Monday, August 22, 2011

separate law to tackle lower bureaucracy

22 Aug 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: In an apparent answer to crusader Anna Hazare's team mobilising the masses suffering corruption of the lower level bureaucracy, the government has quietly kicked of drafting of a Bill for creating a mechanism for the public services grievance redressal.

The task of drafting the Bill has been assigned to Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh by the Union Cabinet and he promises to mount it on the Internet next week for public debate.

While the Lokpal Bill covers only the Group A officers and ministers, Jairam said the new Bill he is readying will handle corruption and accountability at the cutting edge level of the government employees with whom the people come into contact in their day-to-day works like clerks, tehsildars, BDOs and RTOs giving driving licences.

He told reporters here on Monday that he is drawing lessons from the social audit of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employement Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) where the redressal institution is already in existence. He said the mechanism will incorporate various other mechanisms available to the public, including the consumer courts.

Jairam pointed out that the Lokpal is not going to be a stand-alone institution. He also disapproved the Team India resorting to agitation against the Lokpal Bill introduced in Parliament early this week, particularly when the RTI activists like Arvind Kejriwal have experience of the improvements made in the Right To Information (RTI) Bill after it was brought before Parliament alike the Lokpal Bill.

The parliamentary standing committee had then recommended not one or two but 150 amendments in the RTI Bill, after consulting the civil society and as such what emerged as the Act was altogether different from the draft, he said, advocating space to the Abhishek Manu Singhvi-led standing committee to dissect the Lokpal Bill and come up with a radically new bill.

Jairam also felt that a solution to the impasse created by Hazare resorting to an indefinite fast since last Tuesday can be to include the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Rahul Gandhi in the talks. They will have to chip in to defuse the crisis, he added.


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