Prez, PM call for moderation in debates on corruption

Country is witnessing trivialisation of complex policy issues, says Singh

On a day when the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi announced filing of FIR on gas pricing, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh advocated the need for “moderation” in a “very vigorous” public debate on corruption.

Singh said the country is witnessing “trivialisation” of complex public policy issues followed by an “unwarranted condemnation” of decision makers.

President Pranab Mukherjee also warned against vilification campaign to “destroy reputations and careers” in the name of checking corruption.

The president and prime minister were speaking at the Golden Jubilee of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) where the leaders emphasised the need for expeditious investigation of allegations of corruption without fear or favour.

In comments that could be read against the AAP, which has raised the decibel on corruption in election year, Singh said the aim of anti-corruption mechanism is to contribute towards improvement of the processes of governance and delivery of services and this can happen only when we encourage “bold and innovative decision making”. He, however, did not mention the AAP.

Singh acknowledged that the debate has been for the good as it has led to increased awareness among people about their rights.

He said honest officers should not be harassed for bonafide mistakes that they might make while taking well-meaning decisions.

However, he said: “There is a need for moderation in the public debate about corruption as well. In the past few years, we have been witnessing a very vigorous public debate in our country on matters relating to corruption, with accusations flying thick and fast. While informed discussion on such matters is certainly desirable, much too often we see a trivialisation of complex public policy issues.”

Singh’s comments came on a day when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ordered filing of an FIR against Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily, former minister Murli Deora and Reliance Industries Limited chief Mukesh Ambani for alleged collusion in the hike in prices of natural gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin.

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