News / Asia

Anti-Corruption Measure Stalls in India

Activists of the communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation (CPIML) shout anti-government slogans during a protest in New Delhi, December 29, 2011.
Activists of the communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation (CPIML) shout anti-government slogans during a protest in New Delhi, December 29, 2011.

In India, the fate of an anti-corruption bill is in limbo after the upper house of parliament failed to pass the measure. The opposition is accusing the government of scuttling the legislation, which was the culmination of months of political debate and public protest in the country.

A day after the upper house of parliament adjourned without holding a widely-awaited vote on the anti-corruption bill, the government faced intense criticism.  

The measure, which has been passed by the lower house, seeks to create an independent ombudsman to probe corruption among politicians and bureaucrats.

But after 13 hours of acrimonious debate Thursday, the government abruptly announced at midnight that time had run out and the parliamentary session could not be extended.

Opposition parties say the government deliberately avoided a vote because it faced the likelihood of a defeat as its own allies had refused to support the so-called "Lokpal" bill.  

“This was a choreographed action since yesterday…..this government, it has conspired in a manner so as to avoid a vote," said Arun Jaitley, head of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. "It has no right to govern this country even for a day. This government has lost its political authority, it has lost its moral authority.”

Key allies from regional parties had also opposed sections of the bill allowing the central government to create an anti-corruption ombudsman in the states. The opposition BJP has called the measure weak and ineffective because the ombudsman does not have independent powers of investigation.  

The government is defending putting off the vote, saying that it needs time to study the nearly 200 amendments brought by members of the upper house or Rajya Sabha.  Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal says the proposed legislation will not be forgotten.

“The bill will remain pending on the register of Rajya Sabha, and the next time we can consider and pass the Bill,” said Bansal.

Political commentator and constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap supports the view that the government shied away from a vote to avoid embarrassment. He says the fate of the anti-corruption bill is uncertain, and it could face more delays.

“It has been put on the political backburner. It was a question of political will on the part of the government and part of political parties," said Kashyap. "If they wanted to pass Lokpal Bill, they could have passed it.”

Meanwhile, anti corruption activist, Anna Hazare, whose year-long mass campaign galvanized the government into drafting the bill, will meet with his supporters next week to decide how to carry forward his movement. They want the bill redrafted to make it stronger.  

Hazare cut short his latest hunger strike held this week to pressure parliament due to poor health. But his protest had also drawn far fewer crowds than his previous campaigns, leading commentators to say that his movement has run out of steam.

Political commentator Kashyap says the failure to pass the anti-graft Bill could reinvigorate the movement.      

“The stand taken by the government that might give a fresh fillip (stimulus) to the movement, it may awaken the cause, it may instill new life,” he said.

The failure to pass the anti-graft legislation is another blow to the ruling Congress Party.  The government also faced an embarrassment earlier this month when it had to withdraw its decision to allow foreign retailers into India due to widespread political opposition.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More