Lok Sabha passes Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Lok Sabha has passed Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019 amidst strong objection from Opposition with 218 members voting in its favour and 79 against it.

Summary: The bill seeks to amend certain provisions of landmark transparency law- Right to Information Act, 2005 so as to empower central government on deciding terms of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (ICs) at both central and state levels, as well as have a say on salaries, allowances and other terms and conditions of service.

Key Features of Amendment Bill

Term & Conditions of Service: Bill allows Central government to notify term of office for Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (ICs) while as per RTI Act, 2005, CIC at the central level and ICs at state level will hold office for a term of 5 years.

Quantum of Salary: Bill proposes that salaries, allowances, and other terms and conditions of service of CIC and ICs will be determined by central government. While as per RTI Act the salary of CIC and ICs will be equivalent to the salary paid to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (EC) respectively.

Deductions in Salary: As per RTI Act, 2005 at time of the appointment of CIC and ICs, if they are receiving pension or any other retirement benefits for previous government service, their salaries will be reduced by an amount equal to pension. The RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2019 removes these provisions.

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