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Sunday 26 January 2020

RTI application may not be required in future to get govt info

Home Minister Amit Shah said the GeM portal was an example to show the redundancy of RTI applications, all relevant information is available online

The Narendra Modi government is working on a major scheme to bring transparency in the work of ministries and departments. If the government’s plan is implemented, the number of RTI Act users will see a drastic decline. Union Home Minister Amit Shah says that everything will become so transparent that people will not have to apply for information using the RTI Act.

The government will be forthcoming in sharing information, making all share-worthy data public. Questions on a tender in some ministry or department, conditions for the same, the names of applicants, the number of applicants, the tender process and the result thereof will all be available on a website.

People, applicants as well as tender allotting institutions will be able to check the proceedings on the website. The Union home minister said that when something becomes so transparent, there will be no need to apply for information using the RTI Act.

In July this year, the Congress and other opposition parties had raised the concern of a possible dilution of the RTI Act by the Modi government. The ruling BJP used social media to address the ‘misgivings’.

RTI redundancy: Example of Kedarnath

Speaking at the 14th Foundation Day celebrations of the Central Information Commission on Saturday, Shah said this. Giving an example of saving on public resources, he explained how the development works in Kedarnath were being monitored. He said this was a technique in which there was no scope for corruption while transparency was 100%. Drones are used to monitor the ongoing development works there.

The officials concerned monitor the work, sitting in their respective offices. Even the minutest of tasks is done online, he said.

GeM portal: Alternative of RTI

Shah cited another example: the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal. He said he had checked the portal in the morning. Buyers and suppliers were all becoming part of the process. All information is before the people.

Apart from this, the dashboard comes in handy. The data on the progress in government schemes such as rural development, the number of toilets required and made, the number of LPG cylinders delivered and needed via Ujjwala scheme, etc are available on the website. Police stations are registering FIRs online and the progress in police work vis-à-vis every case can be viewed online, Shah said.

‘IC should make govt information accessible to people’

Home Minister Amit Shah urged the Central Information Commission to help transmit all the information of the government to the people. About 5,00,000 information officers across the country will assist the government in this task. Information officers live among the people; so they are able to easily convey information about all the government work, the minister said.

For this, members of the CIC should hold press briefings. People will thus get from the media all information in advance, without needing to file RTI applications later.

The Modi government has started work in this direction, Shah informed the gathering. In the coming months, its effect will be seen at a time when the number of RTI applicants starts decreasing rapidly, he said.

As examples of the use of RTI in the list of related stories on Sirf News show, the most sensational of the results pertain to questions asked about government corruption of the cronyism kind. It is to be seen how effectively the portal or portals being developed by the government at this stage as a substitute for RTI applications will prove in answering people’s quest for knowledge of wrongdoings.

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