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Thursday, 3 November 2011

Can Uttarakhand’s Lokpal Lead the Way?

Orissa based sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik creates a sand sculpture of
Hindu elephant God, Lord Ganesh and anti-corruption campaigner
 Anna Hazare in Bangalore prior to Hindu festival Ganesh Chaturthi

India’s northern hill state of Uttarakhand earlier this week became the first in the nation to establish a strong anti-graft watchdog similar to the Jan Lokpal, or people’s ombudsman, that is being pushed at the national level by Gandhian activist Anna Hazare and his team.

The anti-corruption law known as the “Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill”  was passed in the state assembly Monday and includes in its purview the chief minister and other ministers, legislators, and all government officials. It also covers the lower judiciary in the state but exempts high court judges.

The small hill state that was once a part of Uttar Pradesh is governed by India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. Passage of the law may give the BJP some advantage against the ruling Congress party in New Delhi when Parliament convenes for the winter session later this month by allowing the BJP to claim it has been actively implementing Hazare’s proposals and is serious about introducing anti-corruption measures.


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