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Efforts to dilute RTI must be resisted, says Aruna Roy

Saturday October 15, 2011 08:17:22 PM, IANS

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Panaji: Right to Information (RTI) activist Aruna Roy Saturday took Prime Minister Manmohan Singh head on Saturday, saying that efforts to dilute the RTI Act by the "prime minister or anyone else" must be resisted at all costs.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a lecture on good governance here, Roy, who heads the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), said the silence of civil society over exclusion of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from the RTI was ominous and did not bode well for transparency in the country's administration.

"The RTI Act is strengthening the foundations of democracy in India. Efforts made to dilute and weaken by the prime minister or anybody else have to be resisted at any cost whether by writing letters or carrying out dharnas or other means," said Roy. She is also a member of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council (NAC), set up to monitor the implementation of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's manifesto.

Manmohan Singh Friday called for a critical review of the RTI Act.

Speaking at the 6th Annual Convention of Information Commissioners here, the prime minister said that the act had been effective, but there were "concerns that it could discourage honest, well-meaning public servants from giving full expression to their views".

In response to the prime minister's comments, Roy said: "The job of the bureaucrat is to make notings on the file. He is paid to do his job. If they don't do it, remove them."

"Some of us were quiet when the CBI was dropped from the RTI ambit. That is not a good sign. We should keep protesting efforts made to weaken the RTI," she said.







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