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Research paper
‘Adopting the RTI Act as a mechanism to
fight corruption to promote effective aid
delivery in India’

Preeti Kannan
SID: 309302196

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Contents
1.

Introduction

2. India’s interaction with aid and corruption
2.1 India and aid
2.2 Corruption in aid in India
3. Good governance and aid effectiveness: How important is tackling corruption for aid to be effective in recipient countries?
3.1 Aid effectiveness: The endless debate
3.2 The relationship between good governance and corruption in aid 4. To what extent if any can the Right To Information (RTI) Act be used as a mechanism to fight corruption to promote aid effectiveness in India?

4.1 The access to information movement
4.2 Scope of the legislation
4.3 Adopting the RTI Act for foreign aid
5. Conclusion

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Section 1: Introduction
Good governance has become a buzzword in development today. Fighting corruption, raising accountability and promoting transparency are increasingly perceived as being indispensable to the notion of good governance. The concept of good governance is gaining popularity and is being used unsparingly in the international community to promote development, economic and social security and peace. There is realisation that robust engagement with the civil society is at the heart of good governance and citizen participation has become a recurring theme because of the inherent impact policies can have on citizens – the ultimate beneficiaries. This research paper examines the different scholarly debates around good governance and aid effectiveness. It draws parallels to similar debates in the Indian context by using the newly-enacted Right to Information Act (RTI) as a case study for good governance since corruption, lack of accountability and transparency have been often cited as impediments to governance. 1

The RTI Act, which started as a small social justice movement in a village in Rajasthan and became a nation-wide campaign for a legislation, 2 “empowers Indian citizens to seek any accessible information from a public authority and makes the government and its functionaries more accountable and responsible”. 3 Barely two and a half years after its enactment in 2005, over two million requests for information 4 were filed under the act, reflecting the overwhelming interest in the legislation and the potential to increase the political influence of the marginalised population. 5 The RTI Act’s utility in the past five years has centred heavily on seeking information on a range of issues including development programmes, anti-poverty schemes and public projects to expose corrupt practices and claim rights. This paper broadens the scope of the RTI Act and makes original contributions to ongoing deliberations on governance in the Indian sub-continent by exploring the possibility of ‘adopting the RTI Act as a mechanism to fight corruption to promote effective aid delivery’ since aid recipient countries also have a major responsibility to improve governance. 6 1

A Roberts, "A Great and Revolutionary Law? The First Four Years of India's Right to Information Act," (Suffolk University Law School, 2010).
2
R Jenkins and AM Goetz, "Accounts and Accountability: Theoretical Implications of the Right-to-Information Movement in India," Third World Quarterly 20, no. 3 (1999).
3
Prizewaterhouse Coopers, "Final Report: Understanding the Key Issues and Constraints in Implementing the Rti Act," (New Delhi: Department of Personnel and Training, 2009). 4
Roberts, "A Great and Revolutionary Law? The First Four Years of India's Right to Information Act." 5
Ibid.
6
"The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action", (Paris, 2005).

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The research moves seamlessly from section to section, tracing the history of aid in India, examining the deep-rooted problem of corruption in the society and its impact on development projects, probing the concept and origins of governance and aid effectiveness...
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