Right to information

Manish tiwari Tue, 16 May 2017

Right to information

Shri Manish Tewari said that one of the first steps that the United Progressive Alliance Government had taken was to enact the Right to Information Act in 2005. This piece of Legislation was perhaps the single most empowering instrument that had been enacted in the past 70 years. For the first time ever, the opaque innards of those administration and governance were exposed to the antiseptic sunlight of public scrutiny.

The RTI Act created an upheaval not only in the echelons of Government but had wide ramifications which reached out into almost every village in this country. There are people who started off as RTI Activists and ended up becoming CMs also. And notwithstanding protests from within and outside Government, the UPA through its 10 years from 2004 to 2014 did not allow any dilution and I underscore the word any dilution to take place in the RTI paradigm. However, ever since this Government has taken over, there has been an attitude of acted neglect towards the RTI, not only RTI queries not answered but even the appeal processes have been very cavalierly treated and there has been a non-formal attempt over the past three odd years 34 months - to scuttle the RTI Act. And finally it seems that the NDA Government the BJP led NDA Government, has decided to formalize the process of subverting the RTI.

The new draft rules which have been put out in the public space, The RTI Rules of 2017, on the face of it, look extremely innocuous but the devil lies in the detail. It is the final print which gives away the intent of the Government and I will give you only five examples.

So, therefore, it is the responsibility of all progressive forces, all those people who believe in transparency, who believe that Government should be accountable, who believe that the RTI has been an empowering instrument over the last almost 12 years of its existence, that these rules must be contested, these rules must be opposed and absolutely no dilution should be allowed in the entire RTI structure. Monday, 3rd Apirl, 2017