Save RTI: Google Hangout with Jay Panda

Aug 23, 5 pm: Google+ Hangout on Air with Jay Panda, MP, Indian Parliament on why we must raise our voice against the proposed RTI (Amendments) Bill.


In a first ever amendment to the historic Act, on August 12, the Cabinet decided to table the RTI (Amendments) Bill that seeks to exempt political parties from the ambit of the transparency law. The Cabinet’s decision had come nearly two months after the Central Information Commission’s (CIC) order of bringing six national political parties – Congress, BJP, NCP, CPI-M, CPI and BSP – under the RTI Act. The CIC held that the six national parties have been substantially funded indirectly by the central government and were required to appoint Public Information Officers (PIOs) as they have the character of a public authority under the RTI Act.

The government may propose an amendment in Section 2 of the Act, which defines ‘public authority’, to shield the political parties.

There is outcry from citizens, activists and organisations from all corners of the country at this move to cripple the most powerful transparency tool in the hands of the public of this functioning democracy.  Just last year, 2 million RTI applications were filed under various public authorities in the country.

Join The Alternative, a media platform for sustainability and social impact, Youth Ki Awaaz, a platform voicing the concerns of youth in India, the National Council for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) members and concerned citizens in a Google+ Hangout on Air with Jay Panda, MP, Indian Parliament on saving RTI from the proposed amendments.

Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda

Baijayant Panda is a Member of Indian Parliament from Kendrapara, Odisha. Jay Panda is the only Indian politician who has taken an open stand to support the accession of political parties under the ambit of RTI. He has written an open letter to the Speaker of the Parliament to stall the vote on the amendments to RTI and refer it to a Standing Committee and open it up for wider public consultation. Jay Panda has been active on twitter, Facebook and other public forums in supporting and galvanizing action against the proposed move to exempt political parties from the purview of the RTI Act and from public scrutiny.

Anjali Bharadwaj

Anjali is the co-convenor of the National Council for People’s Right to Information and is the founder of Satark Nagrik Sangathan, a Delhi-based citizens’ group committed to promoting accountability in government functioning. Anjali has been actively associated with the RTI movement in India for several years and has played a crucial role in the recent enactment of the central RTI law. Till date, Anjali Bhardwaj has succeeded in helping residents of both low-income slum settlements and higher-income colonies access records of several departments like the MCD, Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Police and the DDA.

Venkatesh Nayak

Venkatesh Nayak is the programme coordinator for the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), which works on accountability issues. Venkatesh Nayak has been protesting strongly against the tabled amendments to the RTI Act that also weaken the Whistle-blower’s Protection Bill through exemptions to revealing information.

The hosts and panelists will be joined by Bhanupriya Rao representing the voice of the citizens who have been actively campaigning the MPs.  Read this piece by Bhanupriya Rao on how citizens are raising their voice against the RTI amendment through an MP Call-a-thon.

Rakesh Reddy

Rakesh is a young RTI activist who quit his corporate job with Oracle to become an activist and empower both people and government departments to effectively use RTI. He has trained close to 10,000 people on using RTI effectively and has himself filed 100s of applications.

Join us to know more about why we must raise our voice against the RTI (Amendments) Bill. Send us your questions by leaving a comment here or write to editor@thealternative.in

Join us On Google+ Hangout on Air, Friday, August 23, 2013 at 5 pm, IST on www.youtube.com/thealternativedotin

 Catch the recorded version of the hangout here


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  • Sanjay Khurana

    Good Move Jaya Pande, will surly look forward to this.