Thursday 18 April 2024

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Goa to have right to information act

 

Goa plans to be the second state in the country to enact a Right to Information legislation, a demand from all quarters of India. The bill will be presented in the coming monsoon Assembly session.

The state cabinet on Tuesday has unanimously decided to propose the draft bill in the month-long session beginning in July. "It is need of the hour considering the changing socio-economic scenario with liberalisation and globalisation in the country", says chief minister Pratapsing Rane.


Domnick Fernandes, the state information minister, informed the journalists that the draft would be based upon the model draft prepared by Justice P B Sawant, chairperson of the Press Council of India and the Right to Information act in force in Tamil Nadu.

Fernandes has also agreed to invite suggestions from the Goa Union of Journalists as well as several NGOs and trade union bodies, before laying the final draft of the bill on the table of the House. He plans to complete all the formalities by the month end.

In the meanwhile, Rane has also assured to withdraw a circular issued by the government in 1994, which prevents any bureaucrat from divulging information to the press. The local journalists have been demanding its withdrawal for last three years.

The circular, issued by the chief secretary in October '94, empowers only the ministers or the chief secretary to officially talk to the press. All other bureaucrats as well as heads of department had to direct the information through the information department.

While condemning the circular, several NGOs and academicians had demanded the Right to Information bill at a seminar organised last month by the Goa Union of Journalists. Justice Sawant, during his Goa visit last month, had also advised journalists to press for the demand.


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