After Kalam, Manmohan Now Favours PMs Post Under Lok Pal

Dehra Dun, Sept 29 | Updated: Sep 30 2004, 05:30am hrs
Supporting President APJ Abdul Kalams offer on Tuesday to put himself under the purview of Lok Pal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said there was consensus that public functionaries should be brought within the ambit of the proposed law.

The current consensus is, by and large, in favour of a multi-member institution with quasi-judicial powers. There is also a broad agreement that public functionaries directly and indirectly elected by, and responsible to, the public such as members of Parliament and ministers, including the PM, should be brought within the purview of the Lok Pal legislation, he said.

Dr Singh was speaking at the All-India conference of Lokayuktas and Uplokayuktas organised by the All-India Association of Lokayuktas here.

Noting that the absence of the institution of Lok Pal was affecting such institutions at the state level, the PM said the need for the same was more urgent now than ever before.

He said that necessary action was being taken very shortly to set up an administrative reforms commission to prepare a detailed blueprint for revamping the public administration system.

I have no hesitation in confessing that the absence of an institution like Lok Pal at the Centre is affecting the working of the lokayukta institutions at the state level, he said.

Noting that the CMP has given the mandate to enact the Lok Pal Bill, the PM said his government was committed to implementing the Freedom of Information Act. This was necessary as a major cause of corruption was lack of transparency in public life.

He also said that excessive bureaucratisation of economic and social processes led to delays in decision making and implementation, and increased the scope of corruption.

Dr Singh said, we have to cultivate inner-purity at all levels individual, society and nation, to purge the system of corruption, inefficiency and slugglishness. He said the lokayuktas were a potent instrument to check administrative high-handedness and injustice.

He said creating a committee of the legislature, comprising members from all parties, which would examine the possibility of implementing the lokayuktas recommendations, needed careful consideration.