Lokpal panel chief hints at delay in report

Even as Team Anna started an indefinite fast here demanding a stringent anti-corruption law, the head of a panel on Lokpal Wednesday said it may be tough for it to give a report in parliament's monsoon session starting Aug 8.

"We have had four-five meetings within a month or so, which was available to us to function. The committee is trying to speed up the proceedings but it looks difficult (to submit report) as enough time is not available," Satyabrata Chaturvedi, chairman of the select committee on Lokpal, told reporters.

The Lokpal bill was sent to the 15-member select committee of the Rajya Sabha May 21. The committee was expected to give its report on the first day of the last week of the monsoon session to be held from Aug 8-Sep 7.

The central government reiterated that it was committed to bring an effective Lokpal bill.

"This bill was passed in the Lok Sabha and was brought to the Rajya Sabha which was mandatory and then there were over 185 amendments. There was so much discussion that it could not be passed. It was sent to the select committee by the members of parliament because they want more discussion to make it a powerful law," said Minister of Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.

"We have passed many other bills like providing protection to whistle blowers and citizen's charter, which clearly demonstrated desire and commitment of the government to bring transparency in the functioning of our day-to-day life," she said.

The bill was last debated Dec 29 last year, the last day of an extended winter session, when the house functioned till midnight but was adjourned without passing the bill.
The select committee held its first meeting June 25.

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