Recently, there is a calculated move on the part of the UPA government and top politicians in power to discredit the RTI and the RTI activists. This is only natural since the government has been put on tender hooks several times in the recent past due to the information acquired by individuals and NGOs which exposed some ministers and bureaucrats. One instance is the release of the letter written by the Finance Secretary regarding the involvement of the former Finance Minister P.Chidambaram in approving the 2G auctions.
It was very unfortunate that the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh himself, in the Conference of Information Commissioners on 13th October 2011, almost attacked the RTI and its utilisation by the activists and NGOs. He stated that the RTI Act required a critical look in view of the undesirable situation of public authorities flooded with vexatious demands for information having no bearing on public interest. He also felt that they adversely affected the process of the government.
In fact, this is an open threat that the government is going to make some amendments in the RTI Act 2005. The Government brought the Act with much fanfare and got the credit. The Act was well appreciated by the people also. Now the government feels that the people should not have the right to know how the government is functioning. This attitude of the Government is completely wrong and dangerous.
But somehow, the strong protest from various sections and the media compelled the Government to declare that no amendment is going to be made to the RTI Act. So far, so good. But let us be careful.
The need of the hour is to pressurise the government to ensure that the provisions of the RTI are effectively implemented. Anything less than that will be strongly opposed by the people as an infringement on their right to information,