Law to keep tab on lower-rung officials soon

Govt to seek opinion from people to evolve consensus, says Jairam

One of the major objections of Team Anna on the government’s Lokpal bill was that it only sought to bring the Group A government officers — not the ones in the lower echelons of bureaucratic hierarchy— under the purview of the proposed ombudsman to be set up to inquire into allegations of corruptions against public functionaries.
Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh on Monday said the draft of the proposed Public Grievance Redressal bill would be possibly made public by the end of the week to seek opinion from the people and evolve a broad consensus out of a national debate.

The Ministry of Rural Development had been given the task of framing the proposed legislation, as it would draw largely from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act or MGNREGA — the UPA government’s landmark legislation to provide a legal guarantee of livelihood security to millions of poor in the villages.

“The proposed Public Grievance Redressal bill will draw from the MGNREGA and create a legislative framework across the board for redressal of public grievances. This will help redress the grievances of ordinary citizens at local level if they are not getting what they are entitled to get from the government,” said Ramesh.

He said the proposed legislation would empower people to seek actions against Block Development Officers and others in the lower bureaucracy.

Not a standalone
Ramesh said the Lokpal bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 4, should not be seen as a standalone initiative by the government to set up legislative frameworks to fight the menace of corruption.

He referred to the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosures bill and the Judicial Standards and Accountability bill, which were introduced in the Lok Sabha in August and December last year respectively and are now being studied by the parliamentary standing committee on personnel, public grievance, law and justice.

He said the Lokpal bill along with the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosures bill, Judicial Standards and Accountability bill and the proposed Public Grievance Redressal bill were all parts of the legislative initiatives of the UPA government to root out corruption.

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