NAC member regrets hurdles, betrayals for food security bill

The way the food security bill faced `hurdles and betrayals` can also be termed as an instance of corruption, NAC member Aruna Roy said and felt that it would have had a smoother journey if had it been a pro-rich legislation.

Updated: Apr 29, 2011, 23:30 PM IST

New Delhi: The way the food security bill
faced "hurdles and betrayals" can also be termed as an
instance of corruption, National Advisory Council member Aruna
Roy said on Friday and felt that it would have had a smoother
journey if had it been a "pro-rich legislation".

Addressing a public convention against corruption here,
the noted social activist also favoured a strong Lokpal Bill
and said a "reasoned debate with open mind" is needed for it.

"I feel the way the food security bill faced hurdles and
betrayals, it can also be called an instance of corruption.
Pro-rich legislations and schemes have a smoother journey."

Roy said discussions have began on Lokpal Bill and she
hopes for an effective law that will be able to fight "big
crimes and big scams". But she cautioned that it should not
"collapse under its own weight" and everyone should be ready
to hear "different view points".

Roy said the way Lokpal drafting panel members Prashant
and Shanti Bhushan were being attacked was "wrong". She also
said it does not bother her much that there are "many voices"
within the civil society as it is a country of over a billion.

Addressing the meet organised by Coalition of Democratic
Movement, a number of activists backed Prashant Bhushan.

Bhushan said in last six months, the "corporate mafia" in
the country faced reverses. "They are today in terror of what
is going on and doing everything to strike back."

He said the present Lokpal Bill is "certainly not
perfect" and will have to be improved in the next few months
by public consultation. Bhsuan also said Lokpal is "essential
but not sufficient measure" against corruption.

"Policies like unchecked transfer of natural resources to
private hands has created a corporate mafia and a huge
incentive for corruption which will have to be tackled."

Writer-activist Arundhati Roy said that there is need for
a strong Lokpal but it should not turn into a "unaccountable
undemocratic institution".

She said during Anna Hazare`s recent movement, corruption
was only projected as a "moral issue and not a political one"
and that the Gandhian leader, by lauding Narendra Modi`s
development model, raised a question whether the choice is
between "incorruptible fascists and corrupt democracts".

"Will RTI or Lokpal help gather information about how
governments transferred mineral resources to private
corporations for a pittance," she asked.

Roy also said Bhushan represented mass movements for long
and that he was facing a "vicious smear campaign" is proof of
the threat he poses to some people.

JNU professor Kamal Mitra Chenoy, senior advocate Colin
Gonsalves, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Chitraroopa Palit and
lawyer SH Iyer were among other speakers.