OPAQUE PEOPLE / TRANSPARENT SYSTEMS
From not telling the worst happening in a family even to a well wisher to a Non-Disclosure Agreement, (NDA) between two vendors going against the person / owner who has hired them both. On the systemic level RTI heralded a new era in Indian governance, what is the level of secrecy have we been able to overcame, can be an area of research. Undeniably, RTI activists were born as in the case of any similar area of civil activism.* Given the fact that it was a major milestone in the path to transparency and through that, route to accountability, we still are nowhere near an Open Date Regime. ODR can in itself sort out eighty / ninety percent of these RTI queries.
Do these movements have any inherent value and worth, given the ecosystem insurmountables? Or it is another level of optics? Or are these noble intentions gone awry? Or it has happened because the govt could not take the heat any further? Does the passage of the law entail a creation of certain degree of commitment to that cause? Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership to change of power have been the returns of such movements, but what do the people get out of it. Do they get ready for another placards rally to candlelight vigil to hunger strike to Jantar Mantar? They should be destined to meet the same mishap once again. It’s high time, we answer these questions with candid frankness and commitment. That can be the beginning of transparency.
Who wants transparency is a multi-billion dollar question. With public money entrenched in public limited companies and NPAs being the way they are, can we even imagine of a slimmest chance of RTI or some type of Lokpal over the private sector. With the nature of promoters we have, do we have any other way? The efforts of cleansing initiated through demonetisation, GST et al will become robust in the manner suggested. Trust in business can happen only through transparency. It would lead to a paradigm shift in business and bring us to a much higher level of propriety and ethics, which businesses would be demanded of, sooner than later.
A country totally unconcerned about its own data in the age of IT Super States is ironically completely guarded in areas of governance, public / private sector, NGOs and academic / research institutions. What do we do where there is some semblance of transparency; debate and fight or find a way for an axe to grind. Everyone loves to be opaque. That is our national comfort level. Transparency would upset the Apple cart. The more vociferous the stance at the level of speech, more the lip service it would turn out to be, has been our experience. In the Information Age we are guarding our Black Box.
TRANSPARENCY IS A SOCIETAL VALUE, IT CANNOT BE SUCCESSFUL JUST BY A LAW OR SLOGAN OR BOTH.