The appointment of Information Commissioners in Andhra Pradesh was going on in PPP (public-private partnership) mode despite the public protest and the opposition, former Chief Election Commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh remarked here on Sunday.
Speaking at the fourth national convention of the National Campaign for the People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) here, he said the Information Commission in Andhra Pradesh was now packed with politicians against the spirit of the Right to Information Act. “It may be businessmen tomorrow as the AP government strongly believes in pursuing PPP (public-private partnership)”, he lamented.
Alerting the RTI activists to be cautious against the impending threats to weaken the movement and the act itself, Mr. Lyngdoh said: “The act may have to be reoriented to handle the principle foe and repository of power.” The Congress party and the Centre had been trying to nullify the office of CAG to rid of all Parliament and public scrutiny on funds and State assets showed its questionable nexus with the corporate sector, he alleged.
Member of the National Advisory Council and social activist Aruna Roy said the RTI had empowered people in many ways, particularly on the margins and in conflict areas. The Act and RTI movement had brought changes in the lives of many people in the country, if not all. She narrated some positive changes it had ushered-in in the country. Ms. Roy appreciated the culture of civil servants in Andhra Pradesh who have been increasingly believing in proactive disclosures and people’s right to know.
The Chief Information Commissioner of AP, Jannat Hussain, explained the steps taken up by the commission to decrease the pendency of appeals and some Commissioners undertaking district visits to hear appeals. Basheer Ahmed, an RTI activist from Jammu & Kashmir made an enthusiastic presentation on the “misuse” of the helicopter by a former Chief Minister of that State.