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Pranab faces queries on corruption

While the agenda was to woo investors and talk about global economic challenges, Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is spending considerable time on the US soil talking about domestic corruption issues and related civil society movement. Saubhadra Chatterji reports.

india Updated: Sep 24, 2011 00:19 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji

While the agenda was to woo investors and talk about global economic challenges, Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is spending considerable time on the US soil talking about domestic corruption issues and related civil society movement.


In at least two closed-door meetings, including the one with World Bank president Robert Zoellick on Friday, Mukherjee had to explain at length how the UPA government is tackling corruption and engaging civil society in the law-making process.

Zoellick had asked Mukherjee what measures his government was taking to curb corruption before talking about transparency issues within the World Bank.

Mukherjee appraised that New Delhi will bring in five legislations including the Lokpal bill for more transparency in the governance. He also said legislations on issues like the whistleblowers and public procurement are in the formation process while some like the Lokpal bill are already before the Indian parliament.

Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia and India's Executive Director to World Bank Pulok Chatterjee were also present in the meeting.

In another closed-door meeting-with American investors-in New York on Wednesday, the finance minister was asked about the recent civil society movement against corruption. Mukherjee told the audience that the government for the first time has engaged the civil society directly in the law-making process and how legislation on ombudsmen is underway.

The finance minister even pointed out that 34 of 40 demands made by the civil society on Lokpal bill have already been met by the government.

Realising that transparency issues are catching global attention, the new G24, led by India, will eye better mechanisms. Soon after he became the first finance minister to return to the G24 chairmanship (he was the chief in 1983), Mukherjee said: "We will try to build an institutional model based on the best practices in individual countries."