News / Asia

India Considers Anti-Corruption Bill Amid Calls for Tougher Law

Anti-corruption activists burn symbolic copies of the Lokpal Bill (anti-corruption bill) during a protest to denounce the proposal in its current form in Mumbai on August 4, 2011.
Anti-corruption activists burn symbolic copies of the Lokpal Bill (anti-corruption bill) during a protest to denounce the proposal in its current form in Mumbai on August 4, 2011.
Anjana Pasricha

The Indian government has introduced an anti-corruption bill in parliament to tackle graft following a raft of corruption scandals in the country. But civil society activists are criticizing the draft legislation and calling for a new nationwide campaign to press for a tougher law.

As the Congress-led government introduced the Lokpal or anti-corruption Bill in the lower house of parliament on Thursday, activists burnt copies of the draft legislation amid cheers and slogans.

Activist criticism

The activists, who have been campaigning for a strong anti-graft law, say the draft legislation is too weak to address what they call rampant corruption in the country.

Social worker Anna Hazare, whose hunger strike in April gave momentum to an anti corruption movement in the country, has warned of a new showdown with the government. He says he will start a hunger strike from August 16 to press for a tougher law. He has called people all over the country to join him.  

Hazare says if people lose this opportunity to remove corruption from public life, they will not get another chance.

The activists led by Hazare participated in the drafting of the Bill, but complain their views were not taken into account in the final version.

Government rejects demands

The government has rejected their demands that the ombudsman should have powers to investigate graft charges against the prime minister, the judiciary and lawmakers. However, federal ministers and senior bureaucrats, who are shielded under present laws, will be liable to investigation.  

But civil society campaigners want officials of all ranks to be brought under the authority of the new law. They say otherwise it will not root out the graft which affects the common man.

Arvind Kejriwal has been at the forefront of the anti corruption campaign. Kejriwal says the bill will not help in investigating corruption such as the disappearance of medicine from hospitals, missing food rations meant for poor people or corruption by village councils.        

It is not just civil society campaigners who are disappointed with the government’s effort to tackle corruption through the new law.

Objections in parliament

In parliament, the leader of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, Sushma Swaraj, raised objections to the Bill because the prime minister is excluded from its ambit.  

Swaraj asked how can any individual be treated as a “holy cow?” She says this is against the spirit of the constitution which treats all citizens as equals.

Corruption has become a top concern in India following allegations that billions of dollars were siphoned from the organization of Commonwealth Games staged last year, in an auction of telecommunications spectrum, and in illegal mining. Corruption charges have been leveled against officials from both the ruling Congress led alliance and the opposition BJP.    

The government says the introduction of the Lokpal Bill in parliament shows that it is serious about tackling corruption and ensuring accountability in public life.

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