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The Act is in resistance to Centre’s dilution of RTI: Minister T M Thomas Isaac

Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac said the accountability legislation will be the state’s timely response to the Centre’s move to kill the spirit of the Right to Information Act.

Published: 02nd August 2018 03:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd August 2018 03:12 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

TIRUVANANTHAPURAM :  Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac said the accountability legislation will be the state’s timely response to the Centre’s move to kill the spirit of the Right to Information Act. “A comprehensive law for ensuring citizen’s rights, transparency and accountability were announced in the Governor’s policy address last year. Works on the draft legislation will begin shortly,” Isaac told Express. Isaac said the proposed Kerala Accountability Act was part of his government’s political resistance to the Centre’s move to dilute the RTI.
 “It is high time we responded to the Centre’s ill-motivated agenda. Also, our conditions are ripe since we have effectively implemented the RTI,” he said.     

Isaac said the Act would be a clever mix of different laws to ensure audit, accountability and transparency. The citizen-centric legislation will set a protocol for the functioning and audit of the administration with penalties. The minister said the Kerala State Right to Service Act, 2012, an earlier attempt to ensure accountability, was shallow and had conceptual flaws. It hardly made any difference in the bureaucracy’s functioning, he said.

The minister said a professional institution will be roped in to prepare the draft legislation. Before that consultation will be held with different stakeholders, including the campaigners for the accountability act. 
Social activist and RTI campaigner Nikhil Dey welcomed the state government decision.  “ The Accountability Act  is the second phase of RTI in which the administration is held responsible for its faults and delay. Kerala is setting a model for the country in efficient governance,” he said.

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