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Dedicated to “Bharat” and “Dharma”

Video playlist of the talk at IIM-Indore

Dear All: I finally managed to upload the video of my talk and Q&A at IIM-Indore on 1st Sept ’11…Here is the entire playlist (also below):

These are my favourites of the lot:




Interestingly, in an Op-Ed for Pioneer written a few days later, Shashi Shekhar made a point very similar to the one I mentioned in the Open Government, Information and RTI clip (emphasis added):

Hard questions need to be asked on why the focus of the RTI Act was not on creating an open Government where information was freely available, thus eliminating the need for both vigilante activism seeking information and eliminating the need for gatekeepers controlling information.

As he mentions, the focus of RTI Act should not have been

…on creating conditions for activism but on fixing the systems and processes of the Government to ensure that information was freely available by default.

Comments and thoughts welcome as always.  Please take a moment to subscribe to the YouTube channel. Jai Hind, Jai Bharat!

September 24th, 2011 Posted by | Corruption in India, Personal | 5 comments


  1. One starts from the naive premise that goverment, that is democratic to a degree,is of the people,by the people and for the people. It is self evident that that is not true in India, as well as in other places.
    Knowledge is power, so why would power be shared so easily by those holding the reins.
    Another way to obstruct sharing of knowledge and therefore power is to create complex systems, so as to wear down the resolve of those who truly want to participate in the democratic process.
    Another way is to browbeat those ernest people of resolve..viz the faces of the IAC movement,Swami Ramdev etc. Power can only be shared by like-minded people, and not by those who hold almost opposite views. Am I being too cynical?

    Comment by Sudhav | September 25, 2011

  2. Impressive! Just curious, what is the aim of delivering these talks? Is it to gather support from participants or is it to encourage them to be a part of your “mission”, and by that I mean create more Shantanus?

    Comment by Prem | September 25, 2011

  3. Thanks Prem…It is a bit of both: plant the seed of thought in them about a political career and encourage them to get more active politically..

    Comment by B Shantanu | September 28, 2011

  4. RTI is often painted as a great gift from the Congress, as something they did right, etc. I used to also marvel how this came about.

    Until I read about the history dating back to its origins in 1948, from a Madras HC Judgement in a lawsuit filed by a private school protesting against RTI requests (Judgement dated : 16.03.2007, Hon’ble Mr. Justice K.CHANDRU, Writ Petition No. 36901 of 2006. I do not wish to name the private school here).

    The Judgement quotes from a lecture delivered by Dr.Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, the Retired Judge of the Supreme Court on 19.8.2006 at Chennai. It connects the basic right that our RTI Act, 2005 recognises, to a UN conference held in 1948 March on the subject matter of Freedom of information that ultimately led the General Assembly of United Nations to declare freedom of information a fundamental right (Declaration of December 10, 1948). In 1960, UNESCO adopted a Declaration of Freedom of Information. Sweden became the first country in the world to enact a provision for access to government information. Many others followed. In India, it took us another 45 years, until 2005, to have the RTI legislated ! To top it, information is not being placed for public access but the onus is on the citizen to raise RTI requests for every little thing, make appeals etc which makes the whole process arduous, effectively denying the right to information !

    Comment by AA | September 30, 2011

  5. News-snippet which reinforced the view that instead of RTI we should be fighting for open systems:
    Over 11,000 RTI pleas pile up with headless Madhya Pradesh info panel, PTI, January 13, 2013

    Comment by B Shantanu | January 13, 2013

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