A group of students have come together to launch a socially relevant movement to bring about transparency in public administration.
As the name ‘Ashtra' suggests, they plan to use the Right to Information Act as a weapon to ensure accountability and transparency.
The alumni of NIT Warangal, who are behind this concept, plan to concentrate first on educational institutions to ensure a transparent and corruption free system. Later, the fight against corruption would be taken up elsewhere. About 20 students from different colleges and universities formed a loose body at a programme here on Sunday. “We don't plan to sit on ‘dharnas'. The idea is to strive for change which is possible within the system. The network is to have collective strength to bring about policy change,” said Rakesh Kumar Reddy, the man behind Asthra. He recalled the trials and tribulations that led to the birth of Asthra and said that RTI would be used extensively at all institutions of national importance to bring about transparency.
V.V. Lakshmi Narayana, joint director, CBI, however sounded a different note. He said that there was a scope for improvement everywhere. Fault finding is easy but one should try to make things as perfect as possible. “Be part of a solution and not problem,” he told the students. He asked the students to be part of a decision-making mechanism in a supportive way. They should take feedback from the students and ask the management to take corrective measures. “Never appear to be on a fault finding mission as the authorities will get defensive. Instead, ask them to post all the information on their websites,” he said.
Amitabh Thakur, an IPS officer of UP cadre, asked the students to be reasonably vigilant and to keep their eyes and ears open to ensure that the system worked properly. He wanted every student to be part of a social movement as there was no other option. Nutan Thakur, social activist, explained how changes could be brought about through the RTI Act.