Bulletin: India Against Corruption
In a meeting with representatives of India Against Corruption (IAC), the PM Manmohan Singh said that the govt has no time to consider the issue of corruption till May 13 due to the ongoing parliament session and forthcoming elections in five states. IAC is a movement created by concerned citizens from all spheres, and professions, who’ve come together to fight corruption in India. IAC representatives requested the PM for an early action because the country was seething with anger and bleeding due to corruption.
The meeting last evening between representatives of IAC (Anna Hazare, Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal, Swami Agnivesh, Archbishop Vincent, Dr Kuldip Chikara (Bharat Swabhimaan Nyasa), Darshak Hathi (Art of Living) and PV Rajagopal) and the PM and Law Minister, Veerapa Moily was not very encouraging.
Mr Shanti Bhushan, senior lawyer and former Law Minister, told the Prime Minister that he had personally gone through the Jan Lokpal Bill and was convinced that if it were passed, it would have a huge impact on corruption within next five years.
After great persuasion, the PM agreed to bring Lokpal bill in the monsoon session of parliament. The IAC members informed the PM that the bill drafted by Law ministry was extremely bad. Rather than curb corruption, it would encourage it. To this, Mr Moily suggested that a subcommittee of “Group of Ministers (GOM)” will be constituted which will have two meetings with representatives of IAC after the 13th of May. The GOM will draft the bill accordingly after the interaction. When Anna Hazare insisted that he would not wait for so long, the PM offered to have one “symbolic” meeting after 25th March when parliament session ends.
The PM was requested to set up a joint committee consisting of half members from civil society and half from the government to prepare the draft Lokpal Bill by the 13th May when the elections end, he simply refused.
In the meeting, Anna Hazare pointed out that all talk about development and all expenditure there on was meaningless and futile unless corruption was checked. People were very angry against corruption and the government better realized that. He pointed out that the whole country needs to immediately act against corruption. He said that it was unfortunate that the govt does not have time to address this burning issue. Anna Hazare has announced that the movement would continue and intensify. His decision to go on fast on the 5th April stands.
IAC has been holding meetings and demonstrations across the country over last couple of months. The issue holds significance for Sikkim as well since the ruling SDF government has been accused of serious misappropriation of funds by the opposition. The government of Pawan Kumar Chamling didn’t allow the CBI to carry investigation against the charges of corruption. The government appointed investigation committee under Justice RK Patra gave a clean chit to the government.
With inputs from Geetesh Deshwane, member, India Against Corruption
CM in trouble?