Union Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday said the government is committed to bringing the Lokpal Bill in the winter session of Parliament and sought a clarification from Anna Hazare on the RSS claim that it was involved in the Gandhian’s anti-corruption agitation.
“We are committed to bring the Bill during the winter as per our understanding reached with Team Anna on three important aspects -- citizens’ charter, bringing lower bureaucracy under the ambit of the bill and appointment of Lokayuktas in states on the lines of Lokpal at the Centre,” the Union Law and Justice minister said at a ‘meet-the-press’ programme.
On RSS’ assertion about its participation in Mr. Hazare’s anti-graft agitation in Delhi in August, Mr. Khurshid said it was Team Anna’s turn to clarify on the claim made by the city-based Sangh fountainhead which has been dismissed by Mr. Hazare.
Mr. Khurshid pleaded ignorance about the reported circulation of a CD by Mr. Hazare supporters asking people to defeat Congress in Hissar bypoll.
Mr. Khurshid termed as “impractical” Hazare’s demand for arming citizens with the right to recall elected representatives.
The demand is “impractical” since elections are facing poor voter turnout and government machinery comes to a standstill once the code of conduct comes into force, he said.
The government is keen to bring a comprehensive bill to cover civil society groups receiving government funding and also private-public partnership ventures, he said.
He said the UPA government had enacted the Right to Information Act (RTI) to empower citizens, but courts have raised objections on certain aspects of the landmark law.
“Many judges complain to me about the demerits of RTI. We have brought it, but we were not aware that it will be used to attack us,” Mr. Khurshid said.
Mr. Khurshid said the government was initiating a number of measures in the coming few months on issues like electoral reforms and public procurement.
Bills on public procurement, accountability and transparency, citizens’ grievances, electoral reforms and giving more teeth to Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) are on the cards, he said.