Pledging multi-pronged action to fight corruption, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his Independence Day address on Monday backed a "strong lokpal" to check graft in high places but made it clear that there was "no single big step" that could eradicate the malaise.
Speaking from behind a bullet-proof screen from the rain-soaked ramparts of Red Front a day ahead of Anna Hazare's indefinite fast for a strong anti-corruption watchdog, Singh disapproved of the protest plan.
"Now only Parliament can decide… I also believe that they (those who don't agree with this bill) should not resort to hunger strikes and fasts-unto-death," he said, suggesting they forward views to Parliament, political parties and the media.
Singh extensively focussed on the steps - implemented as well as proposed - to fight graft and fix accountability.
In his eighth Independence Day address, the PM mentioned corruption 16 times and spent nearly a quarter of his 40-minute speech - his shortest - to discuss the challenge, which he called "a matter of deep concern for all of us" and a "big obstacle" to the country growing into a major economic power.
He, however, stressed that governments did not have a "magic wand" to deal with the challenge that needed to be tackled on many fronts.
"I believe that there is no single big step which we can take to eradicate corruption."
In the backdrop of 2G spectrum allocation scandal and questionable Commonwealth Games' contracts, Singh suggested an efficient justice delivery system that would deter officials from graft.
He also promised a public procurement legislation to regulate government contracts.