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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Edition2: RTI Case Study


Mahavir is a member of the Thati Baal Panchayat and his village comes under the Bilangana Development Area, District Tehri, in Uttarakhand. The 25 members of Baal Panchayat work in the areas of Health, Education and cleanliness of the village, with help from the Mountain Valley Development Association (MVDA), an NGO that occasionally provides training on various issues.
In Jan 2009, the Baal Panchayat received training from the Mountain Children’s Forum and MVDA on the “Right to Information Act” and how to file an application. The two-day intensive workshop culminated, after great discussions, in filing a number of RTI applications which have helped the group solve a number of problems.
“The applications have to be filed by an individual and not a group so I decided to file an application asking the Block Education Dept to give me information regarding the attendance requirements of a primary school teacher," explained Mahavir. "Our village has a primary school and there are 46 children who attend this school. In the last 3 years the teacher has been present for only 10 days in a month.”
“On receipt of the application, the Block Education Officer along with an 11 member team visited our village. The teacher was absent on that day as well and had to be called from his residence. During the course of the questioning it was learnt that the not only had the teacher not been attending school but he had not been distributing the scholarship to the children.”
“The Block Education Officer was extremely annoyed with the teacher and issued a warning – That the teacher was to distribute the pending scholarship money to the children in the month of March and must attend school every day. Information regarding attendance of the teacher and amount of scholarship to be distributed was handed over in writing to us.”
“Since then the teacher has been attending school every day, classes are being held regularly and finally we are all now learning something new every day.”

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