No designated officials in PMO for handling 'Mann Ki Baat' communication

No designated officials in PMO for handling 'Mann Ki Baat' communication

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI file photo

No officials in the Prime Minister's Office have been designated to handle communication received for the 'Mann ki Baat' programme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the PMO has told the CIC.

It also said a huge number of suggestions and grievances is received for ‘Mann Ki Baat’ from various sources which are forwarded to ministries and organisations concerned based on the contents and nature of communication.

The information was provided during a hearing before Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur in a case where RTI applicant Aseem Takyar had sought to know from the PMO the information regarding ‘Mann ki Baat’ program like total number of video, audio and written messages received by the prime minister since its inception.

According to government website, people are asked to send their suggestions which could form part of the address by the prime minister in Mann ki Baat, a program started on All India Radio by Modi in which he addresses people over various issues touching their routine lives.

So far, 44 episodes of these speeches have been broadcast by AIR with the latest one being aired on May 27, according to the website of Akashwani, the state broadcaster.

Not satisfied with the response from the PMO, Takyar approached the Commission seeking disclosure of information.

The PMO official told Mathur that the information sought is not maintained in compiled form but scattered over various documents.

Putting together, this information will require sifting of voluminous data which will disproportionally divert the resources of the office from the normal discharge of its functions and attract the provisions of Section 7(9) of the RTI Act, he said.

“There are no designated officials to handle communication received under ‘Mann Ki Baat’ in PMO,” Mathur noted in his order citing submissions of the PMO official.

Agreeing with the response furnished by the PMO, the CIC said the action and steps taken by the respondent in giving response to the RTI application is satisfactory and refused to intervene in the matter.