NEW DELHI: Acknowledging that the prevailing state of affairs will not be tolerated by the people, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh Thursday pledged swift and exemplary action to deal with corruption towards which he unveiled a number of steps.
Dr Singh also said that government hopes to introduce during the monsoon session of Parliament the Lokpal Bill on which a committee of ministers and representatives of civil society is working.
“There is a growing feeling in the people that our laws, systems and procedures are not effective in dealing with corruption,” he said addressing IAS, IFS, IPS and other senior bureaucrats. Without mincing words, he said, “We must recognise that there is little public tolerance now for the prevailing state of affairs. People expect swift and exemplary action and rightly so.”
Dr Singh, who was inaugurating the Civil Services Day, recalled his earlier statement that corruption is an impediment to faster growth and hurts the poor the most. “It is a challenge that we must tackle boldly and we stand committed to doing so.”
Outlining a multi-pronged approach, the Prime Minister said that the government’s aim was to strengthen the legislative framework, revamp administrative practices and procedures and fast track a systemic response to fight corruption.
A Group of Ministers is looking into the legal and administrative measures and he expected its recommendations to be available soon, he said. “A committee of ministers and representatives of civil society is at work to finalise the draft of a Lokpal Bill, which we hope to be able to introduce during the monsoon session of Parliament,” he said.
Observing that two bills relating to judicial accountability and protection of whistle blowers have already been introduced in Parliament, Dr Singh said that the government would soon ratify the United Nations Convention on Corruption. “We are committed to bringing more transparency in public procurement and to ensuring that disinvestment of public utilities and allocation of public resources are done in a manner that best safeguards the interests of the asset-owning public,” the Prime Minister said. Dr Singh said he expected the civil servants to be honest and fearless in advising the political leadership.
The spontaneous support of the people of Malkangiri, when the Collector of the district was kidnapped by left-wing extremists “is a pointer to the extent of goodwill that well meaning civil servants can achieve,” he said. “Disapproval and even ostracisation by peers and colleagues can be a powerful deterrent for those who tend to stray from the path of rectitude,” the Prime Minister said.