Battling corruption and ushering a new culture in governance was uppermost on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s mind on Thursday as he took cognizance of the growing popular anger against graft and called for radical steps.
“We must recognise that there is little public tolerance now for the prevailing state of affairs…. People expect swift and exemplary action,” he told a gathering of civil servants debating issues like ethics and transparency in governance, in Vigyan Bhavan on Civil Services Day on Thursday.
There is, he said, a growing feeling among people that our laws, systems and procedures are not effective in dealing with corruption.
Singh’s remarks came in the backdrop of a series of scams and Anna Hazare’s crusade for a Lokpal Bill.
His prescription to deal with the menace that “impedes faster growth and hurts the poor the most’’ includes steps to strengthen the legislative framework, revamp administrative practices and fast-track a systematic response. Towards this end, the government set up a GoM on legal and administrative measures, a joint panel for the lokpal bill, introduced the judicial accountability and protection of whistle blowers bills and will ratify the UN convention on corruption.
Visualising a greater role for civil servants in fighting corruption, Singh spoke of refashioning civil service and bringing a cultural change in governance sans yes-men.
“I expect you to be honest and fearless in advising your superior authorities, specially the political leadership,’’ he said, urging that excessive caution and following the beaten path give way to innovation. As the core of civil service is rooted in integrity, disapproval or even ostracism by colleagues can be a powerful deterrent for those going astray.
Bihar road secretary P Amrit for strengthening road transport infrastructure by building over 400 bridges between 2006-09.
RG Holani, SK Bhopale, SY Basugade, UP Bagade for Malkapur 24x7 water supply scheme in Maharashtra
Vijay Nahata and Varsha V Bhagat for setting up and training centre for children with disabilities in Maharashtra.
Gujarat’s commissionerate of health for sickle cell anemia control programme
Himachal Pradesh dept of environment’s sustainable plastic waste management programme.