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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid