PM lists out steps to fight corruption
Minister Manmohan Singh Friday listed out a series of steps the
government is taking to fight corruption in the country and said
the nation should seize the moment to put an end to this malaise"
# Government is working on ways and means to minimize
New Delhi: Institution
of a "strong and effective" Lokpal, reducing discretionary powers
of public authorities and ensuring transparency in government
contracts were on top of his government's agenda, Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh said Friday. He also stressed that the nation must
"seize this moment" to bring in far-reaching changes in fighting
"We are on the cusp of far reaching changes in fighting
corruption. The agitation for the establishment of a Lokpal has
brought the issue of cleaning up of public life right at the top
of the agenda of national priorities," Manmohan Singh said in one
of his strongest statements to date on the issue that has been
bedevelling the nation.
"The government welcomes inputs from civil society and NGOs on how
to fight corruption," he said at the biennial conference of the
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and state anti-corruption
Facing criticism from civil society for suggesting earlier that
the Right to Information (RTI) needs review, Manmohan Singh said:
"Public authorities should voluntarily place as much information
as is possible in the public domain to inform people."
"RTI is a potent tool to ensure transparency and accountability in
public life," he said.
With the issue of corruption gaining centrestage and becoming a
rallying point for people all over, the prime minister said the
task of ensuring transparency in public life and punishing the
corrupt "had acquired an urgency as never before".
"We must as a nation seize this moment".
Talking about the measures to check corruption, the prime minister
said the government would bring a bill in the winter session of
parliament to ensure transparency in government procurement
contracts (running into thousands of crore of rupees).
He also said the government was considering changes in the law to
make private sector bribery punishable.
According to the prime minister, India's ratification of the
United Nations Convention Against Corruption June 2011 would
strengthen the government's anti-corruption efforts and facilitate
international cooperation in trans-border cases of corruption.
He said to meet the requirements of the convention, the government
had introduced a bill to make bribery by foreign public officials
Besides a bill to provide protection to whistleblowers, the
Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill has also been
introduced in parliament, he said.
Expressing hope for "a strong and effective Lokpal in the coming
months", the prime minister said "the CBI will continue to play a
very important role irrespective of the shape of the Lokpal".
Team Anna has demanded that the anti-corruption wing of the CBI be
put under the Lokpal.
The prime minister said to reduce opportunities for corrupt
practices, a group of ministers (GoM) is working on ways and means
to minimise discretionary powers of public authorities.
The GoM is also looking at the issue of a public procurement law
to minimize irregularities in the award of government contracts
worth thousands of crores of rupees every year, he said.
Agreeing that the debate over the possible ways to curb corruption
and improve the processes of governance has intensified, Manmohan
Singh said: "I believe the churning over this issue that our
society and our polity are witnessing today, marked by sharp
differences of opinions and ardent advocacy of particular causes,
is good for the country."
"There is a need for speedy and thorough investigation into
allegations of such wrongdoing, followed by expeditious
prosecution to bring the guilty to book," he said.