Growing support for Lokpal Bill to fight corruption

How will an anti-corruption agency function if it has to take permission for conducting inquiry from those in power? Moreover if the anti-corruption agency is only supposed to advise the government but not given any executive power to take action to check corruption, the plight becomes grimmer. Lokpal Bill proposes to establish a single, autonomous apex body empowered to investigate and prosecute politicians, bureaucrats and judges in a defined time-frame, said noted social activist and Magsaysay Awardee Arvind Kejriwal who was speaking at the Panchayati Raj Sammelan organized by Lok Rajniti Manch in Lucknow.

Arvind Kejriwal mobilized the audience to send a SMS text using their mobile phones to 9225592255 to vote against corruption. Noted senior social activist Anna Hazare has declared to sit on an indefinite fast from 1st April 2011 to push for adoption of Lokpal Bill. Kejriwal mobilized support in favour of earlier adoption and implementation of Lokpal Bill. Santosh Hedge, Lokayukta of Karnataka, and Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court lawyer, have drafted this Lokpal Bill.

Arvind Kejriwal strongly supported the fight against corruption. But how will one fight corruption against those in power, particularly if the ones in power are controlling the agencies to check corruption, said Kejriwal. For instance, the chief vigilance commissioner (CVC) can only give an advice to the government, and cannot take any other action further. Similar is the situation of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which has to ask permission from the government for every enquiry it conducts. Kejriwal recollected that a former CVC had told him on record that in the last five years, all those government officials or politicians who were recommended for either termination or imprisonment by CVC on account of serious corruption were released scot-free after a warning, said Kejriwal.

We are not the agents to implement government policies, said Kejriwal, who is a former Income Tax official. Even if we implement all government policies honestly, not much change will happen in people’s lives, asserted Kejriwal. For example, despite implementing existing government’s policies honestly, poverty, unemployment and other issues plaguing people’s lives on daily basis are least likely to be effectively addressed, said Kejriwal.

Till the time, ‘Gram Sabhas’ realize their inherent power and take stock, the desired change will not come in effect, said Kejriwal. Kejriwal proposed why cannot a Gram Sabha fix a day every month to convene an open meeting where people can participate freely on discussions around schemes, programmes, problems, solutioms, and accounts. The elected representatives of the Panchayat have to make a conscious decision whether they want to become a tout of the government or be in service of the people, said Kejriwal.

Bobby Ramakant - CNS 

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