Aruna Roy declines Centre’s offer, Expresses anxiety over bid to dilute Right to Information and NREG Acts
Posted by egovindia on June 21, 2006
Aruna Roy declines Centre's offer, Expresses anxiety over bid to
dilute Right to Information and NREG Acts
Expresses anxiety over bid to dilute Right to Information and NREG Acts
NEW DELHI: Expressing anxiety over attempts from "some quarters, within (the) Government" to dilute the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Magsaysay Award winner Aruna Roy on Wednesday declined the Government's offer to extend her term on the National Advisory Committee.
In a letter to the Prime Minister explaining her reasons for declining the offer, Ms. Roy said, "While there are many assurances in the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) that will take a while to implement, there must be a clear and unequivocal position of the Government in support of NCMP positions."
Stating that "in the current euphoria about the performance of the economy, there is a great danger of not paying heed to the anguish of the poor and the marginalised," Ms. Roy in her letter reminded the Government that the results of the last Lok Sabha elections "are ample testimony to demonstrate how the majority of voters did not see an eight per cent growth rate as a case of India shining."
Of the view that in some cases development passes by the majority of the people, the Magsaysay awardee said there were other cases where development comes at "great personal cost" to sections of society. As a case in point, she makes a reference to the Narmada dam and the situation of those it has displaced. "Despite better rehabilitation for tribals being an explicit assurance in the NCMP, even existing policy and Supreme Court orders were violated. As this Government considers adopting a new rehabilitation policy, it will have to come to terms with this crisis of credibility and confidence due to decisions taken that violated NCMP assurances."
While declining the offer, Ms. Roy, however, maintained that the space for wide-ranging public discussion that the NAC provided "needs to be preserved and strengthened." Lamenting the manner in which NAC's role has shrunk over the past four months, she said, "The effective implementation of the NCMP needs the inputs, experience and expertise of many people outside [the] Government." Her apprehensions about the Government's commitment to NCMP apart, Ms. Roy has also cited a personal reason for moving out of the NAC. Having helped draft the RTI and NREGA, she now sees for herself a greater role in their implementation at the grass-roots level. While signing out of the NAC, Ms. Roy points out that her decision to leave was taken in consultation with colleagues from the various peoples' movements she is associated with.