Obama lauds efforts to empower Indian villagers



New York: US President Barack Obama lauded efforts being made in villages across India to empower citizens and promote transparency in governance at a global forum here, which incidentally India has decided not to join.

The forum on 'Open Government Partnership' is a US and Brazil-led eight nation initiative aimed at supporting national efforts to promote transparency, fight corruption, strengthen accountability and empower citizens.

Despite being invited, India has not joined the initiative, which has been embraced by about 40 other nations as well as civil society.

Obama said the partnership is working to transform how governments serve their citizens in the 21st century, an era where "new generations across the Middle East and North Africa assert the old truth that government exists for the benefit of their people."

"Countries from Mexico to Turkey to Liberia have passed laws guaranteeing citizens the right to information. From Tanzania to Indonesia -- and as I saw first hand during my visit to India -- rural villages are organising and making their voices heard, and getting the public services that they need," he said.

Obama said that civil society groups in countries like Chile, Kenya and the Philippines are giving citizens new tools to report corruption.

"This is exactly the kind of partnership that we need now, as emerging democracies from Latin America to Africa to Asia are all showing how innovations in open government can help make countries more prosperous and more just... and as young people everywhere, from teeming cities to remote villages, are logging on, and texting, and tweeting and demanding government that is just as fast, just as smart, just as accountable," the US President said.

PTI