Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Civil society, RTI, Social Audit

Civil Society often constitutes organisations such as:

* Developmental Non Governmental Organisations
* Citizens Groups
* Self Help Groups
* Professional Associations
* Registered Charities
* Business Associations
* Trade Unions
* Faith Based Associations
* Coalition and advocacy Groups etc.


“Civil society or civil institutions can be in totality referred to as voluntary, civic and social organisations or institutions which form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force backed structures of a state (regardless of that state's political system)”.

Good governance provides a platform that enables the Government to operate efficiently, effectively and transparently and to be accountable to the public. Primary Principles of Good Governance include:

* Public participation in Government
* Respect for the rule of law
* Freedom of expression and association
* Transparency and accountability
* Legitimacy of Government

Civil Society’s involvement occupies a critical place in the governance process and promotes good governance by facilitating people’s collective action for attaining sustainable socio-economic outcomes for the common good of the society.

RTI is a weapon in the hands of Civil Society. RTI empowers the civil society with the Right to seek information and helps in:
* Enabling Good Governance
* Ensuring accountability and transparency
* Ensuring participation of public in governance
* Eliminating corruption &
* Empowering people

Right to Information and Social Audit

“Social Audit is an independent and participatory evaluation of the performance of a public agency or a programme or scheme. Social Audit enables the Civil Society to assess whether a public authority lives up to the shared values and objectives it is committed to”.


The RTI Act can be coupled with Social Audit to ensure the following:

* Access and audit availability of information in the public domain.
* Generate demystified and understandable formats for better public comprehension.
* Provide for the community to verify recorded information
* Facilitate a regime of transparency and accountability

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