Monday, October 12, 2009

RTI act -- positive amendments sought

From news below:

One of the main suggestions of the commission, which has been included in the list of proposed amendments, is that the Act should be made more NRI-friendly. “The NRIs, being Indian nationals, can apply for information under the RTI Act, but the means for access for them are very unsatisfactory. Where do they pay the fee of Rs 10, and how? When they approach Indian embassies, they are seldom helped.”

Comments: This is an excellent idea. The RTI act is applicable to all Indian citizens. To deny its use to NRIs or even Indian citizens who are travelling and outside India is not a good idea.

The Government is also planning to reduce the number of organisations mentioned in the Second Schedule of the RTI Act which are exempt from disclosure norms. At present, there are 22 security and intelligence organisations which do not have the general obligation to disclose information unless it is a matter of human rights violation or corruption. These include RAW, Intelligence Bureau, DRDO, SPG, CRPF and CISF. Sources said organisations like Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) could be taken off the Schedule.

Comments: Again this is in interest of more disclosure of information and fits in with fundamental right to information. Denial of information should be an exception and therefore most departments of government should be openly accessible as far as their decision making is concerned.

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