Pranab calls first GoM on corruption

Last Updated: Saturday, January 22, 2011 - 00:28

New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee
has convened the first meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM)
on corruption later in the day on Friday, which among other things would
discuss steps to fast-track cases of corruption against public
servants.

The meeting of the GoM, according to sources, will be
attended by several senior ministers, including Home Minister
P Chidambaram, Defence Minister AK Antony, Railway Minister
Mamata Banerjee and Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal.

The GoM, sources said, will consider amendments to the
Article 311 of the Constitution to incorporate provision for
summary trial of cases involving grave misdemeanour and
blatant corruption by public servants.

The high-powered committee, they said, will suggest
legislative and administrative measures to deal with cases of
corruption and improve transparency in functioning of the
government.

The GoM on corruption, which was set up earlier in the
month, would discuss issues like scrapping of discretionary
powers of ministers, state funding of elections and
formulation of transparent public procurement policy.

The GoM has been asked to submit its recommendations
within 60 days.

The group will also look at the possibility of
formulating a transparent and competitive system for
exploitation of natural resources.

The seven-point terms of reference of the GoM are on the
lines of the five-point action plan outlined by Congress
president Sonia Gandhi at the AICC Plenary here last month to
fight corruption.

According to the terms of reference, the GoM will
"consider and advise" on "consideration of relevance/need for
Section 6(A) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act,
1946."

The Section 6(A) says that an inquiry against a
government employee of the level of Joint Secretary and above
shall not be conducted into any offence alleged to have been
committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act "except with
the previous approval of the Central government".

The other members of the GoM, which is headed by
Mukherjee, are Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Law and
Justice Minister M Veerappa Moily and Chemicals and Fertiliser
Minister MK Alagiri.

The government has been facing an onslaught from the
Opposition over a series of scams, including those involving
2G spectrum allocation, CWG and Adarsh Housing Society of
Mumbai.

The Opposition has been relentlessly pressing for
formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe these
scams but the government has resisted it.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, January 22, 2011 - 00:28

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