Scrutinise RTI bill: Opposition

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  1. Opposition parties have criticised the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and moved a resolution to send it to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for further discussion.
  2. RTI Act 2005 sets the term of the Chief Information Commissioner (CICs) and Information Commissioners (ICs) at the centre and state levels at five years (or until the age of 65, whichever is earlier).
  3. The amendment bill 2019 proposes that the appointment will be for such term as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
  4. RTI ACT 2005 states that salaries, allowances and other terms of service of the Chief Information Commissioner shall be the same as that of the Chief Election Commissioner, and those of an Information Commissioner shall be the same as that of an Election Commissioner.
  5. At the state level, CIC and IC salary shall be equivalent to election commissioner and Chief Secretary respectively.
  6. The amendment proposes that the salaries, allowances and other terms of service of the Chief Information Commissioner and the Information Commissioners at centre and state level should be prescribed by the Central Government.
  7. Opposition parties have criticised the amendment bill on the grounds that it would dilute the Act and curtail the independence of the CIC and other information officers.
  8. They have opined that the amendment would also allow Centre to simply transfer any authority be it the CIC or any of the SICs in the event a case is directed against the interests of the government.
  9. The RTI Act 2005 aims to promote transparency and accountability in the working of Public Authorities. 
  10. The Act provides that Public Authorities are required to make disclosures on various aspects of their structure and functioning. This includes: a) disclosure on their organisation, functions, and structure, b) powers and duties of its officers and employees, and c) financial information.