“What is the tiger population in our state?” asked 10-year old Mamata to her teacher at the government school in Nizamabad district of Telangana. The chapter on Tigers had filled her mind with a lot of questions that the lesson plan did not have any answers to. So her teacher told her that she could get the answers using the RTI (Right to Information) Act.
She jumped at the opportunity and submitted an application to the Department of Forests asking the population of tigers in her state, a district wise break up and also what steps the government was currently taking to protect the endangered species. 25 days later, she had her answers delivered to her home in a registered post. Mamata was thrilled at the details and information she was able to obtain from the government.
Guiding young minds like Mamata on how to use instruments like the RTI to know about their country, government and environment will help strengthen the social and civic fabric in India. Informed citizens with the armor of rights will be a step in the right direction.
(Please read a similar RTI success story on Manoj here)