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Graft, governance & growth dominate ADB annual meeting

business Updated: May 04, 2011 22:41 IST
Mahua Venkatesh

Social activist Anna Hazare’s movement against corruption has left a mark not only in the Indian political and civil circles but also on the 44th annual general meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“It (corruption) should be adequately addressed so that people’s confidence in the system continues,” finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said while addressing delegates at the meeting here.

“Various aspects of government functioning should be accountable, transparent and corruption free,” he said.

Last year, India was rocked by five major scams, four of them in the last four months including the 2G spectrum allocation.

Procedural delays, red tape and arbitrary pricing of natural resources are often blamed as major hurdles in India’s growth.

Mukherjee, who is on a two-day visit to the Vietnamese capital, said the Indian governance system is fortified with strong checks and balances through institutions such as the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and government auditor Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

“It (these institutions) speaks of transparency and accountability of the system,” he said, adding that several ministers have been chargesheeted besides a former prime minister.

The Central Bureau of Investigation had filed a chargesheet against former prime minister Narasimha Rao in the JMM bribery case in 1997.

“This speaks volumes for the accountability and transparency of institutions,” he said.

Other Asian leaders, who were present at the summit, echoed Mukherjee’s views about the need to root out corruption.

“Corruption is a cancer and it is a big challenge for all governments,” said Li Young, the Chinese representative.

Mukherjee said financial inclusion and food security are other key issues for the development of the region.