Newdelhi:12/10/19:Union Minister of Home Affairs Shri Amit Shah presided over the 14th Annual convention of the Central Information Commission as Chief Guest. Also present was Minister of State for Ministry of Development of North East Region (Independent Charge); Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, Departments of Space and Atomic Energy, Dr. Jitendra Singh.
In his address, Shri Shah expressed pleasure at the functioning of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and said that in the 14 years since its enactment, the purpose and objective of the act has been fulfilled. He added that the main objective of RTI was to increase trust of people in the system of governance, and the act has been successful in instilling and strengthening the faith of the people that the system functions within the boundaries defined by the Constitution. He noted that this trust automatically increases a sense of partnership and ownership of people in governance, and this sense of partnership goes a long way in making the nation progress.
Shri Shah also said that in 1947, India attained freedom from a long era of oppression where the objective of the administration was discriminatory and was to fulfill the wishes of foreign masters, as opposed to looking after the welfare of people. This objective and the steps taken in that direction caused a disconnect between people and the administration. Shri Shah remarked that till 2005, no steps taken to remove this disconnect had been successful, but in the last 14 years, this gap is being fulfilled by the transparency and accountability ushered in through RTI. He called transparency and accountability the twin pillars of good
Shri Shah praised RTI as a great step to remove injustice and corruption from the system and increase the efficiency of governance. He said that RTI removes arbitrariness from governance and acts as a major grievance redressal tool. He said that the use of high technology methods like video conference and digitization of RTI files makes the lives of litigants easier.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Jitendra Singh said that under Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the government had further strengthened the cause of transparency and accountability by creating an online portal for RTI, which did not exist previously. He said that the proactive increase in transparency in the last five years has led to a reduction in the need for RTI. He said that in 2019 alone, 12 lakh RTI related grievances had been redressed successfully. He added that the government had taken several steps to increase awareness about RTI but cautioned that the law should not be misused.
Chief Information Commissioner Shri Sudhir Bhargava remarked that the annual convention offers an opportunity to reflect and introspect on the implementation of RTI Act and the success it has achieved in furthering our shared democratic values.