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Government open to debate on Lokpal: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Monday the government was open to a debate on the Lokpal Bill but this alone cannot solve the problem of corruption and there is a need to revamp existing government procedures.

 Addressing a gathering at the Indian Institute of Management-Kolkata, Manmohan Singh said that Lokpal Bill had the power to check corruption but could not solve the problem.

“We are to open a reason debate on all the issues. The creation of the Lokpal as an institution will no doubt help but it will not solve the problem.”

 As the indefinite fast of civil society leader Anna Hazare over a stringent Lokpal Bill entered its seventh day Monday, the prime minister appealed to all concerned to convey their concerns to their representatives in parliament and to the standing committee that is examining the legislation.

 He also emphasised on judicial reforms in the country.

“The creation of the Lokpal as an institution will help. But it will not solve the problem. It needs to be supported by improvements in the pace and quality of judicial processes. Speedy trials and timely judgements will do a great deal to discourage corruption and dispel the notion that those who break the law can get away scot free. This requires a number of judicial reforms”.

“We need to thoroughly revamp existing government procedures to reduce discretion and to make the basis of decision making as transparent as possible. I have asked a Group of Ministers to look into this issue and I am confident we will come up with a systemic solution,” he said.

Quoting from his Independence Day speech, Manmohan Singh said: “There is no magic wand that can solve the problem in one stroke. There is no single solution. We need to act on a multiplicity of problems.”

“We need an intuition like the Lokpal and we have introduced a bill before the parliament, which is now before the standing committee,” he said.

According to prime minister, corruption not only weakens the moral fibre of the country, it also promotes inefficiency and cronyism which undermine the social legitimacy of market economics.

“It also creates a trust deficit which ultimately weakens our ability to act unitedly. I believe all right thinking persons are agreed on the need to act to tackle all these forms of corruption. But I feel the complexity of the task is not adequately appreciated,” he added.

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