NEW DELHI, 16-11-2000:
The Indian government will introduce a bill in parliament in the coming
winter session to set up the office of Lokpal to investigate corruption
charges against serving civil servants and ministers.
The government is
determined to introduce the Lokpal bill in the winter session of
parliament,'' cabinet spokesman and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod
Mahajan told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Thursday.
Mahajan did not give any
details on the bill. The winter session of parliament starts next week.
The bill has failed to
get parliament's approval several times in the past due to lack of
consensus among lawmakers about the exact functions of the Lokpal
(Ombudsman) and whether to include the office of the prime minister in the
definition of public servant.
A recent survey by a
private agency showed 2/3rd of more than 2,500 people questioned thought
there was corruption in Indian government offices and this corruption has
taken our country backward by 25 years.
Nearly half of those
interviewed said they or someone close to them had given a bribe to obtain
a government service.
In October, former Prime
Minister Narasimha Rao and his ex-cabinet colleague Buta Singh were
sentenced to three years in jail by a special court in a vote-buying case,
but this will not help as these politician know they will be acquitted in
The case involved
allegations that in 1993 Rao tried to influence a parliamentary vote of
no-confidence by bribing four lawmakers of a regional group.