Dubai: Social activists and Indian Twitter users came together on July 19 to save India’s Right to Information (RTI) Act of 2005.
Indian National Congress president Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter, early on July 19 to attack the Bharatiya Janata Party government, over proposed changes to the RTI, saying they will render the law useless.
@RahulGandhi tweeted: “Every Indian has the right to know the truth. The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) believes the truth must be hidden from the people and they must not question people in power. The changes proposed to the RTI will make it a useless Act. They must be opposed by every Indian. #SaveRTI”
Thousands of Indians on the micro-blogging site also supported Gandhi’s tweet. Many said the RTI was important in a democratic country and the changes would undermine the independence of information commissions.
Tweep @ShreyaSharma66 posted: “RTI Act is to empower the citizens, promote transparency and accountability in the working of the government, contain corruption, and to make our democracy work for the people in a real sense.
Under the RTI act, any citizen of India is allowed to request information from a public or government authority. The authority is then required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days.
Tweep @ramabajajrpcc added: “#RTI is a tool that can control corruption. We must come together and oppose if someone planning to scrap it. #SaveRTI”
On July 18 the Indian government said it was considering a proposal to amend the RTI Act, to frame rules on salaries and services of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (ICs).
A notice of intention was given to introduce The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2018, for consideration and passage during the current monsoon session of the Indian Parliament.
Some questioned Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea of transparency. @puriyash41 tweeted: “Modi ji doesn’t believe in transparency, he’s following #Gujarat model where no one has right to know anything. #SaveRTI”
According to media reports, leaders of various political parties said they have committed to fight any attempt by the central government to dilute the act and opposed any amendments to it.
Member of Parliament @rajeevgowda posted: “Spoke in Rajya Sabha on Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill. Pointed out how Modi government subverts and sabotages RTI... and every instrument of checking and exposing corruption.”
Finally, on Thurday, the government deferred the introduction of the Bill to change the Right to Information law saying there will be no change in the Right to Information Act.