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Govt Open To A Reasoned Debate On Lokpal, Says PM

PTI 22 Aug 2011, 14:38:48 IST

Kolkata, Aug 22: In a fresh bid to end the week-long standoff with Team Anna, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said Government is open to a “reasoned debate” on the Lokpal Bill and that the Parliamentary panel examining it can propose changes.

“We are open to a reasoned debate on all these issues,” Singh said at the golden jubilee function of the Indian Institute of Management here.Apparently referring to the demand of Anna Hazare that the Jan Lokpal Bill should be placed in Parliament, Singh acknowledged that there were differences of views in the Lokpal Bill introduced by the Government.  

“We have introduced the bill in Parliament which is now before the Standing Committee. There are differences of views on details of the bill,” Singh said.

“We have made it clear that all concerned individuals should convey their concern on different aspects of the bill to their representatives in Parliament and to the standing committee”, he said adding, “the Standing Committee has the power to propose any amendment”.

Team Anna has been insisting that the Government version of the Lokpal was weak, self-serving and would only encourage corruption.
Recalling his Independence day address, Singh said, “I said (in my speech) that there is no magic wand that can solve the problem in one stroke. There is no single solution. We need to act on multiple fronts”.

He said that the creation of Lokpal as an institution would help but it would not solve the problem. “It needs to be supported by improvements in the pace and quality of judicial processes”.

He said that corruption has not disappeared from the system and it surfaces in many forms.“The ‘aam aadmi' faces corruption when he has to pay a bribe to facilitate ordinary transactions with the government”, the Prime Minister said.

“There is also corruption on a larger scale. Large government contracts can breed corruption when government procedures are inadequate”, he said.He said that strong procedures were needed to eliminate corruption and the government was serious to remove it.

“It is a mistake to see corruption as a consequence ofeconomic liberalisation and reforms, Singh said, adding “any area which has actually seen systematic reforms has seen disappearance of corruption.” PTI