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LS nod for Right to Information Bill

May 11, 2005 21:52 IST

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the right to information Bill amidst an opposition boycott.

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh asserted that the measure would see the dawn of a new era in governance and eliminate the scourge of corruption.

He added that everyone, including civil servants, should see the bill in a 'positive spirit' and 'not as a draconian law for paralysing government'.

The PM wanted the bureaucracy to consider the Bill as an instrument for improving government-citizen interface resulting in a friendly and effective governance.

The bill was passed by a voice vote after Centre received 150 amendments to the draft.

The bill was approved by the House following a reply by Minister of State for Personnel Suresh Pachauri.
Referring to amendments incorporated in the draft bill, Singh said the Centre has removed the penalty of imprisonment against erring officials.

He, however, said they would still be subject to departmental proceedings.

In his reply, Pachauri said there was a lot of difference between the Freedom of Information Act, 2002, which was passed during the National Democratic Alliance government's tenure, and the current bill.

The minister regretted the 2002 Act was not brought into force while some provisions of the current bill would become operational soon after the measure is approved by Rajya Sabha and gets Presidential assent.

"This shows our policy and our intention, to provide a transparent, accountable and responsive administration," Pachauri said.

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