The Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (I/C), Prime Minister’s Office, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh today interacted with the members of Indian Women’s Press Corps( IWPC) here today.While interacting with the women journalists, who are also the members of the Indian Women’s Press Corps( IWPC), Dr Jitendra Singh said that there were apprehension emerging in some sections of the society and media that there was a move by Shri Narendra Modi Government to dilute or curtail the Right To Information (RTI) Act. He said that this apprehension is baseless, but on the contrary, he added that the Government, has worked on the principle of increasing citizen participation in governance, with more accountability and transparency in the last four years.Dr Jitendra Singh said, it was during this Government that all the 11 vacancies of the Central Information Commission were sought to be filled by the Government whereas, during the earlier times, there had been occasions when sometimes, Information Commission was functioning with just three or four members. Not only this, he said, the pendency of the RTI applications has been tremendously brought down and the time of disposal has also been curtailed. The Minister said that in the last four years, most of the public authorities numbering around 2000, have been brought under the purview of the RTI Act, which was not so earlier.
On the development of North East region, Dr. Jitendra Singh said that the present Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi gave momentum to development of NER and the road, rail and air-connectivity has expanded in the region. He said, the Prime Minister has undertaken nearly 30 visits to the region and due priority has been given to the development of the NER. He said this government has set up a separate ‘NITI Forum for North-East’ to look after the policy matters related to the region. He said that the focus has not only been bringing North East closer to the rest of country, but also to bring rest of India closer to the North East.Answering a question on the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act 2018, he said that the Government has a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ towards corruption and with the passing of this Bill the prevailing corrupt practices can be curtailed.On the issue of lateral entry into the bureaucracy, he said that this practice has been there even in the past and the Government has tried to institutionalize it and streamline it, so that the process is more objective and will bring specialists into the system.