Guj govt appoints panel to amend Lokayukta Act



Gandhinagar: Gujarat government on Wednesday announced the setting up of a five-member ministerial group to suggest amendments in the existing state Lokayukta Act to bring it on par with the official Lokpal Bill pending before a Parliamentary Committee.

The decision to appoint a ministerial group was taken at the cabinet meeting presided by Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the backdrop of the BJP government drawing flak for not appointing a Lokayukta in Gujarat for the last seven years.

"The high-level group has been formed with an aim to strengthen the democratic institution of Lokayukta in the state," Gujarat government spokesperson and Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas said.

"The group will suggest changes on the basis of the provisions of Lokpal Bill if it is agreed upon by the government of India and Team Anna Hazare and if passed by Parliament," said Vyas.

The panel will be headed by Finance Minister Vaju Vala and besides Vyas will have Law Minister Dilip Sanghani, Minister of state for Law Pradipsinh Jadeja and Minister of State for Planning Ranjit Gilitwala as its members.

"The group will suggest amendments in the existing Gujarat Lokayukta Act to make it consistent with the bill that will be passed by Parliament," he said.

Formation of the panel is testimonial of Gujarat government's commitment to a transparent and welfare-oriented administration, added Vyas.

Vyas, however, agreed the group will have no work till Parliament passes the bill.

"But, we hope that due to anti-corruption agitation of Hazare, it will be done at the earliest. So, we have formed the ministerial group in anticipation," he said.

Opposition Congress, however, termed the announcement as another attempt by Modi government to stall the appointment of the corruption watchdog.

"This is an attempt of Modi government to stall the appointment of Lokayukta. But he will not succeed in the attempt and will have to face inquiry into charges of corruption," state Congress president Arjun Modhvadia said.

The state government had last week appointed M B Shah Commission to probe into Congress's allegations of corruption against Modi government.

Meanwhile, BJP organised prayers after reports of deteriorating health condition of Anna Hazare, who is on fast at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi.

"MAHA ARTI has been organised in villages of Gujarat for Anna's good health and long life by Gujarat BJP. Join Gujarat when it prays for Anna's health (sic)," tweets Modi.

PTI