Kolkata: The government is open to a reasonable debate on Lokpal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday, adding that graft battle is the most important issue at the moment.
Speaking at the golden jubilee function of the Indian Institute of Management in Kolkata, the PM asserted that Lokpal Bill was before the Standing Committee of Parliament and people were free to give their inputs as far as the bill was concerned.
In a clear message to the civil society, Manmohan Singh said, "We have made it clear that all concerned individuals should convey their concern on different aspects of the bill
to their representatives in Parliament and to the standing Committee." "The Standing Committee has the
power to propose any amendment", he added.
Nonetheless, he warned that though the “creation of Lokpal as an institution will no doubt help but it will not solve all the problems.” He said that judicial reforms and reforms in the funding of elections was the need of the hour, together with re-structuring of the government system. Also, the decision making process needed to be more transparent, he further added.
He also promised to come up with systematic ways to tackle corruption and said, “Corruption surfaces in many forms and creates trust deficit, while promoting inefficiency.”
"The `aam aadmi` faces corruption when he has to pay a bribe to facilitate ordinary transactions with the
government", the Prime Minister said.
"There is also corruption on a larger scale. Large government contracts can breed corruption when government
procedures are inadequate", the PM added.
While admitting that strong procedures were needed to eliminate corruption, Manmohan Singh said that the government was serious to remove it.
The PM reiterated what he had said on the Independence Day, “there is no magic wand and no simple solution to tackle corruption.” But, he lamented, “The complexity of the task is not adequately appreciated.”
Manmohan Singh stoutly defended the economic reforms
process. "It is a mistake to see corruption as a consequence
of economic liberalisation and reforms, he said, adding "many
of the areas which have actually seen systematic reforms have
also seen disappearance of corruption," he said citing
examples of industrial licensing, import licensing and
rationing of foreign exchange.
Meanwhile, Congress supported Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh`s statements for a ‘reasoned debate’
on the Lokpal.
"Congress supports the views expressed by Prime Minister
at the meeting of the Planning Commission here on Saturday and
at the function at the IIM Kolkata today on the issue of
Lokpal," AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said.
On Saturday, the Prime Minister had said there was a
"lot of scope for give and take" on the Lokpal Bill and the
government was open to "discussion and dialogue" on the issue.
Answering questions from the media at the conclusion of
the full meeting of the Planning Commission in Delhi, the Prime
Minister had said, "We are open to discussion and dialogue.
We like a broad national consensus to emerge. We are all in
favour of a Lokpal, which is strong and which is effective."
With PTI inputs