The 7th Annual Convention of the Central Information Commission commenced with inauguration of the event by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh. Shri Satyananda Mishra, CIC, Shri Vijai Sharma, IC, Shri Narayanasamy, Minister of State for Personnel Public Grievances & Pension, Govt. of India and Shri P. K. Mishra, Secretary, DOP&T were present on the occasion.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh while inaugurating the convention pointed out the successful implementation of this Act in past seven years and congratulated all those associated with the implementation of this act. However, the right to Information is still evolving in the country he said. He also expressed his anxieties in the area of concern in this field viz. misuse of this Act, infringement of personal privacy, how much and what extant information regarding public private partnership be disclosed etc. The Prime Minister emphasized on a balance between Right to Information and right to privacy. Dr. Singh also stated that the public authorities have also an important part to play in bringing about improvements in the implementation of the Right to Information Act. Dr. Manmohan singh argued that the Right to Information is one of the many steps of the government has taken for strengthening the institutional architecture for curbing corrupting, enhancing transparency and accountability in public administration and improving delivery of services to the people.
In his address, the Minister of Personnel, PG & Pensions congratulated the Commission for their role in strengthening the RTI regime. He also commended the role of the Public Information officers (PIOs) and stated that they are unsung heroes of the RTI regime. He concluded by stating that the stake-holders should use the information responsibly. Shri Satyananda Mishra welcomed the guests on the occasion of completion of seventh years of the implementation of RTI Act. Shri Mishra, in his welcome address stated that by openness of approach, informality in style and simplicity of systems the Commission has acted as an umpire standing right on the field along with the players rather sitting on a pedestal and pronouncing oracles. He further pointed out the role of civil societies for drawing attention of many new issues and area of concern in past seven years. He emphasized on the role of civil society for keeping their support to this Act because this Act is the mother of all other rights of citizens and its intelligent and responsible use can correct many infirmities in the government and make corruption difficult. Shri Mishra emphasized on the usage of information received for redressing personal grievances of the citizen. He also expressed his annoyances for misuse of this Act resulting wasteful expenditure of public resources and highlighted the role of civil society for checking the misuse by imparting training to the information seekers. Shri Mishra also expressed his annoyance against public authorities for not implementing section 4 (1)(b) of RTI Act.
Shri Andre Beteille delivered the key note address. In his address he said the civil societies (CSO) are an important element/agent in the democracy. He emphasized that the CSO cannot be efficient unless the concept of the citizen is developed. He stated that the CSOs, being a natural society, should scrutinize the action of the government.