An RTI reply has revealed that between 2008 and 2015, successive governments at the centre spent Rs 78 crore on creating awareness about Right to Information act across the country.
Activists say that the money allocated towards the awareness campaign on RTI is significantly less than what the central government has spent on other campaigns.
In 2014, Venkaiah Naidu said that the central government had earmarked Rs 1800 crore for PM Narendra Modi’s pet project Swachh Bharat campaign.
More recently, just to organise the Yoga event commemorating International Yoga Day in Delhi had cost exchequer Rs 30 crore. This did not include the cost incurred on massive ad campaigns on multimedia platforms.
According to an estimate the cumulative cost of organising pan-India event on Yoga would have cost taxpayers at least Rs 100 crore.
The Ahmedabad based RTI activist who filed the original request said, “This clearly shows how serious the successive governments have been towards making people aware about the RTI. Rs 1800 crore on Swacch Bharat campaign, Rs 100 crore on Yoga, hundreds of crore by Congress government on pushing its pet projects, but a disappointing Rs 78 crore on RTI over the period of seven years. Effective use of RTI is key to strengthening the pillars of denocracy. But by not creating enough awareness about this historic act, we know that political class is simply not bothered about the RTI being effective.”
During the UPA 2 regime, its ambitious Bharat Nirman campaign had cost exchequer Rs 18698 crore.
RTI act was passed by the Congress led UPA government in October 2005. The enactment of RTI in India as law was hailed as historic.
Several civil society organisations led by Arvind Kejriwal, Nikhil Dey and Aruna Roy were responsible for making this happen. Kejriwal, now Delhi chief minister, was conferred with Magsaysay Award for his contribution towards enactment of RTI law.