New Delhi: There is no change “even in a comma or a full stop” in the proposed amendment to the RTI rules relating to word limit and fee from the ones proposed by the Congress in 2012, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today said.
“The proposals on the word limit and fee to be paid made in the proposed rules, to be notified and placed in public domain, are exactly the same as proposed by the UPA government,” Naidu told reporters here.
The Information and Broadcasting Minister alleged that the opposition party was spreading a “disinformation” campaign against it and demanded an apology from it for suggesting that the Centre was “subverting” the RTI act.
The verbal dual between the two parties had started after the Centre proposed new rules under Section 27 of Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 to modify the act.
The Congress had alleged that the government was changing the Right to Information (RTI) norms by bringing in a word limit for applications and higher charges to make it expensive to seek information.
Naidu said, “Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Rules notified by the UPA government (in 2012) and those proposed now relate to word limit and fee to be paid and are the same word by word. There is no change even in a coma or full stop mark.”
He added that the government has also invited suggestions and views from the people over the proposed rules till April 15.
Attacking Congress over its allegation that the Narendra Modi government wants to make access to information difficult, Naidu said the opposition party is “unabashedly claiming Right to Disinformation” by propagating blatant lies against them.
“I demand an apology from the Congress Party for its blatant disinformation campaign against the Government,” the minister said.
Reminding the Congress that BJP extended full support to the RTI Act when it was taken up in the Parliament, Naidu said the allegations of former information and broadcasting minister and Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari are a blatant and irresponsible lie.
Tewari had alleged that the Modi government was tweaking RTI rules and surreptitiously raising the bar to make access to information difficult for ordinary people.
Naidu said the proposed rules, on the contrary, contain some provisions which further empower the applicants under the RTI Act. He added that the RTI Rules notified by the UPA government in July, 2012 are now in force.
Reiterating that transparency and accountability in governance are non-negotiable for the Modi government, Naidu claimed that these new rules sought to further empower the information seekers under RTI Act, 2005.