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Differences persist over Lokpal Bill

Differences persisted between the government and civil society activists over the Lokpal Bill with the group of social workers today pressing for a joint committee to draft the anti-corruption legislation.



New Delhi: Differences persisted between the
government and civil society activists over the Lokpal Bill
with the group of social workers today pressing for a joint
committee to draft the anti-corruption legislation.

The sub-committee on Lokpal Bill, part of the larger Group
of Ministers (GoM) set up find ways to tackle corruption, met
social activist Swamy Agnivesh and others to discuss the bill.

Headed by Defence Minister AK Antony, other members of
the sub-committee include HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, Law
Minister M Veerappa Moily and Minister of State for Personnel
V Narayanasamy.

During the meeting, activists noted that the Lokpal Bill
has been introduced many times in Parliament but could never
be passed.

"Therefore, there is an urgent need to form a Joint
Committee consisting of equal number of representatives from
the civil society and the government to discuss the bill," a
statement by India Against Corruption said here.

According to the statement, the sub-committee said it had
no powers to take a decision on the formation of a joint
committee.

But a member of the sub-committee said more meetings with
the social activists will continue. "It was only the first
meeting aimed at sharing views," he said.

Social activist Anna Hazare, who was invited for the
meeting, had refused to meet the panel.

In a letter to Narayanasamy, Hazare had said the
"sub-committee of ministers will submit its report to the
Group of Ministers, which will finally decide what kind of
Lokpal Bill should be enacted. We had objected to this process
in our meeting with the Prime Minister also..."

Instead, the social activist suggested that a "joint
committee" with half of the members from the civil society
should discuss clause-wise objections of the government to the
`Jan Lokpal Bill` submitted by him to Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh recently.

The GoM, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, had
decided to set up the sub-group to take on board suggestions
of the civil society before finalising the Lokpal
(anti-corruption body) Bill.

PTI

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