‘80 lakh people use RTI Act in a year’

The 10th edition of Madurai Symposium gets under way in Madurai on Monday.   | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

The 10th edition of Madurai Symposium, a five-day event, began at DHAN Foundation here on Monday.

Delivering the keynote address through virtual mode, activist and Rajasthan Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan founder Aruna Roy said that about 80 lakh people in the country used the Right To Information (RTI) Act in a year. She said knowledge building at the grass-roots should be the primary agenda in addressing poverty.

She recalled her relentless work she took with the aid of RTI Act, especially in encroachment eviction, surmounting lobbying by powers that be. In 2004, the National Advisory Committee had promised to enact a strong Act by integrating RTI for the underprivileged, she said.

While recalling the slogan of her movement, ‘Our paisa, our accounts,’ she said that the‘bureaucratic corruption’ had been arrested significantly through this Act. Apart from 80 lakh people using the RTI Act, another lakh of pension holders also benefited through this, she said.

Boomikumar of Gandhigram Rural Institute, in his address, outlined the need for achieving community Swaraj. He introduced new dimensions such as eco-Swaraj and omni Swaraj, and laid emphasis on building the capacity of the community to achieve Swaraj.

Kalanjiam’s success

In her address, Padmashri awardee Chinnapillai said that through consistent efforts, the Kalanjiam Movement had achieved success in eradicating usurious money-lending, eradicating alcohol addiction and violence against women in 14 States.

Leaders from Kalanjiam, Vayalagam and Neithal mutual movements recalled the exemplary contributions of the federations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

B. T. Bangera, chairperson, DHAN Foundation, in his address, applauded the 25 years of DHAN’s contribution in shaping the lifestyle of the community at large. He reiterated the importance of integrating the digital technologies and modern approaches in order to make the growth faster.

M. P. Vasimalai, executive director of DHAN Foundation, while speaking about ‘Community Swaraj,’ said that DHAN’s active partnership with all stakeholders paved the way for changing the lifestyle of the community at the grass-roots level. That around five lakh families across the country could come out of poverty proved the success of the community-owned development model. Continued participation between the stakeholders and the community would play a greater role in advancing the theme `Community Swaraj’ and also in establishing a new social order, he said.

Earlier, A. Gurunathan, Director, DHAN Academy, welcomed the gathering.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 2:01:58 AM |

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