News / Asia

India Passes Long Pending Anti-Corruption Legislation

FILE - People stand in front of the Indian parliament building on the opening day of the winter session in New Delhi, Nov. 22, 2012.
FILE - People stand in front of the Indian parliament building on the opening day of the winter session in New Delhi, Nov. 22, 2012.
Anjana Pasricha
India's parliament has passed a landmark anti-corruption bill, more than two years after a civil society movement demanded a tough law to fight graft. The government pushed through the legislation after suffering electoral defeats blamed partly on its failure to curb corruption.

The anti-corruption legislation, known as the Lokpal Bill, will create an independent ombudsman headed by a former judge to prosecute bureaucrats and politicians charged with graft.  It was passed by the lower house on Wednesday, a day after the Upper House approved the measure.
   
The ruling Congress Party's massive losses in recent local elections and the strong showing by a new party born on an anti-corruption platform prompted the government to fast track the legislation this week.

The main opposition party, also wanting credit for the Lokpal Bill, supported the legislation, ensuring its easy passage through parliament.
  
Law Minister Kapil Sibal called its passage a “historic moment.”

“I think all of us stood together on this very important occasion to give a message to the people of India and to tell civil society that we are listening to your concerns, we are sensitive to your concerns,” said Sibal.

A nationwide civil society movement two years ago had demanded the implementation of tougher laws following the revelation of massive scams in awarding government contracts and licenses.  The angry public demands prompted the government to draft a bill, but it failed to pass through parliament, and had been languishing since 2011.

That raised fears it would meet the fate of similar anti-corruption bills that had been introduced by successive governments since the 1960’s, but failed to make it through parliament. 

But the Lokpal bill is now set to become law after being signed by the president.

Anti-corruption campaigner, Anna Hazare, who led the nationwide movement for the law, welcomed its passage and broke a fast he began nine days ago to demand its enactment.
   
Hazare thanked parliamentarians saying it was a good step for the nation. He says it is the first time since independence that the country has an effective law to deal with corruption.

In an effort to show that the Congress party-led coalition is serious about tackling corruption, senior Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi said the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government has more laws in the pipeline to tackle the problem. 
 
“We need a comprehensive anti-corruption code in this country. The UPA has developed a powerful anti corruption framework consisting of eight new central laws to tackle corruption… I believe it is our responsibility to complete our unfinished work in our fight against corruption,” he said.

But the political party that was born from the anti-corruption movement denounced the measure as a “weak” law that would not be able to tackle graft effectively.

Manish Sisodia, a leader of the Aam Aadmi party, says local municipalities, police, government schools and hospitals, will not be covered by the Lokpal. He asks what will we do with such a Lokpal.
   
A new report by the Washington-based advocacy organization Global Financial Integrity says illicit cash outflows from India have been increasing over the years, to about $344 billion in the decade that ended in 2011. It says India was the fifth largest exporter of such cash after China, Russia, Mexico and Malaysia.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mehtasaab from: Washington, DC
December 18, 2013 3:07 PM
Congratulation to all brave Indian. Now India needs another bill to bring back corrupted money from foreign banks where Congress party's members are hiding those number two money.


by: Mehtasaab from: Washington, DC
December 18, 2013 2:57 PM
This bill was pending because of corrupted congress party. Congress did not want to pass that bill because many congress party's member can get into trouble. I am glad BJP and AAP getting together to fight against corruption (India's enemy number one),

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid