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Information as power: making best use of India's Right to Information Law (PLA 53)

Access to information is a fundamental prerequisite for exercising any right. Many democratic nation states today agree on the need for ‘good governance’. The right to information is thought of as a touchstone of a vibrant democracy, and recent years have seen new legislation around the world to guarantee greater freedom of information from public bodies. In India, a number of individuals and groups in civil society have been using the Right to Information law along with other strategies to make progress in a number of important areas. We have collated a generalised process and a set of strategies and tactics that have been – and can be – used by NGOs, activists, civil society groups, or poor communities on their own to access and use information to improve public service delivery and hence justice for poor people.

Guest-editor: Sonja Vermeulen. This special issue of PLA comes from the Power Tools initiative which aimed to develop, test and circulate existing and new tools to bridge key gaps in policy processes and content. These policy tools – tips, tactics and approaches – provide practical help to people working to improve the policies and institutions that govern access to and use of natural resources.

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA, formerly PLA Notes) is the world's leading series on participatory learning and action approaches and methods. PLA publishes articles on participation aimed at practitioners, researchers, academics and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board. See: www.planotes.org

Keywords: policy, natural resource management (NRM), community-based natural resource management (CBNRM), Power Tools.

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