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Infocracy India, an initiative to further democracy by access to ‘free, open and abundant’ information has launched a petition campaign for inclusion of a chapter on the Right to Information in class 9 and 10 political science text books.
The initiative has garnered huge support with many organisations supporting the petition. These include The YP foundation, New Delhi; Research Foundation for Governance in India, Ahmedabad; Jain Group of Institutions; National Social Entrepreneurship Forum; Center for Internet and Society, Bangalore; Pratigya, Ranchi and Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA), Kolkata.
Infocracy India undertook research on the NCERT Political Science syllabus for classes 9 and 10 and found that if the course has to do justice to its pronounced aims, the inclusion of a chapter on RTI is imperative.
“RTI is a bulwark for democracy, a right which envisages transparent and accountable conduct from political authorities. The students must learn about this right especially in a course which seeks to teach Democratic Politics” says the petition.
Interestingly the NCERT class 10 book on Political Science in a letter to the students says, “The book introduces you to how democracy works in practice and what can be expected of it”. The petition argues that when a student files an RTI application and gets access to government documents, minutes of the meetings, government procedures etc. the student will get first-hand knowledge of how our government works. Right before the student’s eyes will be the spectacle of the working of the Indian Democracy which will fulfil the above stated objective of the curriculum.
The petition further states that the “inclusion of a chapter on RTI in the school curriculum will also encourage students to take up further studies on the subject. This is because RTI is a positively addictive process and addiction to a tool of ensuring transparency & accountability will definitely encourage more students to take an active interest in Political Science”.
Tanuj Kalia, a law student at West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS, Kolkata) and the founder of Infocracy India is presently getting various stakeholders to agree ‘in principle’ to the petition.
Parinamika, a student run group led by Adoksh Shastry, a law student at School of Law, Christ University, Bangalore is working on similar lines as Infocracy and aims at ‘Resulting in Change’. Parinamika is working towards strengthening the development of the RTI Awareness in India. It is doing so by providing training programs, workshops, seminars to spread the word about the RTI in all sorts of educational institutions ranging from primary class to post graduates. The organization is simultaneously signing a petition for the inclusion of a RTI in the social science books of class 9 and 10 by approaching various NGOs, academic institutions, senior partners at law firms and members of Legislative authorities.
Sachin Upadhyay from Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow is helping in the advocacy for the petition in Uttar Pradesh.
For copy of the petition please click here.