During the 2014 election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to deposit Rs 15 lakh in the bank account of every Indian citizen. He said that he would intensively work towards repatriation of black money from abroad to India and deposit Rs 15 lakh in the bank account of every Indian citizen. When the government had demonetization Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes overnight, it was said to be an effort towards repatriation of black money. Thereafter, some taxation schemes were also announced by the government for the people to declare their illegal income, pay some tax on it and convert it into legal income.
However, only about a year of Modi’s tenure is remaining and he hasn’t been able to fulfil the promise of depositing Rs 15 lakh in the bank account of every Indian citizen. The issue has often been raised on various public platforms and media debates.
Curious about when PMO will fulfil its promise, Mohan Kumar Sharma filed an RTI application on November 26, 2016, seeking information on when the Rs 15 lakh promised by the Prime Minister will be deposited in the accounts of Indian citizens. The application had sought answers to a few other queries.
In reply to the RTI plea, PMO has told the Central Information Commission that the answer to this question does not come under the definition of “information” and therefore, they can not provide the answer.
During the hearing, applicant, Mohan Kumar Sharma told Chief Information Commissioner RK Mathur that complete information had not been given by the Reserve Bank of India and PMO. As per a report by the Times of India, Mathur noted:
“The respondent no. 1 (PMO) stated…they have informed the appellant that information sought by him on point nos. 1 and 4 (regarding date of deposit of Rs 15 lakh in the account of each citizen as promised by PM Narendra Modi; how print media houses came to know before the announcement of PM Narendra Modi about the demonetisation, etc.) of the RTI application does not fall under the definition of ‘information’ as per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act.”
The section 2(f) of the RTI Act defines “information” as:
“Any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information related to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force.”
Hence, Chief Information Commissioner found the action/steps taken by PMO in dealing with RTI application as “satisfactory”!