Little public tolerance on corruption: Manmohan Singh

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Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, April 21: Admitting that there is little public tolerance now for the prevailing state of affairs on the issue of corruption, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today (April 21) said that his government is committed to face this challenge boldly as people expect swift and exemplary action.

Singh also said that government hopes to introduce during the monsoon session of Parliament the Lokpal Bill on which a committee of Ministers and representatives of civil society are working.

Addressing IAS, IFS, IPS and other senior bureaucrats, the Prime Minister did some plain speaking. "There is a growing feeling in the people that our laws, systems and procedures are not effective in dealing with corruption," he said asking them to contribute in the fight against corruption.

"We must recognize that there is little public tolerance now for the prevailing state of affairs. People expect swift and exemplary action and rightly so," Singh said inaugurating the Civil Services Day.

Recalling his earlier statement that corruption was an impediment to faster growth and hurts the poor the most, the Prime Minister said, "it is a challenge that we must tackle boldly and we stand committed to doing so".

He noted that the issue of ethics and transparency in governance was a subject which has attracted a great deal of attention in recent days. 

The Prime Minister said he expected the civil servants to be honest and fearless in advising the political leadership.

Hoping to see renewed energy from each one of them in the fight against corruption, he said,"I expect you to be honest and fearless in advising your superior authorities, especially the political leadership.

"Those of you who serve in senior positions would do well to also encourage your subordinate officers in this direction," he said.

Singh said that the government's aim was to strengthen the legislative framework, revamp administrative practices and procedures and fast track a systemic response to fight corruption.

A Group of Ministers is looking into the legal and administrative measures and he expected its recommendations to be available soon, he said.

"A committee of Ministers and representatives of civil society is at work to finalize the draft of a Lokpal Bill, which we hope to be able to introduce during the monsoon session of Parliament," he said.

Observing that two bills relating to judicial accountability and protection of whistle blowers have already been introduced in Parliament, Singh said that the government would soon ratify the United Nations Convention on Corruption.

"We are committed to bringing more transparency in public procurement and to ensuring that disinvestment of public utilities and allocation of public resources are done in a manner that best safeguards the interests of the asset-owning public," the Prime Minister said.

PTI

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