Amendments to Lokpal bill being considered, says Narayanasamy

Amendments to Lokpal bill being considered, says Narayanasamy

The government is committed to a strong Lokpal bill and is looking at amendments suggested by its allies as well as the opposition parties on the legislation, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy said Saturday.

Addressing an all-India editors' conference on social sector issues in Puducherry, Narayanasamy said: "The government is committed to bringing a strong and effective Lokpal Bill and, therefore, looking into the various amendments suggested in the Rajya Sabha." 

The amendments to the Lokpal bill had been moved in the Rajya Sabha during the debate on the bill by Trinamool Congress, a constituent of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), apart from the opposition parties. Samajwadi Party, which extends supports from outside, had also moved amendments.

The house was adjourned without voting on the bill, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.

According to an official release, the minister also said the Congress-led central government was taking pro-active steps to curb corruption and no one facing allegations of graft had been protected.

He said the Right to Information Act, the whistleblowers protection bill, the judicial accountability bill, citizens' grievance redressal bill and reforms in procurement and mining were among the key anti-corruption initiatives taken by the UPA governments headed by Manmohan Singh since 2004.

The UPA government has removed the discretionary quota of the union ministers so that there is no room left for corruption, Narayansamy said adding that a Group of Ministers (GoM) was constituted in January 2011 to consider measures that can be taken by the government to tackle corruption.

The GoM had submitted its first report which has already been accepted by the government with some minor modifications and action had been initiated to implement the recommendations, he added.

Administrative reforms had also been initiated to bring efficiency in governance, he said.

The government had notified a policy of reviewing performance of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers at 15 years and 25 years of their career to identify and remove non-performers.

He said sanction for prosecution against the officers who are facing corruption charges will be given in three months and departmental inquiry would have to completed within a year of filing of complaint.

Referring to the measures to strengthen the Central Bureau of Investigation, the minister said it had been decided to set up 71 additional special courts for CBI in various states to expedite adjudication of the pending cases. He said 51 courts have already been sanctioned.