Will table Lokpal bill in monsoon session, says PM
The much-delayed Lokpal Bill is likely to be introduced in the monsoon session of the Parliament, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured prominent campaigners fighting for the cause.
In a meeting with 10 top civil society activists, Singh along with law minister M Veerappa Moily and minister of state for personnel, V Narayanswami agreed to table the Bill during the monsoon session.
“I appreciate and share your concerns on corruption," the Prime Minister was quoted as having told the activists during the meeting, according to a statement issued by his office.
The latest draft of the Lokpal Bill, which has not found any favour with the civil society activists, proposes to bring the Prime Minister's Office under the purview of the anti-corruption watchdorg.
There was no consensus in the meeting on how the government and the transparency activists will bridge their differences on the draft of the bill. The activists led by veteran Gandhian Anna Hazare, former police officer Kiran Bedi, former law minister Shanti Bhushan and Magsaysay award winner Arvind Kejriwal, have rejected the government's draft bill.
"The Prime Minister was informed that the bill drafted by the Law ministry was extremely bad. Rather than curb corruption, it would encourage it," said a statement issued on behalf of India Against Corruption (IAC).
Law minister Moily is learnt to have suggested that a sub-committee in the Group of Ministers (GOM) dealing with anti-corruption measures will be constituted which will have two meetings with the IAC representatives after the conclusion of the budget session of Parliament on May 13.
Moily also assured the delagation that the GoM would draft the bill only after consulting them.
The government, however, did not agree to their demand that civil society activists should be included in the sub committee which will draft the bill and this remains the issue of a major dispute.
The PMO, meanwhile, said “The group accepted the Prime Minster's suggestion that a sub-committee of the Group of Ministers could interact and discuss the draft with the civil society activists.”
The IAC representatives disagreed. “When the PM was requested to set up a joint committee consisting of half members from civil society and half from the government's side to prepare the draft of the Lokpal Bill by the May 13, the government simply refused.”
With the differences persisting, Anna Hazare has announced that the movement would continue.
His decision to go on an indefinite fast from April 5 stands as of now.