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Nothing wrong in bringing political parties under RTI: Tharoor

Political parties should be brought under the ambit of the Right to Information Act to ensure transparency in governance and strengthen the trust of the people in democracy, Union Minister Shashi Tharoor said on Saturday.



Thiruvananthapuram: Political parties should be brought under the ambit of the Right to Information Act to ensure transparency in governance and strengthen the trust of the people in democracy, Union Minister Shashi Tharoor said on Saturday.

"Political parties are the lifelines of our democracy. So, in my personal view, there is nothing wrong in bringing them under the RTI Act. The more transparent we are, the more we can gain the trust of people," the Minister of State for Human Resource Development said here at a seminar on, `Right to Information Act - The Way Forward`.

Tharoor sought to know why Left leaders were opposed to political parties being brought under the purview of RTI when they claimed that all their activities were transparent.

He said he had held discussions with many of his fellow Members of Parliament who had told him that the kind of information that could legitimately be sought under RTI Act could also be got from Election Commission.

Quoting a recent survey, he said democracy itself was in a dangerous position and the number of people who preferred a dictatorship were on the rise in society.

But legislation like RTI Act could make a change in that perception, he said, adding that, "bringing political parties under RTI can bring more transparency into the system".

Though India`s RTI Act was just seven to eight years old, it was much more generous and liberal compared to similar legislation passed by western countries, said Tharoor, a former Under Secretary General at United Nations.

On the 2G scam issue, much information, even that related to the Prime Minister`s Office, had been collected using RTI Act and published in the media. That reflects the transparency of India`s democratic system, he said.

Stating that RTI was a significant measure, CPI-M leader and opposition leader VS Achuthanandan sought to know why Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was refraining from providing CCTV footage of his office in connection with the solar scam despite his assertions of transparency in functioning.

The two-day seminar, which concluded today, was organised by the State Information Commission and Institute of Management in Government.

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