Opposition and activists allege that the move is intended to weaken the institution of information commissions
GN Bureau | April 13, 2018
The department of personnel and training (DOPT) is preparing a draft amendment to the RTI Act, 2005, to empower central and state governments to decided salary of information commissioners at the central and state commissions. Opposition parties and civil rights activists allege that the move is intended to weaken the institution of information commissions, terming it as “totally regressive”. As per the law, the salary of chief information commissioner equals to the salary of the chief election commissioner and the salary of the information commissioner equals to the election commissioner.
According to the NDTV, the DOPT believes that it may not be a good practice to link salary of information commissions with election commission, as the former is merely a statutory body and the latter a constitutional body.
"We will oppose this amendment tooth and nail," the report quoted Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala as saying.
“The high status accorded to commissioners under the RTI Act is to empower them to carry out their functions in an independent manner and direct even the highest officials to comply with the RTI law. By seeking to empower the central government and state governments to decide salaries of information commissioners, the BJP government is trying to undermine the independence of commissioners and diminish their stature,” said Anjali Bharadwaj of Satark Nagrik Sangathan.
It is shocking that instead of addressing the problems related to implementation of the RTI Act like large backlogs of appeals/complaints resulting from non-appointment of information commissioners, the government is attempting to weaken the RTI Act through the proposed amendments, Bharadwaj said.
A nationwide report on the performance of information commissions, by Satark Nagrik Sangathan and the Centre for Equity Studies, highlighted that currently there are four vacancies in the Central Information Commission and four more vacancies are due to arise in 2018. The central government has failed to make appointments, despite repeated representations by civil society. Even in states, the situation is extremely concerning.
The report highlighted that at the present rate of disposal and the number of pending appeals/complaints, an RTI appeal filed in West Bengal Commission would take 43 years to be disposed, while in Kerala, an appeal filed would be disposed 6.5 years later.
As part of the four T strategy of trace-test-track-treat, Mumbai – the most affected city in India – has decided to make Covid-19 tests accessible to all. The municipal corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has come out with guidelines allowing all laboratories to conduct RT-PCR (
In a major development on July 6, the Chinese army started moving back its tents, vehicles as well as troops from locations where disengagement was agreed upon in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. This is a significant milestone in regional geopolitics with India having been successful in isolating the
With the Covid-19 pandemic pushing more online activity and the capacity usage of data centres going up, India’s largest data centre (DC) building and the biggest tier-IV data centre, Yotta NM1,the second largest in the world, has been launched in Mumbai. The launch event on Tue
India has achieved a significant milestone as the number of Covid-19 tests conducted in the country so far has crossed the 1 crore milestone. This signifies the importance accorded to widespread testing and the focussed ‘Test, Trace, Treat’ strategy with several follow-up measures taken in tand
Half way through the year 2020, it has been a tough time all around the world: Covid-19 epidemic, loss of lives, economic hardships and also numerous other problems – natural disasters and political protests. Coming together, it all has mental health under immense strain. To discuss this and othe
In a first, the Department of Home Science, Sri Padmavati Mahila Visvavidayalam (Women’s University) Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, recently organized an international webinar on “Nutrition and Immune System Support during COVID-19 Pandemic”. Speakers included eminent national and internationa