The UPA government is set to drop a clause on mandatory setting up of lokayuktas through the Lokpal Bill, bowing to demands put forth by its allies — Trinamool Congress and Nationalist Congress Party — as well as opposition parties such as the BJP.
The Union Cabinet on Thursday is likely to take up amendments to the bill, which is currently stuck in Rajya Sabha — where the government lacks majority. The amendment will make it optional for states to set up lokayuktas on the lines of the anti-graft watchdog at the Centre.
The proposal is likely to be finalised at a meeting attended by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, home minister P Chidambaram, HRD minister Kapil Sibal and law minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday. The ministerial group will send its recommendations to the Prime Minister for his final approval.
In the all-party meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on March 20, the government had assured the opposition of considering their demands, including dropping the clause for mandatory constitution of lokayuktas in each state. “We have come to a stage where views of various political parties have been heard. Now the government will take a decision on how to pass this bill with the consensus of all the political parties,” minister of state in Prime Minister’s office V Narayanasamy said after the all-party meeting.
The bill, in its amended form, may be taken up by Rajya Sabha when Parliament meets in the second half of the budget session from April 23.