Announcing that the institution of Lokayukta would be made “more strong and effective” in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said he would take “all-possible effective” measures to root out corruption in Bihar at all level with people’s help.

“Corruption has emerged as a major burning issue before the country.... the institution of Lokayukta is being made more strong and effective... I will take all-possible effective to root out corruption like illness in Bihar at all level with people’s help”, Mr. Kumar said.

Unfurling the national tricolour on the occasion of 65th Independence Day, he said he had waged a war against corruption and toned up the administration.

Mr. Kumar said as the country was debating the issue of corruption, his government had decided to make the institution of Lokayukta “more effective and strong.”

In a bid to root out corruption, Chief Minister said the State government decided that he and his cabinet colleagues should make public their assets.

“Apart from this, we also decided that the public servants from Class I to Class III will also follow the suit and the details will be placed on the government websites... they are required to declare their properties by February 28 every year,” he said.

Mr. Kumar said the State government had already enacted a legislation which provides for confiscation of properties of corrupt public servants.

“The State government has also set up six special courts for ensure expeditious disposal of such cases within a specified time-frame”, Mr. Kumar said.

“We are also paying due attention to corruption in panchayats and urban bodies and therefore, we have decided to appoint Lokprahari (Ombdsumen) for taking action against corruption there”, the Chief Minister said.

He said the Right to Service Act has also come into effect from today to weed out corruption in providing public utility services, such as mutation of land, passport, driving licence and other services.

“It will immensely help the people receive the public utility services with full transparency and within a limited time”, Mr. Kumar said.

In the event of a public servant failing to provide public utility services on time, he will not only invite punishment and fine but also charges of misconduct and disciplinary action maybe brought to dismiss him from service.

The Chief Minister also said the Right to Service Act had empowered the people to enjoy the benefit of it.

Stating that his government was relentlessly trying to ensure reform in education, health, road and energy sector, Mr. Kumar said his government was making sincere efforts to ensure that every child should go to school.

“Today, the number of boys and girls has registered significant increase and now the number of students away from schools has plummeted to 3.5 per cent as against 12 per cent in 2005”, he said adding effective steps had also been taken to ensure quality in education.

He also enumerated the achievements of his government in the fields of vaccination, health cards for children up to 14 years and described it as an ambitious scheme.

Highlighting the programmes being run by his government for the social uplift and welfare of dalits, mahadalits, backwards, extremely backwards. minorities, women and other sections of the society, Chief Minister said the State government had organised I-Day functions in every Mahadalit tola for protecting their self-respect and freedom.

Once again disputing the Centre’s claim of Bihar having 65 lakh Below Poverty Line (BPL) households, Mr. Kumar said the State government had evolved its own Food Security Scheme to cover rest of 80 lakh households to provide foodgrains to them at subsidised rate.

The “Chawal Utsav Pakhwara (Rice Festival Fornight)” was also being celebrated in Bihar, he said.

For ensuring better health and sanitation, Mr. Kumar called upon the people to construct toilets.

He also spoke about global warming and said every person should plant a tree for greenery.

The Chief Minister said the State government had set up a special agriculture cabinet and prepared a roadmap for agriculture to help boost production and income of farmers.