Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Monday warned the Centre against any move to “weaken” the Right to Information Act as it has become a strong instrument in unearthing corruption.
“What Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has recently said on RTI was improper. Because the Act was passed by Parliament and instead of saying anything on it he should bring amendments, which can be discussed in the House,” Mr Sinha told a press conference here.
“The BJP will not allow the RTI to be weakened,” Mr Sinha said, reacting to the Prime Minister’s concern on October 12, over frivolous and vexatious use of RTI Act.
Accusing the Centre of shifting stands on some proposed Acts, he said, “The proposed (draft of) Land Acquisition Act formulated and placed it in Parliament. It was sent to a Standing Committee before going to the cabinet. Later, it was decided to set up a Group of Ministers to look into it“.
The same was the case with Direct Taxes Code by setting up Shome Committee even after the Standing Committee on Finance had sent its report, he added.
“Why not discuss over them (proposed acts) properly in the initial stage itself. Ignoring Standing Committees are weakening the Parliamentary system. This should not happen,” the former finance minister said.
Claiming that the Congress-led UPA government was trying to divert attention from corruption issues, Mr Sinha said the BJP would launch a countrywide debate on the issues of corruption, price rise and FDI.
“We will not allow the government to divert the attention from these three issues. We will make the people aware of these three which are inter-connected,” he added.
Mr Sinha asked the Centre why it did not talk to the opposition before announcing 51 per cent FDI in the retail sector and 49 per cent in insurance and pension even after assuring the Parliament that the opposition was one of the stakeholders on the FDI issue.
Commenting on the controversy surrounding Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Mr Sinha opined that the Minister should not have convened a press conference and should have issued a statement instead.
“Locking in a duel with the press reporters was not graceful. What I feel is if can’t control himself he should not have called the press conference, and should have issued a statement on the matter,” Mr Sinha said.