ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Illusion of Empowerment

The formation of information commissions in all Indian states and the enforcement of the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005 seem to have been accompanied by extraordinary media hype. In certain notable instances it seems to have brought much-needed relief to the affected people. Yet it seems to fly in the face of common sense that the ruling classes that have perfected the arts of chicanery and suppression of truth in order to carry on exploitation should surrender their clout so supinely to the people. Perhaps the imperialist masters have enforced the information regime on client governments in the interest of general equilibrium of the world-capitalist order.

There was similar hype when consumer forums were first established, but people now have lost faith and markets are once again flooded with inferior products selling at exorbitant prices and crowded with deceitful business. In my state the commission runs with skeleton staff and vacancies are not filled for months and years. People do not have patience to wait for months for relief. The committee that selects members of the commission has three members, one being the chief minister himself and another one appointed by him. It is unlikely that the chairman and members of the commission overseeeing the enforcement of the RTI Act will be people who can put the government in jeopardy.

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