Public Tools for Open Governance: Review of RTI Act and Social Media in Indian Context

Charru Malhotra

Résumé

As elsewhere in the world, in India too, serious questions are being raised about the capabilities and motivations of public-sector institutions in delivering effective and efficient governance. The new-found faith in liberal economic theories coupled with the emerging trends in technology has completely redefined citizens’ expectations from governance. These developments have led to a gradual regeneration of governance paradigm in democratic countries like India, seeking to make its governance more ‘open’, ‘good’ and ‘citizen-centric’. This, in return mandates design and use of several public tools, which could, for example be required for requesting public information, for organizing mass action or for undertaking collaborative decisions so that responsive eco-systems of participatory and transparent governance exist in the country. In India last two decades specifically saw a proliferation of public tools such as Citizens’ Charters, Right to Information (RTI), Right to Education (RTE), Right to Hearing (RTH) , implementation of Information and Facilitation Counters (IFC) as well as creation of digital Open-government platform (http://www.ogpl.gov.in) to build collaborative knowledge bases for participatory governance. Even the use of social media for mobilizing mass movements on governance issues (corruption, violence against women and so on) has become popular in the country. The present study endeavors to first focus on understanding of the basic concepts and building blocks of ‘open governance’. It further attempts to review the journey of open governance in a democratic country like India with special reference to status of implementation of RTI Act and issues assailing implementation of Social media. The paper concludes by suggesting a way forward so that the governance issues could be resolved in unison making this new multi-stakeholder synergy more productive, truly rewarding and of course aiming to advance citizen-centricity in the processes of governance.

Mots-clés

Open Governance; Good Governance; Right to Information; Social Media; Multi-stakeholder participation; Citizen Centricity; Transparency in India; RTI Workshop in India; The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC); Citizens’ Charter; Information

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