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Updated: August 21, 2011 12:33 IST

Manmohan: scope for give-and-take on Lokpal Bill

B. Muralidhar Reddy
Comment (15)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presides over the full Planning Commission meeting in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
The Hindu Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presides over the full Planning Commission meeting in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Amid growing clamour for a robust Lokpal institution by a broad political spectrum and vocal demonstration of street power by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said there was a ‘lot of scope for give-and-take' on the draft Bill presented by the government in the Lok Sabha. It had since been referred to the Standing Committee.

In a brief question-answer session with the media after presiding over the full Planning Commission meeting at his official residence here, Dr. Singh said the government was ready to enlist the cooperation of all thinking segments of public opinion to put in place ‘a strong and effective' Lokpal to deal with corruption.

His comments came on the fifth day of fast by Mr. Hazare, who has set a deadline of August 30 to Parliament to get his version of the Lokpal Bill passed. Dr. Singh's statement acquires significance with the announcement by nine non-NDA parties and the NDA for separate all-India protests on August 23 and 25 against corruption.

The Prime Minister parried a question on the August 30 ultimatum by Mr. Hazare, saying the Bill was now the property of Parliament. His stand was that the government was open to inputs from all sections within and outside the ambit of Parliament.

Dr. Singh said the effort was to forge a consensus to ensure that “the end product is a strong and effective Lokpal, which all sections of our community want.”

Conceding that there are difficulties in reconciling different viewpoints, he maintained that there was a logic of the legislative process.

“And I would not like to say anything that would controvert anything that has been said by anyone else. But I hope that people will appreciate that there is a dynamic of the legislative process which takes time, sometimes, to get over.”

The substance of Dr. Singh's comments was not much different from his address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day .

Unlike what he said on Monday, he articulated the government position on Saturday in a nuanced fashion. Neither did he revisit his exhortation to those who disagreed with the proposed legislation not to resort to hunger strikes and fast-unto-death nor did he repeat the charge of forces within and outside the country working to destabilise the country.

Separately, Abhishek Singhvi, Congress MP who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice tasked to examine the Lokpal Bill, said: “No time limit can be accurately specified” for giving the report except that the reference to the panel initially was for three months.

Team Anna's demand

He declined to be dragged into the demands by Team Anna saying: “I do not wish to comment on the views of others. All I can say is that this multi-party committee resembling a mini-Parliament will assiduously look into every aspect with a completely open mind.”

Suggestions invited

The committee, through advertisements in the media, has already invited suggestions from any quarter in writing and extended invitation to depose before it with any material with a guarantee that it would be treated as confidential.

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What give and take? We are not auctioning the Lokpal articles here. What will you give ? That growth of corruption will not be more than inflation. Or will you bring a bill for 'extortion security bill' with provision for some ceiling on every ministry. Or you will not allow Jan Lokpal for free. Give me cash take away Vote in favor of bill. You must have mastered vote for cash by now. I have just a small request, Please

from:  SatJeev
Posted on: Aug 22, 2011 at 02:05 IST

S Radhakrishnan comments are 100% right. I am agreeing with him. Govt should take the correct steps now.

from:  Venkat Reddy
Posted on: Aug 21, 2011 at 20:16 IST

If there was a desire for Consensus, it should have started during deliberations with Civil society activist while disxcussing the bill. As rightly said by Arun Jaitley, Govt started to placate the civil society members by including them in discussions, but then brushed off all their ideas. What an effort at consensus! Discussions should have been televised so people could know what specific objections the Govt had to the ideas presented by Anna & co.
Dr Abhishek Singvi now says the standing committee has been given 3 months, but still there is no time limit. However, the comments from the public are "time bound" and only 15 days are given to a nation of billions, as if people, like ordinary minions do not need the time to review the draft and give views or do not have intelligence to grasp things and will just give heresay remarks. A real mockery of democracy. People who are supposedly supreme are now relegated to be pitiable small players just to be suffered and ignored.

from:  Satindra Nath
Posted on: Aug 21, 2011 at 18:35 IST

Anna Hazare's protest challenges all Indians' patriotism. Among one billion Indians, is Anna Hazare the only man risking his all for national good? Is the well orchestrated gamble of life and death the only way to affect change? What does this say about us all - pride, courage, strength? How high is the Indians' threshold for tolerance? Who will fight for a stronger defense against terrorism? Will that require another Anna Hazare to risk his life?
Will the politicians only act when a gun is put to their money minting political careers? Perhaps wave after wave, patriotic teams of all citizens of all parties should rally around their cause and force the politicians to act on issues like corruption today, defense tomorrow, education next, health after that...May be, mass demonstrations and massive hunger strikes are the pattern that Indians must embrace to put the giant nation on a path to realizing its full potential.

from:  Rajeev rawat
Posted on: Aug 21, 2011 at 17:42 IST

Mr. Prime minister, this is not a grocery market, and what people of India asking for is not a negotiable commodity. Its 'justice' -one of the fundamental rights. Dont take it in such a way that you can suppress this by simply ignoring a Hazare. Its not Hazare, its the peoples unity in this issue which is leading this movement. Hazare just kicked it off. We have read your statement that "Hazare is allowed to protest subjected to APPROPRIATE CONDITIONS". Its time for you(/your ministry - probably you understand it well) understand that you were also given the power to rule us subjected to a lot of APPROPRIATE CONDITIONS. At this point its the people's APPROPRIATENESS to fight against corruption.

from:  Robin John
Posted on: Aug 21, 2011 at 17:18 IST

People's frustration against corruption in our country has reached a tipping point. There is absolutely nothing related to the government that can be done without bribing someone. Everyone in India suffers because of it. Anna's movement has just pushed everyone over the tipping point.

from:  Saurabh
Posted on: Aug 21, 2011 at 15:53 IST

I do not understand what is the bargain our PM is looking at. There is one thing should the corruption be removed or not ?. Government should make up its mind fast. Otherwise they will have to pay price in the next Elections.

from:  Amarnath
Posted on: Aug 21, 2011 at 13:29 IST

Mr. PM this is what you symbolise now. "Give and take" in the most important area of corruption and black money. You were too selfish to care for Nation's interest and lacked the guts to stop the massive corruption happening right under your nose. Lack the courage to punish the scamsters and expose the black money. Why should the people trust you and this UPA govt. Can you please honourably step down since you don't have any more dignity left ...

from:  moh
Posted on: Aug 21, 2011 at 12:50 IST

I don't really understand that why it has become such a big issue. It is not that we don't have any laws at present and still we can see the magnitude of corruption. Now if we add this bill to these laws, it won't scale the corruption significantly. Moreover bills are not made with deadlines, these are made by logic and mutual consensus. Also if we are too serious to weed out corruption we must better start from ground 1.

from:  Ravi chhabra
Posted on: Aug 21, 2011 at 12:17 IST

Corruption became part of life.Without paying money we won 't get anything from concerned person.Of course there are some good people.Probably not probably but certainly we can say that because of these good people our country moving safely.I don't know how lokpal bill government version and anna hazare version will prevent corruption.but certainly i feel myself to be optimistic regarding Anna hazare's version of lokpall bill.

from:  Renu chandy
Posted on: Aug 21, 2011 at 11:53 IST

Why there is such a discussion going in the minds of our Prime Minister. It is for the sake of the common people and the nation that such a bill should be passed as soon as possible.This bill will help the government in filling up the loopholes in the system. Anna has taken up the stand and we the young generation of India are with him because it is the future of our country which has to be brighten up.So we wish that the government should look into the matter and take concrete steps to curb the corruption in our country. Long live Anna and Jan Lokpal bill. Jai Hind

from:  Sumeet Bhardwaj
Posted on: Aug 21, 2011 at 11:26 IST

It has become the practice of the government to first totally deny, then make some statement and finally make the compromise and in the actual process nothing is done. Such is the case against corruption and more so with the Loakpal Bill. I am afraid the Government is neither serious nor sincere to have the bill passed and put the law into motion. History tells that in the independent India none of the corrupt politicians has ever been punished. People's anger cannot be suppressed for ever and the Government has to bow. We wish the Government at least now take concrete steps to combat corruption. Administrative corruption is tolerable but not the political corruption.

from:  S Radhakrishnan
Posted on: Aug 21, 2011 at 10:19 IST

Curruption cannot be stopped or even curtailed by any constitutional measure unless seeking out of turn favour by alluring officials is stopped by the favour seekers themselves. Can Anna Hazare or his team spell out any proposal for this? Let those political parties who are supporting Anna Hazare first look into their own house? Theirs is only a lip service to keep public attention on Anna Hazare's so called mass movement after independence movement and divert the attention of the people from the envolvement their own people in curruption cases which are stated to be manifold higher in proportion than the 2G scam.

from:  S A Ayub
Posted on: Aug 21, 2011 at 00:13 IST

The government has now finally woke up from the dreamland of being powerful to people are powerful. The people were silently seeing the corrupt practices done by the government from Mr.S.Kalmadi to Mr.A.Raja and others causing crores of loss to the nation. The people also saw the protectionist approach provided by the government to these people. It is written on the Wall "People are angry and frustrated with this corrupt government" . People want answers for their money has been misutilised and siphoned off by this government and its people. People now know that PM Manmohan singh is a silent supporter of all these corruption that is taking place in his government. He should first resign taking moral responsibility for all the mess created by his government as he heading the most corrupt regime country has seen. All the people indicted be tried in Supreme court monitored anti-corruption courts. The Country is waiting for PM to take action. Will he do so?

from:  Amit
Posted on: Aug 20, 2011 at 23:52 IST

It seems that finally the government has now waken after long sleep of ignorance.This could have been done earlier without creating so much fuss.Lets hope for something best from this government which has already so many ministers who are already corrupt.

from:  Naveen
Posted on: Aug 20, 2011 at 23:52 IST
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