Maharashtra Government has not spent even a single rupee on advertising and promoting the Right to Information (RTI) Act, touted as a powerful tool in curbing corruption and improving governance, according to an RTI reply.
In reply to an RTI query filed by activist S B Repale, the General Administration Department (GAD) of the state clarified, “The government has not spent any money on account of advertising the RTI.”
The reply given by R S Arwari, the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the RTI cell also said they do not have a compiled data about the penalty imposed on the erring PIOs.
Criticising the government for its “lackadaisical approach”, Repale said, “Every public-oriented scheme is popularised. Many times it is even done with more than necessary budget. But, it is not so in case of RTI. How indifferent government has been towards this important Act.”
Another noted RTI activist, Anil Galgali, also slammed the government for not doing anything to make the Act popular.
Response to Galgali’s RTI query earlier this year had revealed that 15 ministers of the BJP-led government in Maharashtra, had collectively spent Rs two crore to refurbish their offices.
“This shows the mindset of the government. They can waste common taxpayers’ money on luxury, but cannot spend even a single rupee on popularising the RTI…This is because, people in the government know very well that if RTI becomes popular, it will blow the lid of their misdeeds,” Galgali said.
Another RTI activist Vihar Durve said, “Maharashtra figures among the top states where most number of RTI activists are killed or attacked. Besides, two Information Commissioners in the state were recently sacked. Now, government must act revive this ailing commission.