI is not standalone but it is part of the larger narrative of strengthening Indian democracy, of ensuring transparency across systems of governance, and of building capacities of the common people to enable them to make informed choices.
“Above all, it is about nurturing the social contract of trust between the citizen and the state – where both must have faith in each other. A related and parallel implication is to ensure rational use of public resources to check instances of corruption or waste,” he said.
The President said that RTI is part of a theme that makes for greater efficiency in both delivering services to a citizen as well as using public resources and finances. “This improves transparency and removes doubts that may arise about favouritism and misappropriation,” he said.
He then referred to the internet and the digital economy that have been used to advance e-auctions of mining blocks. “They have helped create the government e-market or GeM portal for public procurement of goods and services. And the JAM trinity – Jandhan accounts, Aadhar-based unique identities and mobile phones – has helped with direct bank transfers to beneficiaries of schemes,” Kovind said.
The President said that free flow of information is the essence of democracy. “And for the people of a free and free-spirited country, information is power.”