New Delhi, July 19: The Narendra Modi government is expected to introduce the bill to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 — proposing changes in rules on salaries and services of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (ICs) — in the Rajya Sabha today.
A notice of intention was given to introduce ‘The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2018’ in the Rajya Sabha for consideration and passage during the current session of Parliament, Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said in a written reply to Lok Sabha yesterday.
The government’s plan to amend the RTI Act is facing criticism from the Opposition who have committed to fight any “attempt” by the Centre to “dilute” the RTI Act and oppose any amendments to it.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi today attacked the BJP government over proposed changes to the Right to Information Act, saying they will render the law useless.
“Every Indian deserves to know the truth and the BJP wants to hide the truth. The BJP believes the truth must be hidden from the people and they must not question people in power. The changes proposed to the RTI will make it a useless Act,” tweeted Rahul.
He added that the changes being suggested “must be opposed by every Indian.”
Every Indian has the right to know the truth. The BJP believes the truth must be hidden from the people and they must not question people in power. The changes proposed to the RTI will make it a useless Act. They must be opposed by every Indian. #SaveRTI pic.twitter.com/4mjBTwQnYK
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 19, 2018
The proposed amendments, circulated among Members of Parliament, seek to do away with the parity given to information commissions with the Election Commission in terms of salary, allowances and conditions of service.
According to the proposed amendment, “the salaried and allowances payable to and other terms and conditions of service of the chief information commissioner and the information commissioners shall be such as may be prescribed by the central government”.
Proposing the changed in the RTI Act, the government has asserted that the functions carried out by the Election Commission are completely different from those carried out by information officials.
According to a PTI report, activists and former commissioners have slammed the move, claiming that the proposed amendment to the RTI Act to take away the stature of information commissions from the equivalent of the Election Commission will end their autonomy.
Senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechuri said the RTI Act came existence from people’s struggle and the party would work within Parliament and outside it to ensure that no amendment was made to it.