UPA on face-saving mode; promises better, effective Lokpal

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V Narayanasamy-Jairam Ramesh
New Delhi, Nov 3: With Team Anna led by activist Anna Hazare mounting pressure on the UPA government to pass an effective Jan Lokpal Bill, the party have had to receive brickbats for its approach to the whole issue. But the party is in desperate need to polish clean the negative publicity and has come up with a Bill more powerful than the Anna-perceived Jan Lokpal Bill.

According to Minister for parliamentary affairs V Narayanasamy, the proposed Citizens" Right to Grievance Redressal Bill did not owe inspiration from Anna's version of the Bill. He added that the decision regarding the same was made during a meeting among Group of Ministers against corruption called by PM Manmohan Singh in Jan 2011.

The matter was validated by Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh who said that the Lokpal will only tackle corruption in high places, the proposed grievance redressal bill will highlight corruption in the lower strata of administration and will be concerned with the delivery of services of the government.

Jairam Ramesh said that the bill was the fifth in the series that includes the Right To Information (RTI), the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), Right To Education (RE), and the food security bill which is soon slated to be a law. He called the move a result of UPA"s innovative philosophy of “rights-based governance" and the five bills, the “Panchsheel" of governance.

Narayanaswamy commented on the new bill in a press conference that the grievance redressal bill aimed to fix time-frames for delivery of government services. He added that officials failing to respond also amounted to corruption. Set up in the same lines as the RTI, there will be a grievance redressal commissioner at the state level and a chief commissioner.

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