You may have to pay more to get documents under RTI
Reeling under a debt of Rs4.30 lakh crore, the state government formed a committee of high-ranking officials to look at new ways to earn moneymumbai Updated: Oct 19, 2017 19:19 IST
Getting documents under the Right to Information (RTI) Act is set to become costlier in Maharashtra, as the finance department wants to increase the charge for a photocopy to Rs10, from the current Rs2. While the proposal may not get a nod from political leadership, the move, if passed, may create a flutter among RTI activists.
Reeling under a debt of Rs4.30 lakh crore, dwindling revenue receipts and contingencies such as farm loan waiver, the state government formed a committee of high-ranking officials to look at new ways to earn money. The panel met finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar last week, and discussed various proposals, including the hike in charges for giving RTI documents.
“Various departments waste their time and manpower to deal with RTI applications. The documents are provided for Rs2 a copy to an applicant above the poverty line, while it is given for free to those below poverty line. Lakhs of pages are photocopied every year for this. If the rate per copy is hiked, the government will not only get revenue, but it will also help to reduce the burden,” said an official from the finance department.
RTI activists slammed the proposal. “It is a steps towards killing the Act. If the government wants to lower the burden on the machinery, it should suo motu provide information on all its policies and decision as stated in section 4(1) of the RTI Act 2005. The government does not have the right to change the application fee or charge for photocopies as it is a Central act, but state governments have been amending rules as per their whims,” said Vijay Kumbhar, a Pune-based RTI activist.
Mungantiwar said the idea was rejected. “The hike will hardly generate Rs10-20 lakh for the government, but will invite a huge amount of criticism. We are looking at ways to earn hundreds of crores. I have asked the department to not move the proposal forward,” he told HT.