The Right to Information (RTI) bill seeking significant changes to the transparency law has passed the Rajya Sabha.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly spoke to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for the support of his Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
BJPs UPPER HAND
A motion by the opposition to send the amendment to a select committee for greater scrutiny was negated by 117 members voting against it opposed to 75 voting in its favour.
The Congress, following a ruckus in the House after voting on whether to send the amendment to a select committee, had walked out of the Rajya Sabha. The proposed law was then passed through voice vote.
The RTI bill provoked sharp exchanges in the House with the opposition demanding that it be referred to a select committee. The proposed law was passed on Monday in the Lok Sabha, where the government enjoys a majority.
the BJD, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and YSR Congress agreed to support the RTI bill, greatly helping the government in an opposition-dominated house.
Sources in the Congress had conceded that the numbers are stacked up against the opposition and the RTI amendment bill is likely to go through.
After five members retiring yesterday, the BJP and its allies are six short of a majority in the Rajya Sabha, where it has always faced an opposition wall in pushing legislation.
Congress leader Sonia Gandhi has strongly objected to the changes the government has proposed to the RTI law.
she said in a statement the Modi Govt was “hell-bent on completely subverting the historic RTI Act” and the law, “prepared after wide-spread consultations and passed unanimously by parliament, now stands on brink of extinction.”
The RTI changes will allow the government to decide the tenure, salary, allowances and other terms of service of the Information Commissioners at the centre and states.