Monday, January 24, 2011

Draft amendments may sound RTI death knell

Proposed changes to the Right to Information (RTI) Act threaten to render it
ineffective to a large extent. The amendments include restricting questions per RTI query to one and word count to 250 per query, and levying a 'hire' charge. If the Department of Personal and Training's proposed draft comes into effect it would be applicable to all central government agencies and respective state commissions can follow suit and adopt these rules accordingly after issuing state resolutions. RTI activists said the draft rules would kill the Act and citizens will not get adequate responses. "The manner in which the DoPT is pushing the draft rules without asking for suggestions shows they want to dilute the Act and make it ineffective. The DoPT just gave 17 days (December 10 to December 27) to invite suggestions and comments. The draft rules suggest major changes that need to be debated. The Centre should have given more time for people to respond and given far more coverage to the rules in public forums, informing everyone of these changes. After all this is a people's Act," Bhaskar Prabhu, convener of the Mahiti Adhikar Manch said.

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