Civil society unites in war on graft

Moved by popular support to Anna Hazare, the NCPRI, which has suggested alternate anti-corruption mechanism has decided to converge with team Anna on two of the three sticking points with the government. Chetan Chauhan reports. NCPRI's approach: Doc 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

delhi Updated: Aug 27, 2011 01:10 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times

Moved by popular support to Anna Hazare, the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), which has suggested alternate anti-corruption mechanism has decided to converge with team Anna on two of the three sticking points with the government.

The three issues are covering entire bureaucracy under Lokpal, a citizen charter providing penalty on officials who fail to deliver services within stipulated time-lines and equally powerful state Lokayuktas. The move is aimed at putting additional pressure on the government to implement an effective mechanism to combat corruption.

“The NCPRI is completely in agreement that all three objectives put forth by team Anna should be addressed immediately,” the campaign said on Friday, an hour before Gandhi hinted that their mechanism was one of the best to fight corruption. Where they differed with Team Anna was on mechanism on implementation of citizen charters.

The convergence lead to nuanced change in NCPRI's position after a day-long meeting of National Advisory Council member Aruna Roy with other members of the group such as NAC member Harsh Mander, Shekhar Singh and Nikhil Dey.

One big change in their original mechanism, also called Roy’s draft, was the group agreeing that entire bureaucracy can be brought under the Lokpal by putting Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) under the administrative control of Lokpal. Earlier, NCPRI has suggested independent CVC to deal with middle and lower level bureaucracy. NCPRI's approach on Lokpal:Covering note

It means that officials above the level of group A officials should be directly dealt by Lokpal and rest by the CVC. Team Anna wants entire bureaucracy under Lokpal, which NCPRI opposed saying it would distract the Lokpal from its primary task of combating high level corruption. NCPRI's approach on Lokpal: Amendments suggested to Govt's version

Team Anna and NCPRI had also converged on the issue of having one law to set up Lokpal and state Lokayuktas. Till now, the team Anna had wanted one law whereas NCPRI had suggested that a Central law for Lokpal and state government laws for Lokayuktas. “The Parliament is competent to legislate on this but the states should be consulted on this on an urgent basis,” said NCPRI co-convener Nikhil Dey. NCPRI's approach on Lokpal: On public servants

While team Anna and Roy’s team agrees that grievance redress is most critical, there is some difference on how to deal with it. Team Anna wants Lokpal at the central level and Lokayukta at the states to deal with petty corruption through citizen charters whereas Roy believes that setting up a separate institutional framework to deal with issues of grievance redress in all social sector areas. NCPRI's approach on Lokpal: On Standards and Accountability Bill

A team Anna member, however, said they were not totally opposed to NCPRI’s framework but want that institutional framework to be accountable to Lokpal or Lokayukta, rather than to the government. “The entire purpose of district grievance redress committee will be lost if it is set up under a district level official because most people will have complaints against district administration,” Arvind Kejriwal explained. NCPRI's approach on Lokpal: On grievance redress commission | On whislteblower

First Published: Aug 26, 2011 20:25 IST