Pranab calls first GoM on corruption
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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.


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

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