Government notifies new RTI rules

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News:Government of India has notified the Right to Information Rules,2019. under the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill,2019.

Facts:

About the Right to Information Rules,2019:

  • The rules have reduced the tenure of central and state information commissioners from five to three years. 
  • The rules has given the government the discretion to decide on conditions of service for which no express provisions are made in the rules.
  • The Chief Information Commissioner’s salary has been fixed at ₹2.5 lakh and an Information Commissioner’s at ₹2.25 lakh.
  • The maximum age limit remains at 65 and there will be only one possibility of reappointment as Information Commissioner or elevation as Chief Information Commissioner at the central or state level. 

Criticism of the rules:

  • The activists have said that the rules would affect the independence of ‘Information Commissions who will function like caged parrots.

Additional information:

About Right to Information (Amendment) Bill,2019:

  • Term of Information Commissioner: The Bill states that the central government will notify the term of office for the CIC and the ICs (at the central and state level) bringing change from previous provision under Act of 2005, which mandated them to hold office for a fixed term of five years.
  • Determination of Salary:The bill states that the salaries,allowances,and conditions of service of the central and state CIC and ICs will be determined by the central government. 
  • The Act of 2005 had CIC and ICs at central salary equivalent to Chief Election Commissioner and CIC and ICs at state level salary to be equivalent to that of Chief Secretary.

Central Information Commission:

  • It is a statutory body established under RTI Act, 2005. It is constituted by the central government.
  • It consists of the Central Information Commissioner and not more than ten Information commissioners.
  • The President of India appoints the Chief Information Commissioner and the information commissioners on the recommendation of the committee consisting of the Prime Minister as chairperson, the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and one union cabinet ministers nominated by the Prime Minister.