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HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

Lokpal bill alone can't fight corruption: Sukhbir Badal

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 17, 2012
First Published: 15:23 IST(17/11/2012) | Last Updated: 17:22 IST(27/11/2013)

Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who was speaking today on the 10th edition of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, said Lokpal bill alone cannot fight corruption in the country.

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"Corruption happens when the common man interacts with a government department or an official. We need to eliminate that interaction and change those laws", Sukhbir said.

To support his argument, he cited initiatives taken by Punjab's Governance Reform Commission.

"We have eliminated affidavits. An individual can now certify himself and we accept it. Don't you trust your own citizens?", Sukhbir averred.

He talked at length about Punjab's efforts to limit citizen-state interaction-including making land records available online and making car registration easier -- to check greedy middlemen and rampant graft. He also proposed applying the same method to 2G, 3G spectrum auction, by adopting the policy of e-tendering. "No discretion should be vested with either bureaucrats or politicians."

Taking part in a lively discussion on the rise of regional parties and powerful chief ministers, Sukhbir pointed out that the center still called the shots. "The center decides what to give to whom. Punjab had a bad drought, but we didn't get any relief package. Other states that were government allies or had higher numbers received such packages."

As the discussion veered to the topic of family name versus competence in political parties, he said that people trust a brand name, but clarified that his party was not a one-family show. "Family name can give you the first opportunity, after that you have to prove yourself. All politicians' sons are not successful."

When asked about his recent visit to Pakistan to improve trade ties, Sukhbir described it as "historic". "Contrary to what we think, there is no anti-India sentiment there. The people of that country are fed up with terrorism and wars and want economic relations. I feel that if we take one step, they will be willing to take ten."


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