`Transparent electoral financing will solve 90% of graft`

Ninety percent of the country`s problems related to graft would be solved by addressing the issue of financing of elections, Salman Khurshid said.

New Delhi: Ninety per cent of the country`s problems related to graft would be solved by addressing the issue of financing of elections, Union Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday said.

The Law Minister was speaking at the Global Summit organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry here.

Khurshid said that there were many fundamental issues which needed to be addressed and "anybody who believes that he can do away with corruption in the country without having a transparent system of elections was mistaken."

"If we can solve the issue of financing elections in the country. If we make elections transparent in this country we will solve ninety per cent of the problems. That is the main issue," he said.

"But, while we are working on that we need at least to control or at least reverse the cycle of corruption," Khurshid said, and added that the Government led by Manmohan Singh was committed to this end.

He said that "corruptionists" were trying to create a negative sentiment in the country. He added that like communalists, the corruptionists too would fail.

"All attempts were made in this country to turn us from being secular-liberal society into a negative society but it was our people who said that, no, we will not allow it to happen," said Khurshid.

"Whatever the communalists have not succeeded in doing in this country .... I hope the corruptionists will also not succeed in doing. To not turn this country into a country that distrusts itself," he said.

"There is a lot of problem and that lot of problem needs to be addressed. We do need a citizen charter, we need a public procurement act, we need a bribery act in this country, we do need a Lokpal in this country," Khurshid said.

"We need everything, but obviously, we have to pass it in Parliament. It can`t be done here, you can pass a resolution here, not an act of law," he added.

Khurshid said that in a free society these changes would
naturally happen but added that unlike a non free society, more people could indulge in corruption in a free society.

"Corruption in a non free society is limited to a few. It is tragedy of freedom it allows corruption to be free as well. Many people can participate in corruption," Khurshid said.

"I think the very fact this is happening and happening on the scale on which we are being accused of is because the economy is expanding and growing," he added.

Khurshid said that these issues will have to be addressed. The Law minister said that in a country of India`s diversity, one issue alone do not decide the outcome of elections.

"We gave economic reforms to the country without making them an electoral issue. Most changes take place in a democracy, through an election process. Conservatives to radicals, radicals to conservatives, labour to conservatives," he said.

"India is the only country where the electoral process is so complex that you just can`t have a single issue, unless there is a major tragedy which affects the entire country. Otherwise there are so many factors in a complicated elections in the country," he added.

"On a single issue you can`t get a mandate in the country. So we never made economic reforms a national issue. We never made international affairs an economic issue," he further said.

Khurshid said that while different political parties shared stances on many issues, they at times behaved differently based on whether they were in power or in opposition.

"Congress and BJP, two parties which have dominated the politics in last twenty years have many shared positions. Tragedy is the shared position is only when which one of us is in power," he said.

He stressed that on some issues there had to be consensus in the country.
Khurshid said that whenever economic crises came whether from the east or the west, India was least affected because of very strong economic fundamentals and wise policies.

Khurshid said that the government was committed to bringing transparency and said that the Whistle Blowers`s Bill would be introduced in the Parliament as soon as the Parliament functions.


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