Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the government had moved substantially forward to curb corruption during the last year but there was "still a long way to go" to ensure probity and accountability in public life.
Singh's remarks at the conference of top bureaucrats from across the country come against the backdrop of Team Anna's high-pitched campaign against the UPA government and the opposition slamming the UPA for the 2G spectrum scandal.
The prime minister recalled his emphasis on the need for a systemic response to reduce opportunities for corruption at last year's conference of chief secretaries.
"We have moved substantially forward in these areas in the last one year," Singh said, listing the draft laws that had been introduced in parliament including the Lokpal bill and the citizens' right to service bill.
"But we still have a long way to go in our efforts for ensuring transparency, accountability and probity in public life," he said, calling it "unfortunate" that the Lokpal bill wasn't passed in the last session.
Singh counted economic security and livelihood security among the five challenges facing the country but advised the bureaucracy to have the faith that the difficulties are not insurmountable.
"Indeed, we have faced uncertain times before. We have faced crises. We have faced difficult odds," he said, confident that governments at the Centre and the states "have the will and ability to achieve success if everyone works together".
Picking up from where the PM left off, V Narayanasamy, minister of state for personnel, said the Centre had implemented half of the nearly 1,000 recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Commission and asked the chief secretaries to treat the suggestions for reform on priority.