Wajahat Habibullah: Person of the Year

Chief Information Commissioner

Given on this 23rd day of January 2009 at New Delhi, by the hands of Mr Sam Pitroda, Chairman, National Knowledge Commission, India

An officer and a gentleman, Wajahat Habibullah, has created and contributed to many institutions. His legacy, over the past few years is the strengthening of the Right to Information through the institution of Central Information Commission. He not only built the institution but also overcame formidable challenges like bringing the government file noting under the RTI purview. Just a few years ago it was unimaginable for a common man to inspect public works or records; take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records; or, take certified samples of material. The formation of Central Information Commission and institutionalisation of Right to Information Act has altered the situation altogether. His efforts have, amongst other things, changed the perception in bureaucracy that RTI is a hindrance. He has also been championing the cause of e-governance and transparency at the Panchayat level upwards. A new era of transparency, accountability and disclosures in all public works has begun, exemplified by the Right to Information under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

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