“Restricting all discretionary powers of Ministers, Members of Parliament, and bureaucrats will reduce corruption”

Following on the last post here on 22 August 2011 A Broad Social Movement against Corruption – in India I continue to share information on further developments.

But – by now – even the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said that he might have made mistakes, and the “government would do everything possible to cleanse the system. We need to find credible solutions to deal with the scourge of corruption” – there is now a move to get more attention at higher levels for the anti-corruption draft by Anna Hazare and his supporters.

As these events in India seen to be of an extraordinary and exemplary character – maybe also for other countries – I continue to share detailed information.

For readers who have not seen the pre-history of this crisis aiming at fundamental changes: these are the previous references: sveral times in the past – on 5, 9, and 12 and finally on 22 April 2011 I had written in detail about this.

 Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh

Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh

The Economic Times of India wrote on 25 August 2011:

Let’s debate all versions of Lokpal Bill: PM Manmohan Singh

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that he was ready to debate all versions of Lokpal Bill. Addressing the Lok Sabha [the lower house of parliament], Dr. Singh said that fighting corruption is a collective national responsibility and there is a need to find a credible solution to tackle it.

The prime minister said that parliament should discuss weak and strong points of Jan Lokpal, other Bills and send entire the record for consideration to the standing committee. Such a debate would help determine the weak and strong points of various bills so that we “have the best possible bill to deal with the problem of corruption.” Such a move, he added, would respect parliamentary supremacy and at the same time meet Hazare’s demand.

“There is anger in the country,” he said, echoing the national mood in the wake of widespread protests since Hazare began his fast on 16 August 2011.

The prime minister said the anger was about the misuse of public offices and added there was need to come up with “a very strong bill” to battle corruption.

Saying that he applauds and salutes Anna Hazare, Prime Minister made an impassioned appeal to him to end his 10-day fast in support of a strong Lokpal bill. “His life is much too precious. Therefore, I would urge Hazare to end his fast,” the prime minister said, as the entire house listened to him attentively…

The prime minister said the “government would do everything possible to cleanse the system. We need to find credible solutions to deal with the scourge of corruption.”

Prime Minister said that he might have made mistakes but denied accusations that he had ever “connived with corruption.”

The Indian prime minister has his own Facebook site – and there is also his invitation to write to him directly by clicking on a link, if somebody wants to contact him directly.

But in spite of the recent signs from the prime minister to be open to deal not only with the draft submitted by the government side of the drafting committee (“Lokpal Bill”), but to also consider points in the other draft submitted by civil society representatives (“Jan Lokpal”), there are still voices calling on the government to show more seriousness to fight corruption than the government suggests.

Keshavananda Bharathi [a noted scholar and writer], head of the Edneer Mutt in northern Kerala [a religious center of education, arts, and culture], on Thursday, 25 August 2011, urged both the government and Team Anna to end the stalemate on the Lokpal issue and not to make it a prestige issue.

…[he] asked Hazare to end his fast and said the Lokpal bill should be withdrawn if the government is serious about rooting out corruption.

“Anna Hazare is a precious diamond for us and he should remain for several years and lead the country’s movement against corruption. We do not have any other leader today of his stature and nature. He is a true Gandhian.”

Bharathi said, “Taking this into consideration, if the government is really serious in rooting out corruption, they should immediately withdraw the weak Lokpal Bill of the Government. Please do not stand on personal prestige. “I would also personally request Anna to withdraw the fast as we need him. Today the entire country is behind him.”

“The government should also immediately restrict all the discretionary powers of the ministers, Members of Parliament, and bureaucrats. This itself will reduce corruption.”

This is an interesting pointer to where corruption originates.

The next days will probably be more dramatic – while the health of the fasting Anna Hazare is deteriorating, efforts to find ways for a compromise in parliament continue, but – as Keshavananda Bharathi thinks – if the root of corruption is not eliminated seriously, the present struggle would be in vain.

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