As Anna Hazare and his team of activists launch the latest installment of their movement against corruption, the government has shared details of the steps it has taken to combat graft.
The Prime Minister's Office has said on its website that a group of ministers set up to suggest anti-corruption measures in January 2011 has submitted two reports. Based on those, the government has decided that requests made for the prosecution of government servants have to be decided within three months by the competent authority. That is meant to help citizens or others who say that when they file complaints against those in office, no action is taken. In most cases, for officers above the rank of Joint Secretary, it is the relevant minster who will decide whether to sanction prosecution.
The government has also put in place guidelines for the discretionary powers that can be exercised by ministers; the guidelines will be made available for public access.
The Prime Minister's Office also refers to the passage of a comprehensive Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 and the Whistle-blowers' Protection Bill 2011 by the Lok Sabha. Both bills have yet to clear the Rajya Sabha.
Anna's protest camp in Delhi which starts tomorrow will focus on the delay in the Lokpal Bill. Anna will start an indefinite fast on July 29. The Lokpal Bill is intended to combat corruption among bureaucrats and politicians. It sets up a national ombudsman or Lokpal that will investigate charges of graft.
(With Press Trust of India inputs