Stating that the Right to Information (RTI) Act won’t be amended, Corporate Affairs Minister M. Veerappa Moily Monday said certain “inbuilt weaknesses” in it must be addressed. At the same time, the bureaucracy should know “how to write in a file”.
“There are several aspects in the RTI Act. RTI can’t be used as an instrument to blackmail. RTI should be used for public interest. There are certain inbuilt weaknesses which need to be addressed.
“That doesn’t mean we need to amend it,” the former law minister told reporters on the sidelines of a programme organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce here.
“It (RTI) can’t be used for the agenda of some political party, the agenda of some people who would like to see that the country is not built but destroyed,” he said.
Calling for a national debate on RTI, the minister said it was an input to build participatory democracy in the country.
“But that doesn’t mean we are going to amend the act or any of its provisions,” he said.
Moily’s comments come three days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for a critical look at the RTI Act, saying it should not affect the deliberative processes in the government.
The prime minister had said there were “concerns that it (RTI) could end up discouraging honest, well meaning public servants from giving full expression to their views”.
Moily underscored the need for capacity building within the bureaucracy.
“They (bureaucrats) should know how to act against the challenges of RTI. I think in this respect there is deficiency in governance. If that is addressed and also the capacity building is done, things will be all right.
“For example, parliamentary questions or assembly questions… not that every question is answered. They also make a selection. That does not mean that parliamentary democracy is negative.
“So we should live through the practice and live through the articles of the RTI… Officers should know how to write in a file. Ministers should also know what to write, how to write,” Moily said.
On whether his ministry will make Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) a compulsory area, Moily said: “We have adopted some conciliatory note. By and large, the culture has to be developed. CSR is no more a charity, no more a philanthropy. It is a social business.
“There are as many as 300 backward districts in the country where investment will not go. Through CSR, (industrialists) can do sustainable business,” he added.