A Little known fact - PM on RTI Bill (PLEASE NOTE: BEFORE BEING ENACTED) & CORRUPTION:
Excerpts from our Hon. PM Shri Manmohan Singh's intervention BEFORE the passage of the HISTORICAL Right to Information Bill, 2005:
"Mr. Speaker Sir, I am very grateful to you for granting me permission to intervene on a very important and critical Bill, which is before this august House.
I have always believed - all power is a sacred societal trust - that you cannot SIT on power, you have to spend it, but you must spend it taking into account the good of the largest number of people.
We all know ((((in 2005 !!!!)))) that there are widespread complaints in our country about wastefulness of expenditure, about CORRUPTION in matters, which have relations with the functioning of our Government.
This is the guiding spirit behind this new momentous measure that is now before this august House, that is, the Right to Information Bill.
It is this COMMON MAN or COMMON WOMAN who is the fulcrum of our democratic system, as an observer, as the seeker of information, as the one who asks RELEVANT QUESTIONS, AS THE ANALYST AND AS THE FINAL JUDGE OF OUR PERFORMANCE. ((((The preamble of the RTI Act, which is necessary to be understood by the implementing authorities who have been referring to the LITERAL definition of information vis-a-vis asking questions))))
The Bill lays down an architecture for assessing information, which is simple, easy, time-bound and inexpensive. It has stringent penalties for failing to provide information or affecting information flow in any way. In fact, it imposes obligations ((((SEC.4)))) on agencies to disclose information suo motu, thus reducing the cost of access.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, many hon. Members have, during the discussion on the Bill, raised many concerns and questions. They will be answered by the Minister of State, Shri Suresh Pachauri. I would only like to see that everyone, particularly our civil servants, should see the Bill in a positive spirit; not as a draconian law for paralyzing Government, but as an instrument for improving Government-citizen interface resulting in a friendly, caring and effective Government functioning for the good of our people. Sir, it is with this in mind that we have removed the penalty of imprisonment through this Amendment. However, erring officials would still be subject to departmental proceedings. I appeal all civil servants to see this Bill in the right spirit and hope they will only be spurred towards better performance. After all, we, the elected representative of people, bow to the wishes of people and have come to no harm. So will it be with honest, hard working civil servants.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I believe that the passage of this Bill will see the dawn of a new era in our processes of governance, an era of performance and efficiency, an era which will ensure that benefits of growth flow to all sections of our people, an era which will eliminate the scourge of corruption, an era which will bring the common man's concern to the heart of all processes of governance, an era which will truly fulfil the hopes of the founding fathers of our Republic."