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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

All sound & fury, but anti-graft bills hang fire for 2 yrs

Prasad Nichenametla, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 15, 2012
First Published: 00:38 IST(15/12/2012) | Last Updated: 08:48 IST(15/12/2012)

From last two years Parliament has witnessed disruptions, on a scale unprecedented in its 60-year history, over scams like 2G, CWG and other corruption allegations.

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While the Opposition has been demanding curb on corruption, government also reiterates its commitment to eliminate corruption but Parliament, where they sit together, so far failed to find common ground on laws dealing with the scourge.

Since August 2010, the government introduced 10 bills, with the purpose of eliminating corruption from public space, but not even a single law has been cleared by Parliament till now.

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Four of these bills including the Lokpal and Lok Ayuktas, whistle blowers protection and prevention of money laundering (amendment) bills are listed for passing in the ongoing winter session, but so far have not been taken up.

The prevention of bribery of foreign public officials and officials of public international organisations bill, 2011 is meant to prevent bribing from and to foreign entities to retain businesses in the country.

While the bill has been appearing in list of business -for consideration and passing - in the Lok Sabha this week, the Walmart lobbying issue at same time rocked both the Houses.

"Given the scale of disruptions, it is not surprising the bills are languishing from some time," a senior parliamentary affairs official said. Four bills - the Benami Transactions Prohibition Bill, Time Bound Delivery of Services and Grievances Redressal Bill, Electronic Delivery of Services Bill and National Identification Authority Bill - are awaiting reintroduction after vetting by the respective standing committees.

"We, the government and principal Opposition, are not on different paths on issue of corruption and need of anti-corruption bills. Sometimes, it happens the government takes time in bringing the bills. And when it does, proceedings are stalled with the smaller parties pushing their own agenda, as we have witnessed this week," Yashwant Sinha, senior BJP leader and former finance minister told HT.

The Public Procurement Bill, to regulate and ensure transparency in the government procurement processes is with the standing committee while Judicial Accountability Bill is pending in the Rajya Sabha.


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