A Guide to Right to Information Act, 22 of 2005

India got Independence in 1947 and proclaimed itself a Republic in 1950,with a great Constitution. However, in practice, a brown elite replaced the white masters and Swaraj did not come. Mahatma Gandhi had said, Real Swaraj will come not by the acquisition of authority by a few but by the acquisition of capacity to resist authority when abused. A few did acquirethe authority and retained it, but the capacity to resist misuse of authority eluded the average Citizen of India. Right To Information -RTI now empowers him to do that.
The Right To Information is derived from our fundamental right of expression under Article 19 of the Constitution of India. If we do not have information on how our Government and Public Institutions function, we cannot express an informed opinion on it. This has been clearly stated by various Supreme Court Judgments, since 1975. We accept that the freedom of the press is an essential element for a democracy to function. It is worthwhile to understand the underlying assumption in this well entrenched belief. Why is the freedom of the media considered as one of the essential features for a democracy ? Democracy revolves around the basic idea of Citizens being at the center of governance and rule of the people. We need to define the importance of the concept of freedom of the press from this fundamental premise. It is obvious that the main reason for a free press is to ensure that Citizens are informed. This being one of the main reasons for the primacy given to the freedom of the press, it clearly flows from this, that the Citizens Right To Know is paramount. Since the Government is run on behalf of the people, they are the rightful owners who have a right to be informed directly. Justice Mathew ruled in the Raj Narain case, “In a government of responsibility like ours, where all the agents of the public must be responsible for their conduct, there can be but few secrets. The people of this country have a right to know every public act, everything that is done in a public way by their public functionaries. They are entitled to know the particulars of every public transaction in all its bearing. Their right to know, which is derived from the concept of freedom of speech, though not absolute, is a factor which should make one wary when secrecy is claimed for transactions which can at any rate have no repercussion on public security.
Click Here to read the full article by Shailesh Gandhi
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Important for all Internet Users in India

NN Changes TRAI

In response to pressure from telcos and their lobby COAI, TRAI went ahead and brought up a consultation paper on:
  1. Should OTTS be licensed? If yes, under current rules or new ones?
  2. Should we leave net neutrality undecided and let the market decide its fate?
You can find the consultation paper here:http://trai.gov.in/content/news/71241_0.aspx

How Consultatiuon Process Works

The public has been asked 20 questions based on above 2 points. You have to send mail to a TRAI email ID with answers to these questions. You can do this till April 24, 2015. Time will be provided for counter comments from April 24th to May 8th.
To make sure that anti net neutrality rules aren’t formed in India, we need your help.
You need to send a mail to TRAI mail id advqos@trai.gov.in in support of net neutrality and against differential pricing/speeds
If TRAI does not get enough public mails in support of Net Neutrality, this is what you can expect:-
You will have different packages for accessing internet.
  1. 1 GB data for Rs 252 + Rs 50 for Google + Rs 25 for facebook and so on.
  2. 1 GB data pack would be like the base pack of your DTH.
But you will have to add packs for carrier decided pricing to be able to use all apps.
Isn’t this SCARY? Its just the start!
ISPs can slow down some sites on while giving faster speeds to the companies that pay them more.
Why does this matter?
Say its a “big sale day” of Amazon and Flipkart and you are customer of ISP ‘BIGTELCO’.
BIGTELCO can strike a deal with Flipkart for better speed on their network. Due to this you won’t be able to purchase on Amazon even if something is cheaper.
Governments will no more need draconian laws to curb free speech. It can just ask the operators to make critical sites costly to access and also clamp down their speeds. Telcos that already have vested interests from the governments will happily oblige.

You can make a difference!

You can make a difference.
If you choose to stay silent today thinking that things will eventually sort out, they won’t.
You will have to pay for Youtube, Gaana.com etc. like TV packages.
Do you want this?
If not, then please support us. Here’s what you can do to help:

1. Mail TRAI

Send email to advqos@trai.gov.in with content as to how such a law from TRAI would effect an internet user like you and mention that you dont want TRAI to regulate OTTs or bring any services under a license framework and add that TRAI should support net neutrality and not the greedy telcos.
We are working on an automated form and will put it here soon.

2. Tweet to Prime Minister and RS Prasad

Here are some sample tweets: