The Yatra, which will be joined by local organisations, people, and former administrative and police officers, will emphasise the need for accountability in education, health, Covid-19 management, MGNREGA, ration, pensions, human rights, mining, environment, Dalit and gender issues, PESA, and other areas.
Suchitra | TwoCircles.net
RAJASTHAN — Rajasthan’s Soochna Evum Rozgar Adhikar Abhiyan (SR Abhiyan) launched its second Jawabdehi Yatra from Jaipur, Rajasthan on December 20, 2021, to seek an “accountability law” in the region. Previously, in 2016, the Abhiyan organised a 100-day Yatra to raise public knowledge about the need for a law that tracks public officials.
The Yatra, which will be joined by local organisations, people, and former administrative and police officers, will emphasise the need for accountability in education, health, Covid-19 management, MGNREGA, ration, pensions, human rights, mining, environment, Dalit and gender issues, PESA, and other areas. The Bill is called RTI Part II, to strengthen citizens’ rights to act on the obtained information and to hold the government accountable for the achievement of their rights.
Pursuant to the campaign, the Indian National Congress (INC) included the law in its 2018 Assembly Election Manifesto. However, when it came into power, the government faltered on its promise. After repeated reminders, a state-level committee was established to prepare the draft bill with inputs from civil society, which it submitted within 5 months.
Renowned social activist Aruna Roy flagged off the rally from here and called the law a potent weapon to curb corruption, ensure time-bound delivery of government services and make officials accountable for citizens’ sufferings.
Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey have been working for the law since 2011. They held a 100-day statewide campaign in 2015 for the same. Dey explained with examples how the bill would empower the last man standing who faces difficulty in getting benefits of government schemes.
The yatra began at the city’s police commissioner office on December 20 and is going to last 45 days, encompassing all 33 districts in the state. The goal is to remind the incumbent Congress administration of its commitments to adopt a State Transparency and Social Accountability Bill, which were contained in its 2018 election manifesto.
The Yatra arrived at the historic city of Beawar on December 23, the home of the RTI movement. Chang gate bears the Soochna ka Adhikar Smarak marking its contribution to the RTI movement. The people invoked the slogan of “Humaara Paisa, Humaara Hisaab”, the iconic slogan of the RTI movement.
“The main demand is that the Rajasthan government should pass an accountability law to hold government servants, officers and leaders accountable towards citizens and allow the latter to register their grievances, participate in their redressal and grant the same in a time-bound manner,” said the Abhiyan.
After this, the yatra reached the grounds of SD College, where thousands of sisters of Rajasthan Unorganized Mazdoor Union met and they warmly welcomed the yatra and the whole ground resonated with the slogans of Pass the Accountability Act. “Government employees and officials do not work, we labourers have to bear the brunt,” Santosh Devi said. We need this accountability at all costs.
The Abhiyan activists felt that the State government should adopt a rights-based approach and ensure delivery of services and redress the citizens’ grievances within a stipulated time frame.
Suchitra is an independent journalist working on social justice, focusing primarily on gender justice. She tweets at @Suchitrawrites