Yes Madam Speaker.. have the AYES finally given the nation something?
The whole scene looked comical while Meira Kumar went on and on.
Neverthless, after years and years (42 long years) of deliberation, finally a version of the Lokpal bill has seen light and I would like to believe that it is an achievement for the nation.
While many still berate Anna Hazare, let me continue to think that he played a major role. He created the situation and the whole nation was to forced join the discussion. While many supported him, many others were forced to look into Lokpal, if it was only to disagree. The mass support that Anna managed to get did make every political party, including the ruling party, nervous. The nation was forced to think deeply about the corruption that existed in our nation; not just within the politicians or the bureaucracy but within each one of us.
The current bill may be weak but it is here finally and well meaning governments can bring in appropriate amendments to strengthen it, in the future.
Our PM said the following:
"We have, therefore, proposed a process of appointment of the CBI Director which involves the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India or his nominee and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. None should have doubts about the integrity of this process. As far as the issue of CBI functioning under the Lokpal is concerned, my government believes that this would create an executive structure outside Parliament which is accountable to none. This is anathema to sound constitutional principles," the prime minister said.
Yes dear Prime Minister. .the nation trusted you the most when the present UPA was elected to power but why did one see the worst corruption happen under it.
Were you never in charge of the government?
And do you know the ways your esteemed ministers have come up with, to fight corruption? By blocking social networks so that no news of further corruption shall reach the masses. Is this the only result of discussions with our neighbouring countries where similar restrictions already exist?
You also said the following:
All systems of governance must be based on trust. It is the people's trust that we in Government reflect and protect. Rampant distrust of all authority imperils the foundations of democracy. Our polity with its enormous size and diversity can only be held together when we put our faith and trust in institutions that we have carefully built over the years," said Dr. Singh in his speech made inside the Lok Sabha today.
Yet, when CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) came up with the figures of corruption, it was your minister who undermined this 150 year old institution.
Kapil Sibal, the minister for telecommunication has stated that the CAG had presented an erroneous report on the 2G spectrum and that the total losses incurred by the treasury was only Rs.99,000 crores.It is the same way even CBI has been undermined over the years by the corrupt in your government.
"In the course of this debate, the bureaucracy has been at the receiving end. While I agree that public functionaries must be above board and that delinquents must be dealt with expeditiously and decisively, I must express my deep appreciation for many a public servant who have shown exemplary integrity in discharging their functions in an environment of distrust. I don't think all public functionaries need to be painted with the same brush just as all politicians should not be presumed to be corrupt," said Dr. SinghNo dear Prime Minister, we do not think that this nation is devoid of individuals with integrity and honesty. In fact, it was the collective conscience of the nation that made you the Prime Minister. (They trusted in your honesty) But unfortunately, those with integrity and honesty are being ridiculed and many lost faith even in you.
Anyway, I managed to get an idea of the the Lokpal that has been passed, from newstrackindia.com and it is as follows:
Amid all oppositions, let’s have a look at some of the silent features of the Cabinet-approved Lokpal Bill for the creation of an anti-graft ombudsman with Constitutional status.Let us all hope that something good shall come out of this...
•Citing Lokpal and Lokayukta as autonomous and independent bodies of investigation and prosecution, the Bill has underlined a uniform vigilance and anti-corruption road map for both Centre and States.
•Lokpal will consist of a Chairperson and a maximum of eight Members of which fifty percent shall be judicial Members. At the same time, fifty per cent of members will be from amongst SC, ST, OBCs, Minorities and Women.
•All members including the Chairperson shall be selected by a Selection Committee that consists of Prime Minister, Speaker of Loksabha, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court Judge nominated by CJI and eminent jurist to be nominated by the President of India.
•Prime Minister to be brought under the purview of the Lokpal with subject matter exclusions and specific process for handling complaints against the Prime Minister. Lokpal cannot hold any inquiry against the Prime Minister in allegations relate to: international relations, external and internal security of the country, public order, atomic energy and space.
•Besides, any decision of Lokpal to initiate preliminary inquiry or investigation against the Prime Minister shall be taken only by the Full Bench with a majority of 3/4th. Such proceedings shall be held in camera.
•Lokpal to investigate corruption cases against all categories of public servants including Group ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ & ‘D’ officers and employees of Government. On complaints referred to CVC by Lokpal, CVC will send its report of PE in respect of Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ officers back to Lokpal for further decision. With respect to Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ employees, CVC will proceed further in exercise of its own powers under the CVC Act subject to reporting and review by Lokpal.
•All entities receiving donations from foreign source in the context of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in excess of Rs. 10 lakhs per year are brought under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.
•Lokpal will not be able to initiate inquiry suo moto.
•No prior sanction shall be required for launching prosecution in cases enquired by Lokpal or initiated on the direction and with the approval of Lokpal.
•A high powered Committee chaired by the Prime Minister with leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and Chief Justice of India as members, will recommend selection of the Director, CBI.
•Provisions for confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while prosecution is pending.
•Lokpal to be final appellate authority on all decisions by public authorities relating to provision of public services and redressal of grievances containing findings of corruption.
•Lokpal to have power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them.
In addition, the Bill has set timelines for both investigation and prosecution of cases. It has also proposed to enhance punishment under Prevention of Corruption Act. Maximum punishment is set from 7 years to 10 years and minimum is shaped from 6 months to 2 years.
While preliminary enquiry is outlined to be completed in three months which is extendable by three months, investigation is set for six months (extendable by six months) and for trial the proposed time period is planned for one year which is also extendable by one year.