Right to Information – Master key to good governance


Posted by rtiact2005 on July 26, 2006



Press Information Bureau

Press Release

WEdnesday, July 26, 2006       16:40 IST
16: 40 IST

The recent decision of the Union Cabinet to bring about some changes in
the Right to Information Act has evoked sharp criticism from some sections
of the Press and civil society, particularly with respect to the issue of
“file notings”. This criticism is largely misplaced since it is based on an
incomplete knowledge of facts. The facts are as below:

While it is true that the RTI Act did not include any provision for full
disclosure of “file notings” by officials, and inspite of a view expressed
against such disclosure by various experts and officials, the UPA Government
has remained committed to the principles of greater transparency and
accountability in the public decision-making process. In view of this firm
belief, the Union Cabinet had in fact approved last week an amendment to
section 2 (i) (a) of the Act that specifically provides that file notings of
all plans, schemes and programmes of the Government that relate to
development and social issues shall be disclosed.

The disclosure of file notings on the most important and vast bulk of
Government activities has now become possible for the first time. This was
not possible before. It is thus not a case of retrogression. This is a
positive step forward. It may be clarified that only a small portion of file
notings now remain exempted from disclosure. This is related to subjects
that are already exempted under sub-Section (1) of Section 8 of the Act and
to personnel-related matters like examination, assessment and evaluation for
recruitment, disciplinary proceedings, etc.

The amendments recently approved by the Union Cabinet also vastly increases
the role and responsibility of the Central and State Information Commissions
which are independent authorities. So far, under the existing Right to
Information Act, the main role of the Central and State Information
Commissions has been to hear appeals. The amendments now approved will help
to enhance the independence, autonomy and authority of the Commissions.
These amendments include :

a) powers to the Commissions to take all necessary
measures to promote the use of electronic record keeping and to facilitate
effective disclosure of information as well as information management;

powers to make recommendations regarding effective implementation and
monitoring mechanisms;

c) powers to make recommendations regarding systems
and tools that need to be developed and deployed;

d) powers to make
recommendations for development of guidelines, minimum requirements,
proactive disclosure of information, methods of publication, etc.

It is thus clear that the implementation of the amendments approved by the
Union Cabinet will make the Right to Information Act a more powerful tool
for more transparent and just governance where the public will have
increased access to information relating to not only the decisions taken but
also how and why they are taken.



3 Responses to “CLARIFICATION ON RTI ACT : Press Release by PIB”

  1. ramesh wasudeo said

    wonder if power to recommend is a power in true sense. at best, it is a liberty and not power.


  2. S.K.Kapur said

    Dear members
    I believe that our GREAT leaders are like a true shepherds worried and caring about their sheep (vote bank). A bunch of activists like of Medha Patkar could be easily put to hold by slapping cases against them. These people or activists could not adversely affect their polls.
    If eminent persons would fight elections and win in large numbers, (for which there is a remote chance), only then the things could change otherwise the fight is a long drawn one and that is certainly no reason to be dishartened or be complecant.

  3. I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog.
    I’m hoping to view the same high-grade content from you later on as well.

    In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own blog now 😉

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