‘RTI ensures transparency of local bodies’

Kathmandu, January 28

Implementation of constitutionally and legally guaranteed right to information with a focus on its proactive disclosure offers ample opportunities for local governments to build the image of open government, stakeholders said.

An informed citizen can only provide civic oversight of the decisions and functions of the government and public authorities, paving the way for transparent and accountable local government, the speakers noted. At a national-level consultative seminar on ‘RTI for good governance in local levels’ organised by Freedom Forum in the capital today, constitutional expert Kashiraj Dahal said corruption and irregularities did not get space where RTI and people’s participation were effective.

“Local governments have a chance to transform them into open government by effectively enforcing the right to information,” he added.

Presenting a working paper on ‘Importance of RTI for transparent, accountable and responsive local government’, he urged the local governments to make their legislative committee, public accounts committee and good governance committee functional for effective monitoring.

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority’s recent 61-point recommendations has empirically claimed that the local governments are increasingly misusing their power.

Commenting on the paper, governance expert Mukti Rijal also underscored the need to make opposition and oversight mechanism strong and effective at the local level in line with the principal of check and balance and separation of powers.

Chiefs and deputy chiefs of 12 local levels and other representatives from Sindhupalchowk, Lalitpur, Dhangadi, Dadeldhura, Achham and Bajhang shared the best practices of governance in their areas. The local government authorities pledged to bring RTI into implementation.