ITANAGAR- The Arunachal Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday constituted a three member committee to study and discuss the provisions of RTI Act 2005 with various stakeholders to formulate recommendations to GoI for making some amendments in RTI guidelines.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu, while responding to a Short Duration Discussion raised by Pasighat West MLA Ninong Ering regarding ‘RTI Guidelines’ in the house on Tuesday proposed for setting up of a three member Committee to work out modalities to do away with the problems associated with implementation of RTI Act to facilitate for further amendments, to which Deputy Speaker Tesam Pongte approved for the same.
The committee will be lead by MLA Ninong Ering with Aalo East MLA Kento Jini and Raga MLA Tarin Dakpe as members.
Khandu said that the committee will work in close consultation with the Law department to come up with the recommendations for further review and discussion in the next assembly session before placing the report to the Government of India for amendments. He also called upon the members to provide suggestions to the committee.
Expressing his concern over the wrong way of using the RTI Act by some people, thereby creating much hurdles in the offices, especially in work departments, the Chief Minister informed that since State Information Commission was set up in 1st August 2006, a total of 2933 cases have been filed, of which 2433 cases were disposed, while another 500 cases are still pending.
Khandu said that RTI is a fundamental right and cannot be denied to the public, adding that from the remarks of the members, it could be assumed that RTI had become a way of business or way of torturing people. He also opined that the problem was in the system itself which needed to be rectified at the earliest.
The RTI Act gives free access to BPL categories in seeking documents and some people are misusing the same for all wrong reasons, the chief minister said, adding that amendment in certain clauses of the act would regulate the system.
Earlier, while initiating the discussion on RTI Guidelines, Ering threw light on gross misuse of RTI in the state for personal benefits and taking it as source of income. Saying that ‘right to information should not be a right to income’, Ering sought certain modifications in the guidelines, awareness on the act, training of the officers besides evolving a mechanism for its regulation in proper and effective manner.
Members Kento Jini, Jikke Tako, Lokam Tassar, Ojing Tasing, Phosum Khimhun, Kanggong Taku, Wanglin Lowangdong, Techi Kaso and Kento Rina participated in the discussion. All the members pointed out on the misuse of the act, harassment of the officers and called for streamlining of the act, increase of the RTI fees and withdrawal of the BPL clause for obtaining documents.