Congress slams Modi for deciding to ‘skip’ RTI Day function

New Delhi, Oct 12 (IANS) The Congress on Monday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly deciding to skip the Right to Information Day function, slated for October 16.

Every year, RTI Day is observed on October 12. Modi first postponed the RTI Day function to October 16 due to his preoccupation with election rallies in Bihar and is said to have finally decided to skip even the postponed event.

“By attending the function every year, the prime minister or the President of India reinforces the government’s commitment to the act and send a serious message to the bureaucracy about the government’s commitment to its implementation,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

“This non-seriousness about the RTI Day is not merely due to an inconvenience of scheduling, it is a manifestation of the larger design to kill the Right to Information Act,” he said.

“Even last year, the convention commemorating RTI Day was not organised at all because the Modi government had not even bothered to appoint a Chief Information Commissioner,” Surjewala added.

Surjewala also said that there had been a consciously undeclared attempt at diluting the RTI Act by instructing officials to stonewall queries received under the act.

“As a result, today the pendency of cases at the CIC has gone up to more than 35,000,” said the Congress leader.

He said: “There has been a sustained effort on part of the government to dilute the act so that covert and corrupt practices being undertaken by his government are shielded from the eyes of the people.”

“The government dragged its feet without any reason in appointing the CIC and the Information Commissioners. Then it withdrew administrative support to the commission by withdrawing bureaucrats and cutting the number of officials posted with it. And finally, dealt a severe blow to the commission by cutting finances, thereby making its functioning almost impossible,” he added.

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