People want to question the government and its allied agencies on why the roads are broken, why there is no water in the taps and why the electricity bills are so high, but most do not know how to do this and whom to ask. Taking a cue from the situation, The Times of India (TOI) has initiated its latest campaign, titled RTI Day, which takes up the task of spreading awareness about Right to Information (RTI). Through the initiative, people can put forward their questions to different government agencies on the matters most relevant them.
It includes regular print advertisements in all editions of TOI along with radio promotions of the same. The creatives for the campaign are designed by Taproot India.
The campaign also includes workshops across 18 cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Bhubaneshwar. The workshops will train people on how to frame an RTI and put forward their questions to the government agencies.
On the online front, TOI has created a microsite (http://www.rtiday.com/Default.aspx) that has all information regarding RTIs such as how to file one, rights of a citizen under it, bodies that fall under it and others. It also has some of the success stories of the people who have benefitted from it.
TOI has tied up with National Campaign for People's Right to Information, which is a congregation of NGOs and people from all over the country that interacts with the state to implement the law and ensure that the act is not amended or its provisions weakened.
A small video of some of the members of NCPRI has also been designed and is being run on Times Now to increase awareness about the campaign and RTI.
Rahul Kansal, executive president, The Times Group, says, "I Lead India campaign is all about empowering people especially youth to get up and start asking questions and do something about the issues. RTI is another tool with which we want to empower the youth and push them to start asking for their rights and question the government agencies accountable for inaction."
For the record, RTI/ Right to Information Act 2005 mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information. Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen may request information from a 'public authority' (a body of government or "instrumentality of state") which is required to reply expeditiously or within 30 days. The basic objective of the Right to Information Act is to empower the citizens, promote transparency and accountability in the working of the government, put an end to corruption, and make the democracy work for the people in a real sense.
Earlier, TOI had launched a Youth Parliament campaign where it brought the youth face to face in a debate with the parliamentarians. The youth asked questions on issues pertaining to the development, foreign and economic policies. The debate was moderated by Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief, Times Now; Bodhisatva Ganguli, deputy executive editor, Economic Times; Maroof Raza, security affairs analyst, Times Now; and Shankar Raghuraman, senior editor, Times of India.
The I Lead India campaign began in July, 2013 and aims to make youth as the agent of change in the society. The initiative was designed to celebrate 175 years of the newspaper. Maruti Suzuki is the partner for the campaign.