Monday, January 10, 2011


10 Jan 2011



By R Rajagopalan
NEW DELHI: The government has quietly dropped a move to haul up the ministers for corruption as it does not figure in the terms of reference of the 8-member Group of Ministers, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, appointed last week to consider measures to tackle corruption.

The GoM, asked to give its report within 60 days that is by the first week of March, has been asked to advise the government on seven issues in particular, including the state funding of elections, but it is given freedom "to consider all measures, including legislative and administrative, to tackle corruption and improve transparency."

The secret document accessed by this correspondent shows the GoM  has been also asked in its terms of reference to also examine Sonia Gandhi's proposal at the Congress plenary for "relinquishing discretionary powers enjoyed by ministers at the Centre." Sonia Gandhi has sent out a separate letter to the Congress chief ministers to remove such discretionary powers.

Other issues to be dealt by the GoM are:

-- Ensuring full transparency in public procurement and contracts and enunciation of public procurement standards and policy;

-- Fast tracking of all cases of public servants accused of corruption;

-- Amendment to Article 311 of the Constitution to provide for summary proceedings in cases of grave misdemeanor or blatant corruption by public servants;

-- Introduction of an open and competitive system of exploiting natural resources; and

-- Consideration of relevance for Section 6(A) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, under which the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) operates, requiring it to obtain prior approval of the government to probe any offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act against the bureaucrats of the level of joint secretary and above.

Article 311 provides protection to the civil servants of the Centre and state as also those in the all-India services from dismissal, compulsory retirement, removal or reduction in rank except after an inquiry.


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