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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs