As corruption and transparency become the most debated issue of the government, Transparency International India (TII) on Friday evening released its State Transparency Report ahead of Right To Information (RTI) day on Saturday. In the press release issued by TII, it states that more than 3.02 Crore RTI applications have been filed so far. While Chhatisgarh is the only state which has published the annual reports from 2005 to 2018, Uttar Pradesh has failed to publish any annual report since the inception of the law, states TII. In comparison to last year's data, the total number of RTI applications have increased from 2.43 Crores to 3.02 crores.
The Right to Information Act empowered Indian citizens to seek information from Public Authorities since 2005. This report analyses the Central Information Commission and functioning of each State Information Commission bringing out the extent to which each State is complying with the provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005 thus making the Government and its functionaries more accountable and responsible, states TII. This report provides structural analysis and policy review of the Right to Information legislation. Apart from the usage, analysis related to post and vacancy, budget, cases of threat and harassment and website of Information Commissions have been analysed.
The RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was passed by the Lok Sabha in July this year. According to PRS, the Bill allows the Centre to prescribe the term of office, salaries, allowances and other terms and conditions of service of chief information commissioner and the information commissioners. Earlier, under the RTI Act, 2005, the term of the office of the chief information commissioner and the information commissioners was fixed at five years. However, the new amendment act suggests that the government will not notify the term of the office at any period of time. Several activists have criticised the bill saying that it will affect the independence and neutrality.
TII is a non-political, independent, non-governmental anti-corruption organisation of India. While the organisation has many tools to help fight corruption, it publishes its annual corruption report and its State Transparency Report which assesses the use of the 2005 law. TII is mainly funded by external donors, crowd-sourced funding and sponsors. TII has been engaged in research, dissemination of governance-related information, participatory monitoring, engaging with the Government, private sector, academia, media, and likeminded NGOs.