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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid