Terming the joining of hands of civil society and government on the Lokpal Bill issue as a step that augurs well for democracy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the government intends to introduce the “historic legislation” in the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
“I am happy that the government and representatives of civil society have reached an agreement in our mutual resolve to combat corruption. I am pleased that Anna Hazare has agreed to give up his fast,” he said in a statement here.
Describing corruption a a scourge that confronts all of us, the Prime Minister said, “The fact that the civil society and the government have joined hands to evolve a consensus to move this historic legislation augurs well for our democracy.”
He said the interaction between the government and the representatives of Mr. Hazare were productive.
“I hope that process to prepare this legislation will move forward in a constructive mode so that after consultation with a wide spectrum of stake holders, this legislation is placed before the Cabinet for introduction during the Monsoon Session,” the Prime Minister said.
Government had last night agreed to issue a formal order to set up a 10-member joint committee for drafting a strong Lokpal Bill.
The announcement of an agreement came from both sides after four days of Mr. Hazare’s fast-unto-death that evoked a nationwide support cutting across the society.
“Government has accepted all our demands and I will end my fast tomorrow at 10:30 A.M. This is a victory for the entire nation,” Mr. Hazare had said on Friday night.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will be the Chairman of the committee that will also include Law Minister Veerappa Moily, Telecom Minister Sibal, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Water Resources Minister Salman Khurshid as members.
Besides Mr. Hazare, those representing the civil society in the joint committee will be eminent lawyers Shanti Bhushan, Prasant Bhushan, retired Supreme Court Judge Santosh Hegde and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal. Shanti Bhushan will be the co-Chairman.