Will tackle corruption frontally: Govt

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New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) With its image dented by a rashof scams, the government today pledged to address "frontally"the concern over "lack of probity and integrity" in publiclife and vowed to bring back black money stashed abroad.

Committing itself to improving the quality of governanceand enhancing transparency, it promised to eliminatecorruption in public life through a series of steps besideselectoral reforms and ensuring accountability in judiciary.

The government promises were contained in the address byPresident Pratibha Patil to the joint sitting of Parliament,which marks the commencement of the Budget Session.

In her 50-minute speech, Patil also expressed seriousconcern over inflation and said the government''s "foremostpriorities" in the coming financial year would be to combat itand protect the common man from the impact of rising foodprices.

The other priorities of the government would be tosustain the momentum of inclusive economic growth, maintain an"uncompromising vigil" on internal and external secrurityfronts and to pursue a foreign policy which will protectIndia''s interest in the global fora.

Against the backdrop of a series of scams that has hitthe government, the President said, "Our citizens deserve goodgovernance; it is their entitlement and our obligation.

"My government stands committed to improving the qualityof governance and enhancing transparency, probity andintegrity in public life."

Outlining five "foremost" priorities of the government,the President said it will it will "address frontally theconcern regarding lack of probity and integrity in publiclife."

She noted that a Group of Ministers (GoM) was consideringall measures, including legislative and administrative, totackle corruption and improve transparency.

The Group will consider issues relating to theformulation of a public procurement policy and enunciation ofpublic procurement standards, review and abolition ofdiscretionary powers enjoyed by ministers.

Introduction of open and comptetive system of exploitingthe natural resources, fast-tracking of cases against publicservants charged with corruption and amendments to laws forquicker action agaisnt them is also part of terms of referenceof the GoM.

The report of the Group, which will also considerstate-funding of elections, is expected soon.

Touching upon the raging controversy of black moneystashed abroad in secret accounts, the President said issuehas attracted a lot of attention in the recent past.

"My government will spare no effort in bringing back toIndia what belongs to it and bring the guilty to book," sheasserted. .

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