To fight corruption and ensuring transparency and accountability in the Governance system thereby empowering the marginalized section.
About the Organization:
Pardarshita is a non-profit organization. It was registered in December 2005 founded by activists associated with Parivartan. Pardarshita has been formed with the aim of fighting corruption and ensuring transparency and accountability in the Public Governance systems thereby empowering the marginalized sections. The goal of Pardarshita is to spread awareness about Right to Information (RTI) and empower common people to use the RTI tool to ensure access to his/her rights and entitlements.
Objectives of the organization:
• to create awareness amongst the common people about their rights.
• to make the government authorities more accountable and transparent.
• to ensure good quality of education for every child by invoking right to education.
• to conduct research on how the fund is being utilized in government run schools.
• to motivate the marginalized section of the society to minimize their dependency and create sustainable systems
• to form community based groups.
Rajiv Kumar- President
Suchi Pandey- Secretary
Ritu Mehra- Treasurer
Shaweta Anand- Executive member
Diwan Singh- Executive member
Momin Khan- Executive member
Ram Ashish- Executive member
Public Distribution System:
The public distribution system (PDS) ensures the distribution of essential items such as selected cereals, sugar and kerosene at subsidized prices to holders of ration cards. The PDS also helps to modulate open - market prices for commodities that are distributed through the system. The Department of Food & Civil Supplies, Govt. of Delhi, manage the PDS in Delhi by enforcing the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, and various Control Orders made there under.
However, it is also a known fact that the people across the country face different problems in respect to issues of PDS. Pardarshita started identified PDS as one of the potential problems faced by people in slums of New Seemapuri. The problems faced were:
• People received less ration than what was entitled to them
• The essential commodities given under both BPL and Antodaya card at prices at par with the market price
• In cases were the families could acquire their ration, the shopkeepers cheated them by giving them lesser quantity of ration
• The qualities of the commodities given were found to be very poor.
• Families were often send back by the ration shopkeepers with false reasons that the designated ration had not arrived.
• Cards were not delivered to the entitled families rather they were illegally kept by the ration shopkeepers. These shopkeepers then faked the signatures of the families and siphoned their entitled rations to local markets for vested interests.
Area of work: New Seemapuri
The volunteers of Pardarshita undertook the following activities to deal with the problems mentioned:
• Awareness of created amongst the community regarding the
a) entitled quantity of the different commodities
b) types of ration cards
c) price of the different commodities under each type of ration card
d) timings of the ration shops
• The community was made aware about the Right to Information Act, which they could use to ask for records and status of their ration cards.
• Community got aware about their rights and entitlements
• Strong community groups were formed, which later helped in creating a watch groups in the community to monitor the proper functioning of the ration shops.
• The quality and quantity of the commodities were improved.
Approximately 361 schools in Delhi have received land from the Delhi Government at extremely subsidized rates on the condition that in return these schools reserve 25% seats for the children of economically weaker sections (EWS) in their schools, a condition continually violated. The reasons given for not fulfilling such conditions are that if such children are allowed to enrol in their schools it will destroy the school’s environment that caters to the needs of the elite of the society. But the real reason for refusing admission to EWS is the drastic reduction in income that these schools make through donations.
Pardarshita took the issue and did the following:
• The different schools entitled to come under the EWS scheme were identified. Around schools were identified for work, in Dilshad Garden (6 schools), Vivek Vihar (4 schools).
• Right to Information applications were filed to access information on these schools.
• Families from the clusters in and around these schools were identified who could be probable beneficiaries, based on the criterion that the annual income of the family was less than 1 lakh per annum and were interested and eager to get their children admitted in these private/public schools.
• Next, the families were assisted with the process of documentation required for the admission process. This included helping them acquire all the necessary papers, certificates etc.
• Pardarshita volunteers then accompanied respective parents and children to the schools in the nearby locality, where they often faced rejection from the school authorities.
• This was followed by a long series of running around, where several complaints were filed against the concerned school authorities in the office of The Deputy Director of Education Department.
• Since no action was taken on any of the complaints filed by the aggrieved parents, Right to Information applications were filed asking for the status of these complaints.
• Immediate action was taken on the applications and was followed by admissions in the respective schools.
• This process also helped in creating awareness amongst the community regarding their rights.
Beneficiaries: Number of admissions in 10 schools: 50
Right to Information Workshops:
RTI stands for Right to Information. Right to Information is a part of fundamental rights under Article 19(1) of the Constitution. Article 19 (1) says that every citizen has freedom of speech and expression. As early as in 1976, the Supreme Court said in the case of Raj Narain vs State of UP that people cannot speak or express themselves unless they know. Therefore, right to information is embedded in article 19. In the same case, Supreme Court further said that India is a democracy. People are the masters. Therefore, the masters have a right to know how the governments, meant to serve them, are functioning. Further, every citizen pays taxes. Even a beggar on the street pays tax (in the form of sales tax, excise duty etc) when he buys a piece of soap from the market. The citizens therefore, have a right to know how their money was being spent. The Supreme Court while saying that RTI is a part of our fundamental rights laid down these three principles.
This is because if you went to any Government Department and told the officer there, “RTI is my fundamental right, and that I am the master of this country. Therefore, please show me all your files”, he would not do that. In all probability, he would throw you out of his room. Therefore, we need machinery or a process through which we can exercise this fundamental right. Right to Information Act 2005, which became effective on 13th October 2005, provides that machinery. Therefore, Right to Information Act does not give us any new right. It simply lays down the process on how to apply for information, where to apply, how much fees etc.
Right to Information Act 2005 empowers every citizen to:
Ask any questions from the Government or seek any information
Take copies of any government documents
Inspect any government documents.
Inspect any Government works
Take samples of materials of any Government work.
Several Right to Information workshops were held in different districts of Delhi and other States. The following workshops were held:
• One days workshop on RTI with community people across four districts with SCRIA, Haryana
• Two days workshop on RTI with different organisations like Pani and others in Eastern Uttar Pradesh
• Conducted RTI workshops for different government departments like Narcotics, Central Exercise and Customs in Delhi, Jaipur and Chandigrah.
Public Assistance Centre in New Seema Puri:
Most of the population in New Seema Puri is illiterate and as a result they have to depend on other educated people for filling forms or for getting some information and for this they have to pay some amount to those people who help them in filling form or some thing like that., or at times they have to run from pillar to post for getting some form from the Government department. Therefore in order to help such people from where they can get forms and their forms could be filled free of cost a assistance centre was open at New Seema Puri.
Simultaneously the parents were also assisted for getting the admission of their children in Govt. and MCD schools, because people do not have documents and at the time of admission the school authorities ask for many documents, and as the volunteers of Pardarshita are well aware about the rules for the admission therefore they help the parents who so ever approach for the assistance.