Rajya Sabha passes RTI Amendment Bill,

After being passed in Lok Sabha recently, the RTI Amendment Bill, 2019 was passed by the Rajya Sabha last evening.  Speaking on the occasion, Dr Jitendra Singh said that there is no motivation to curtail the independence of the RTI Act. There is no interference as far as the independence of the Act is concerned, the Minister assured. Speaking about the fixation of the tenure of Information Commissioners, he clarified that it is never mentioned in the amendment.

He said that Government will change it after every two years, as alleged by the Opposition. The Government will not have unbridled powers to amend the rules, he emphasised. The Minister said that the Government has always focused on the principle of ‘maximum governance, minimum government’.  He mentioned about various such initiatives of the Government such as self attestation, abolition of interviews etc.

The essence of these initiatives is aimed at accountability and citizen-centric approach of the Government. The Minister also said that ‘Mobile App’ was brought by the Government to enable the citizens to file RTI any time. He added that in the last five years, most of the information is available in the public domain, he added.

The Bill was not referred to a Select Committee, with 117 members voting against referring the bill to a select committee, and 75 members voting for it.

The Lok Sabha had passed the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on 22nd July. In this amendment, it is proposed to amend the Right to Information Act, 2005 so as to provide that the term of office of, and the salaries, allowances and other terms and conditions of service of, the Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners and the State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners, shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

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