Union law and judiciary minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday asserted that the Lokpal Bill would be tabled in the ensuing winter session of the Parliament for debate and consideration. Pradip Kumar Maitra reports.
When asked about Anna Hazare’s call for renewed agitation and his proposed move to campaign against the Congress in states going to elections, the union minister said he had no idea why Hazare was doing all that. "The government is keeping its word given to Anna when he broke the fast -- that the Lok Pal Bill be re-drafted. The standing committee is holding deliberations to make the Bill a comprehensive piece of legislation. His two other demands of Lokayuktas for each state and Citizen’s charter are also under consideration,” he said.
Commenting on Hazare’s demand for right to recall, Khurshid said it was as impractical as holding elections all over the country on one day. “Conducting free and fair elections takes too much time and effort, the recall facility would only complicate the matters”, he opined.
On the Gandhian crusader’s campaign against the Congress in the ensuing state elections, he quipped, “Anna should live politics to us. He should better concentrate more on social issues.”
According to him, it’s unfair to blame the Congress for the delay of 42 years in enactment of Lok Pal Bill. No other party gave it priority. Even the movement started by socialist icon Jai Prakash Narayan was silent on Lok Pal. “So it was only a matter of fixing priorities and the Congress-led UPA gave more importance to RTI Act, food security bill and now the communal violence Bill," explained Khurshid.
He said by December the government would bring a slew of legislations including Bill on transparency in public procurements, citizens charter, electoral reforms, protection to whistleblowers, strengthening the CVC --all this will change the public perception against the UPA government and make governance more effective.
Answering a question, the union minister said that the right to information (RTI) Act that the government brought in to enhance transparency was now becoming a hurdle in its working. "We have no regrets to have brought in the RTI Act. But then too much of RTI work is hitting the working of government department. It is slowing down the development work. Time has come to have a clean discussion on its pros and cons. There is no question of retreating. We all have to think how we can make it more effective and hassle-free,” he said denying that he or the government has reservations against the RTI provisions.