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Updated: December 21, 2011 14:15 IST

Anna's movement has served a purpose: Manmohan

Sandeep Dikshit
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Prime Manmohan Singh during his departure from Waterkloof Air Force Base, Pretoria on Wednesday.
Prime Manmohan Singh during his departure from Waterkloof Air Force Base, Pretoria on Wednesday.

‘All I said was that we should reflect on how to achieve in totality the purposes of RTI'

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement has served its purpose and that all political parties are working to put in place an effective Lokpal Bill in Parliament.

“It is our expectation that Parliament will move for an effective Bill, which will be assurance to the people at large that corruption cannot flourish as a way of life in our country,” he told the accompanying newspersons on the way back from South Africa after attending the Fifth IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) Summit. Though he felt Mr. Hazare's movement had run its course, he too felt the debate over corruption had served a purpose — it awakened the country to the harmful consequences of corruption which is eating into the political, economic and social fabric of the society. “Our government is committed to all that is necessary to clean up the system,” he said.

The Prime Minister did not subscribe to the view that corruption was an inevitable fallout of development. “I think, corruption hurts the development process, corruption hurts the poor and corruption affects the quality of governance and for all these reasons we cannot say that corruption is something which is inevitable in our society.”

Dr. Singh denied having suggested dilution of the Right to Information Act. “All I had said was that we should reflect on how to achieve in totality the purposes for which RTI has been set up. I have never said that we are going to change the RTI,” he clarified.

Asked whether the attacks on Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal were signs of growing intolerance, Dr. Singh condemned the violence and felt “howsoever angry one may feel there are more civilised ways of expressing one's anger and frustration.”

The Prime Minister refrained from reacting to Bharatiya Janata Party L.K. Advani's comments against him while wishing the veteran leader a successful yatra. He also had a word of advice for Mr. Advani hoping that he would not use language which, at times, appeared to be intemperate. “I think in politics it is better to avoid harsh words.”

On the government coming under attack from allies — Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar commenting that the government was in a disarray, Trinamool Congress spiking a river water sharing treaty with Bangladesh and a former DMK Minister in jail — Dr. Singh said that despite different perspectives among coalition members, managing the UPA Cabinet had not been a difficult task. “Our government functions with the coherence it needs to carry out its mandate given by the people.”

Terming Law Minister Salman Khursheed's comment that keeping businessmen in jail was hurting investment “stray thoughts,” Dr. Singh felt there were legal remedies available in the system whenever anybody was got on the wrong side of the law.

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Manmohan Singh is a honest man with impeccable credentials. But these qualities alone do not make him immune from criticism. His colleagues tried their level best to undermine the movement against corruption. He should take an independent line and join the crusade against corruption.

from:  RKRAO
Posted on: Oct 21, 2011 at 04:57 IST

Politicians, in themselves, are just errand boys for big businesses. Source of corruption lies with big businesses. Both Anna and PM are supporters of Big business. One takes donations in the name of NGO, the other takes donations in the name of party. Anna's movement was never revolutionary nor will it be in future. It is a movement which was spearheaded by the most conservative layer of the society, ofcourse with liberal grants from big business.

from:  Raghavendra
Posted on: Oct 20, 2011 at 18:21 IST

For a genuine right to information the babu's note sheet in a file should be avaialable in the public domain. Otherwise the RTI which the Hon'ble Prime Minister wants us to reflect would be vanity of vanities.

from:  Vijay Agnihotri
Posted on: Oct 20, 2011 at 14:34 IST

Well Said by PM "Anna's movement has served a purpose" but this will be more correct to say when purpose served by anna will transform in an effective ombudsman with efforts of ruling government; till the time effective ombudsman is not a reality PM words can be considered as silver speech only.

from:  deepesh
Posted on: Oct 20, 2011 at 13:11 IST

Laws remain pieces of papers if people implementing them do not believe in them and place them above their own benefits. Most of us Indians have this problem of placing own good above collective good and that's where we fail. The question of who should be exempted arises even before the law is made... only non-humans should be exempted from laws and no one else even if it is highest appointment of a country - then it's a law, otherwise, a mere measure of disciplining people.

from:  Vasu
Posted on: Oct 20, 2011 at 13:03 IST

Dear PM, these words in front of the media is only to put dust on eye of the public. You and your party was trying to condemn the movement of Anna Hazare telling that it is politically motivated.Once it was proved Anna Hazare's activist had been manhandled. Everybody knows this Janlok Pal Bill is impossible to come into the rule. If the government is making a campaign to capture the black and corrupted money, common man cannot believe it will be going to happen.

from:  Ratheesh. P.R
Posted on: Oct 20, 2011 at 12:36 IST

Mark the words..."I think in politics it is better to avoid harsh words.” . This is what UPA has been doing.... just saying good words but doing just the opposite...and as far as the Strong Lokpal Bill is concerned, if it comes into wil be like UPA placing thier FOOT on the AXE expecting strong lokpal moves out of the picture....and it is just that UPA is playing with words with the country.

from:  Mukesh Roy
Posted on: Oct 20, 2011 at 11:58 IST

Proud to be an Indian and proud to have such a honest and open man MMS as the head of our country. Many a times it is media that twists the message and creates wrong opinion among the people. Thanks to Hindu for bringing interviews and letters to people in black and white. One channel reported the same news as "PM admits tension within". Looks like some media people want to create news instead of just reporting news. Though, the literacy rate reached almost 90% in most of the states, not everyone has grown to a level of thinking with an open mind and analysing pros and cons. Many a times such news brings division among people and state.

from:  kumar
Posted on: Oct 20, 2011 at 11:30 IST

Thanks to Hindu for publishing this interview, Dr.Singh is a good man and I hope the country will recognize this soon enough to respect him the way he should be.

from:  Prem
Posted on: Oct 20, 2011 at 11:07 IST

Jan Lokpal though the best solution at the moment, it is in fact like symptomatic treatment. The right solution is electing people of integrity. Left to themselves the political parties cannot do it because the campaign involves a hefty sum and they must recover it. No service minded person would like to spend such a huge sum. In my view the solution is people's involvement. People themselves should nominate their candidate. When people nominate the candidate would not have to spend a penny. The people would look for person of integrity. Most probably the election may be unanimous. The political find no alternative but to offer their party ticket to the person of people's choice. People like Anna Hazare should decide on two worthwhile parties to choose from.

from:  Narasimha Rao Jakkamsetty
Posted on: Oct 20, 2011 at 10:02 IST

But the congress party may not like such statements.

from:  ssprasad
Posted on: Oct 20, 2011 at 09:17 IST

Mr. Prime minister has not a single word to say about the planned attacks on the RTIs and honest people like Kejriwal. Who doesn't think that these attacks are motivated by few congress members? The more congress or BJP acts childish more they will be discarded and now more people want to hear Kejriwal cause there is some truth he is telling which is scaring the goons. This is a great democracy where one can be a prime minister without a single vote from the people of the country. Next is Rahul who wants to be the PM not sure if he has a level for an assistant clerk. but this democracy needs only 15% votes or even none to be the PM. If Rahul loose the election he still can be PM - Cash for Vote. What a Parampara??

from:  pankaj
Posted on: Oct 20, 2011 at 07:44 IST

Mr.PM, where is black money,which you promised in 2009 elections to bring in to a/c into the country. Why is UPA deliberately hiding the black money a/c holders name under the pre-text of DTTA. People feel UPA including yourself is cheating the country. You don't own responsibility for your performance and so the entire UPA ministry is sweeping the country with high level of corruption.

from:  prasas
Posted on: Oct 20, 2011 at 06:52 IST

When Anna Hazare started for anti corruption movement Man Mohan Singh kept tight lipped for a considerable time and it was he who advised Chidambaram to arrest Anna. He is a double standard person.People of India speaks very nasty of his activities and attitude.He deserved to be condemned and must be given a good rebuff.

from:  Chanchal Dutta
Posted on: Oct 20, 2011 at 06:06 IST

I find the entire interview of Dr. Manmohan Singh is very eloquent. Thanks for making it the headline news of 'The HINDU'.

from:  Col Gurnam Singh
Posted on: Oct 20, 2011 at 03:06 IST

it is impossible for political parties in Parliament to create an effective Lok Pal Bill to tackle corruption. Parliament and Legislative Assemblies have the greatest density of corruption per sq. metre, and you expect them to sign their own death warrant ?

from:  DMJ
Posted on: Oct 20, 2011 at 02:50 IST
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