eGovernance in India

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Sonia unhappy over changes in RTI Act

Posted by egovindia on July 22, 2006

Sonia unhappy over changes in RTI Act
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060722/main8.htm

New Delhi, July 21
Congress President Sonia Gandhi is reportedly unhappy with the Union Cabinet’s decision to amend the Right to Information Act, debarring bureaucratic notings on files from being made public.

Yesterday’s modification is being viewed as a clear dilution of the Act, which has been touted as the brainchild of the National Advisory Council (NAC), earlier headed by Mrs Gandhi. Speaking at innumerable party fora and public functions, the Congress President has repeatedly referred to the passage and successful implementation of this Bill and the national rural employment guarantee programme as one of the major achievements of the UPA Government.

Congress sources admitted that since Mrs Gandhi had taken so much personal interest in pushing through this legislation, she could not be expected to be happy with these changes. This issue is learnt to have figured at the meeting of the core committee, held every Friday and attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mrs Gandhi, Union ministers Pranab Mukherjee, Shivraj Patil, Arjun Singh, senior Congress leader A.K.Anthony and Mr Ahmed Patel, Political Secretary to the Congress President.

Although publicly the party has little choice but defend the UPA Government’s decision, several Congress members believe that this move will take the sheen away from this otherwise people-friendly legislation.

Termed as a pro-people Act, the legislation was aimed at making the bureaucracy more transparent and accountable. The latest amendment to disallow disclosure of file notings is learnt to have been pushed through under pressure from bureaucrats on the plea that this can be misused and will eventually hamper decision-making.

Concerned at the possibility of an adverse public response, a section in the party is planning to press the leadership for an internal discussion on this matter. While opposing the latest amendment, several senior Congress leaders said they will write in their objections to the Congress President.

“I think it is still too early to be making such changes in the Act. It has been implemented only recently, we should have allowed it to evolve for a year or two before bringing in any modifications,” commented a senior Congress leader.

For the record, however, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi had a tough time today defending the government’s decision and even sought to blame it on “coalition compulsions”.

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One Response to “Sonia unhappy over changes in RTI Act”

  1. Hemp said

    Hemp

    Sonia unhappy over changes in RTI Act « eGovernance in India

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