Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Modi govt slashed funds for promoting RTI Act

Times of India‎‎‎‎‎: Rajkot: Tuesday, February 28, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly boasted about transparency in his government.However, a plea filed under Right to Information Act (RTI), revealed that since assuming office Modi government has reduced funds for promoting use of the transparency law (RTI Act).
Rajkot-based Rajkot-based RTI activist Shailendrasinh Jadeja filed an application under the RTI Act with the Union ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions, seeking details on funds for promoting and encouraging RTI Act from 2008-09 to 201617.
“I wanted to know how serious was the government on promoting transparency in governance and RTI Act is the best tool to know how go vernment is promoting transparency. The reply to my RTI query reveals that after Narendra Modi became PM, there has been a drastic fall in funds for promoting use of RTI Act among citizen,“ said Jadeja, who is worried about the trend.
According to Jadeja, people need to be educated and made aware about the RTI Act through various awareness programmes at the ground level to empower them.
“By giving examples of people who have used the RTI Act for the larger good, he said it could bring more transparency in administration at the local level and make them accountable. In fact, a few days ago, a BJP MP from south Gujarat had written a letter to Surat municipal commissioner demanding that action be taken against RTI applicants. This shows the intent of the Union government and its public representatives,“ Jadeja alleged.
Times View
Government, state or central, must encourage citizen's participation in governance and ensure transparency in its administration. RTI Act has helped common man and political leaders alike in exposing corruption and irregularities. If Prime Minister Narendra Modi government claims his government is `corruption free' then it needs to spend more on awareness of RTI Act and encourage people to use it.