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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

India Against Corruption

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After immense hard work and analysis India Against Corruption movement has gained momentum. The nation which woke up from a recent Cricket World Cup victory starving for heros and reasons to celebrate and be cheerful about is all set to rise up against corruption this time.

About Dr. Anna Hazare -

Anna Hazare is one of India's well-acclaimed social activists. A former soldier in the Indian army, Anna is well known and respected for upgrading the ecology and economy of the village of Ralegan Siddhi which is located in the drought prone Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra state. The erstwhile barren village has metamorphosed into a unique model of rural development due to its effective water conservation methods, which made the villagers self-sufficient. Earlier, the same village witnessed alcoholism, utter poverty and migration to urban slums. Inspired by Hazare’s unique approach of salvaging a hopeless village, the state government has implemented the `Model Village’ scheme as part of its official strategy. Hazare is now synonymous with rural development in India.

More can be read here

About India Against Corruption Movement -

India Against Corruption movement is an expression of collective anger of people of India against corruption. We have all come together to force/request/persuade/pressurize the Government to enact the Jan Lokpal Bill. We feel that if this Bill were enacted it would create an effective deterrence against corruption.

More can be read here

The Problem of Mindset

Indians typically are not socially conscious and always look upon to their elders, their idols, their gods and demi gods, kings, politicians, cricket stars, bollywood folks, perhaps a bit more than almost anybody else on the planet. but the problem is of mindset...and once the public start seeing some changes in the system at large (perhaps lesser number of scams running into billions of dollars, corrupt getting prosecuted and punished) then slowly the mindset of masses will change as well....the change does not happen in a linear fashion...especially when we are talking about a paradigm will happen all of a sudden...overnight...nobody will realize it...but after it things will change forever and hopefully for the good.

Now About the Bill

Salient features of Jan Lokpal Bill

1. An institution called LOKPAL at the centre and LOKAYUKTA in each state will be set up

2. Like Supreme Court and Election Commission, they will be completely independent of the governments. No minister or bureaucrat will be able to influence their investigations.

3. Cases against corrupt people will not linger on for years anymore: Investigations in any case will have to be completed in one year. Trial should be completed in next one year so that the corrupt politician, officer or judge is sent to jail within two years.

4. The loss that a corrupt person caused to the government will be recovered at the time of conviction.

5. How will it help a common citizen: If any work of any citizen is not done in prescribed time in any government office, Lokpal will impose financial penalty on guilty officers, which will be given as compensation to the complainant.

6. So, you could approach Lokpal if your ration card or passport or voter card is not being made or if police is not registering your case or any other work is not being done in prescribed time. Lokpal will have to get it done in a month’s time. You could also report any case of corruption to Lokpal like ration being siphoned off, poor quality roads been constructed or panchayat funds being siphoned off. Lokpal will have to complete its investigations in a year, trial will be over in next one year and the guilty will go to jail within two years.

7. But won’t the government appoint corrupt and weak people as Lokpal members? That won’t be possible because its members will be selected by judges, citizens and constitutional authorities and not by politicians, through a completely transparent and participatory process.

8. What if some officer in Lokpal becomes corrupt? The entire functioning of Lokpal/ Lokayukta will be completely transparent. Any complaint against any officer of Lokpal shall be investigated and the officer dismissed within two months.

9. What will happen to existing anti-corruption agencies? CVC, departmental vigilance and anti-corruption branch of CBI will be merged into Lokpal. Lokpal will have complete powers and machinery to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician.

10. It will be the duty of the Lokpal to provide protection to those who are being victimized for raising their voice against corruption.

PS: I have taken liberty to quote from the websites of IAC and on Dr. Hazare and I hope they wont mind.


  1. Anonymous7:10 PM

    Aren't we adding another layer of unnecessary complexity with this Lokpal Bill? I would have prefered to strengthen existing anti-corruption vehicles and make them independent.

    And to your Point 7 about citizens selecting Lokpal members... aren't we trying to build a parallel army of citizens' representatives alongside the MPs?

    Even if we went ahead with this idea, looking at the MPs we have been sending to the Parliament in recent years, I doubt our capability to select the right people.

    The solution could be more simple and pragmatic:
    - Move CVC / CBI anti-corruption to an independent status like SC and CEC
    - Bring everything under the purview of this bill (I like the proposals in Jan Lokpal Bill about whistleblower protection etc.)
    - For selecting members of Lokpal, draw a leaf from how SC and CEC do their selection (atleast these processes have been good at keeping corruption at bay) and just replicate that process
    - Leverage RTI and build channels for citizens to communicate corruption instances to Lokpal

  2. Thanks for the comments Moid. Your objection to point 7 was addressed in final draft prepared by IAC team. read on -

    I agree with you that either 2 things can be done,
    - combine CVC, CBI and Janlokpal and give all the powers proposed in the Janlokpal bill (not the one proposed by government at all)and call tht agency as CBI or Janlokpal or CBIpal :)
    -create 2 agencies 1st- CVC+ CBI combined,2nd - Janlokpal and making both these agencies independent of government

    In any case there's an urgent need to amend the laws and make execution and investigating agencies more powerful, functional and independent !


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