THE RTI Act is unlikely to be amended despite there has been a voice within the government that vexations and frivolous requests under the Act need to be rejected by amending the Act. There were media reports saying that there was a rift between Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on whether the Act which has been projected as a major tool to bring in transparency, should be amended at all. According to Mrs Gandhi and the party spin doctors, there is no need to amend the Act as it could be politically detrimental, though some part of the Act has brought inconvenience to the functioning of the government.
In a carefully prepared written reply in Parliament, minister of state in the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions, Prithviraj Chavan, hinted that there was no need to amend the Act, and that if need be, the issues involved may be addressed by amending the rules.
“While no indication can be given at this stage regarding the amendments which will be incorporated in the Act as discussions with the various stakeholders are yet to be held, the proposal under consideration covers, inter-alia, amendment to enlarge the scope of suo-motu disclosure, to avoid frivolous or vexatious representations, to modify the provision about disclosure of cabinet papers, to make a provision for giving current charge of Chief Information Commissioner to any Commissioner, to provide the constitution of Benches of the Commission and to incorporate a new section empowering the Commission to make regulations,” he said in the reply.
In a related development, government of Uttar Pradesh sent a proposal for grant of Rs 7.50 crore for construction of building for the State Information Commission under the proposed Government of India scheme for providing assistance to states for this purpose. But the Central Government has not taken any decision on the proposal of the state government, Mr Chavan said in Rajya Sabha on Thursday without answering the question “why”.
Action and Appointments
a) Railway minister Kumari Mamata Banerjee presented the 55th Railway Week National Awards for Outstanding Services-2010, in
The ministers of state for railways
E Ahamed and K H Muniyappa and the chairman, Railway Board, SS Khurana were also present on the occasion.
b) Urban development secretary M Ramachandran took part at the signing ceremony of the “Reciprocal Common Transport Agreement” among NCR states of Haryana,
and Rajasthan for unrestricted and seamless movement of traffic in NCR region. The function (See picture on left) took place in Delhi on Thursday. New Delhi