09 September 2008

A New Dawn for India, and the World

Wow. I would really hate to be a corrupt bureaucrat in India right now. I have a feeling those guys are about to have their butts handed to them.

And it's about time.

Anti-corruption superhero and tireless transparency advocate Shailesh Gandhi was recently appointed to the Indian Central Information Commissioner. Though I have seen reports that he has been named as the Chief Information Commissioner, until I see the official notice, such news is simply too good to be true.

Here's Shailesh speaking in Portland, OR, USA:

When I heard this news, I nearly fell out of my chair crying with joy. Seriously. I spent way too long fighting corruption in India to take this with my usual cool distance. Luckily for the voters of DC, I was able to maintain my composure while working the polls.

This is a victory for the world, not just India. Right now, India is experimenting on the forefront of transparency legislation. Imagine, as a US citizen, being able to ask the government not only why your Social Security check is late, but who exactly in the bureaucracy is responsible, their names, their contact information, their service records. Now imagine extending that power to keep an eye on almost all parts of government. Imagine personal accountability for failed levees and squandered disaster relief. Amazing.

Of course, you don't just magically land in a position like this. There are reasons and they shouldn't be ignored. But still, this is awesome.

With power like this, now being enforced by the likes of Shailesh Gandhi, corrupt bureaucrats should be quaking in their boots.

Here's a video of the power of the Indian Right to Information Act:

Go Shailesh, Go!
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