The Indian state of Rajasthan is getting to witness yet another remarkable movement where the power of the common man seems to be coming into prominence. This is the same place where the struggle for RTI has its roots deeply implanted. At present, the Suchana Evam Rozgaar Adhikaar Abhiyaan, or the SR Abhiyaan is conducting a hundred day ‘Jawabdehi Yatra’ across the entire state. This Yatra has received an overwhelming response from the general masses. The public is not only providing this movement with solid support for accountability, but also filing individual complaints and voicing their collective grievances to be addressed by the administration.
This Yatra by the SR Abhiyaan commenced from the 1st of December 2015 starting with the capital city of Jaipur and covering one district after the other. The journey is being undertaken in a sleeper bus carrying around 70 people and is constantly travelling from place to place. It has been joined by a van from Jan Path and the MAGP in Gujarat popularly referred to as the ‘RTI on wheels’. Representatives of the Digital Empowerment Foundation assist in filing online grievances and keeping a track. There is also a vehicle comprising the photography and documentation team, and another one with the performing team for street theatre.
The entire team spends three days in every district that they visit. The Yatris are joined by the local sangathans of the district. A couple of days are spent in the villages and towns of blocks followed by Jansunwai and Shikayat Mela at the headquarters of the district. It finally ends with a procession followed by meeting with the Collectors and other District officers. Grievances are registered through the ‘sampark portal’. There is a demand for passing a ‘jawabdehi kanoon’ that would ensure greater transparency, quiker accountability, punishing offenders and giving compensations. Around 5000 grievances have been registered primarily pertaining to health, pensions, MNREGA, food and social security.
The joint efforts have resulted in some reforms regarding policies and implementation, and recommendations are being sent to the state government. People from all walks of life, especially young volunteers from colleges are initiating action against violation of basic rights such as denial of ration to holders of Antodaya and BPL cards. The yatra will take place till the 10th of March and the more the ordinary people participate, the more will be the momentum and impact on the government.
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