Social Mobilisation and Transparency: The Indian Experience

Singh, Shekhar

This paper is a study of the right to information movements in India, especially in terms of the social and political mobilisation involved in the getting of the right and then its exercise. The paper traces the history of the demands for information in the Indian context and attempts to describe and then weave together the various strands of the transparency movements, including movements for environmental information, for information about corruption, about development projects, about rural livelihoods, about elections, about arbitrary governance and about the right to food. The paper also describes the Indian laws and policies relevant to the right to information. It lists some of the major challenges being faced by the RTI movements, including those related to the inability or unwillingness of the state to effectively act on the information procured by the use of this right, the tendency for those who stand to be exposed through the exercise of this right to resort to physical violence, and the tendency of the state to create bureaucratic hurdles to the exercise of this right.


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Academic Units
Initiative for Policy Dialogue
Initiative for Policy Dialogue
Initiative for Policy Dialogue Working Paper Series
Published Here
February 2, 2010


The opinions expressed in these papers represent those of the author(s) and not The Initiative for Policy Dialogue. These papers are unpublished and have not been peer reviewed. Please do not cite without explicit permission from the author(s). "India: Grassroots Initiatives," The Right to Know: Transparency for an Open World (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), pp. 19-53.