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Monday, 22 August 2011

No single solution to tackle problem of corruption: Manmohan

The Prime Minister said creation of Lokpal as an institution would not solve the problem and reiterated that there was no 'magic wand' to remove corruption.

With Team Anna stepping up the heat on the corruption issue, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said the government was open to reasoned debate on the Lokpal Bill but made it clear that there was no single solution to tackle the problem.

“We have introduced the bill in Parliament which is now before the standing committee. There are differences of views on details of the bill,” Dr. Singh said at the golden jubilee function of the Indian Institute of Management here.

“We have made it clear that all concerned individuals should convey their concern on different aspects of the bill to their representatives in Parliament and to the standing committee”, he said.

Dr. Singh said, “We are open to a reasoned debate on all these issues”.

Recalling his Independence Day address, Dr. Singh said, “I said (in my speech) that there is no magic wand that can solve the problem in one stroke. There is no single solution. We need to act on multiple fronts”.

He said that the creation of Lokpal as an institution would help but it would not solve the problem. “It needs to be supported by improvements in the pace and quality of judicial processes”.

He said that corruption has not disappeared from the system and it surfaces in many forms.

“The ‘aam aadmi’ faces corruption when he has to pay a bribe to facilitate ordinary transactions with the government”, the Prime Minister said.

“There is also corruption on a larger scale. Large government contracts can breed corruption when government procedures are inadequate”, he said.

He said that strong procedures were needed to eliminate corruption and the government was serious to remove it.

“It is a mistake to see corruption as a consequence of economic liberalisation and reforms, Dr. Singh said, adding “any area which has actually seen systematic reforms has seen disappearance of corruption.”

'Need to strengthen regulatory institutions'

The Prime Minister said many of the controversies that have arisen in the recent past were due to inadequacies of our regulatory institutions.

“We need to strengthen this regulatory framework, including strengthening their technical capacity”, he said.

The funding of elections and of political parties was another area calling for reforms to reduce the scope for generation of black money, he said.

Stressing the need to thoroughly revamp existing government procedures to reduce discretion and to make the basis of decision making as transparent as possible, the Prime minister said, “I have asked a group of Ministers to look into this issue and I am confident we will come up with systemic solution“.

He urged the IIM students to contribute as managers to the process by suggesting mechanisms that would increase transparency.

Pointing out that many countries have a law to govern government procurement, he said, “We propose to introduce legislation along these lines. The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law has recently modified its earlier model procurement law. We can benefit from this latest model law and internalise international best practices.

“I would urge state governments to do the same”, he said.

He said, “A comprehensive restructuring of government system and procedures along these lines is necessary if we want to clean up the system. Clean it up we must“.

Observing that economic reforms were aimed at unleashing India’s enormous entrepreneurial potential to accelerate the pace of economic development, Dr. Singh said, “Along with the techno-economic issues which we deal with in our planning process, we also need to change our system of governance to eliminate corruption. It will take time and effort but it can be done”


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