Govt may delink Lokayukta provision in states from Lokpal Bill

In a bid to allay concerns of states and political parties, including allies, Government appears to have decided to delink the provision of Lokayuktas in states from the Lokpal bill.

In a letter to Anna Hazare seeking his support for finding a consensus on the issue, Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy has said the government has proposed that the Lokpal Bill will have provisions for a model law for setting up Lokayukta in states.

The letter, however, gives no more details as to whether this provision has been suggested as an amendment to the Lokpal Bill before the Select Committee considering it or would it come up in the House during discussions.

Noting that government is committed to passing the legislation as per the wishes of Parliament, the Minister said the government is committed to pass the legislation as per the wishes of Parliament.

"The Bill is now with the Select Committee (of Rajya Sabha). The government wishes to incorporate three key demands raised by you and which is found in the Sense of House resolution in the Bill."

"...We have also proposed a strong Lokpal Bill and a model law for states (for Lokayuktas) which will address the concerns raised by parties with respect to (encroachment on) federal structure of the Constitution," he said.

Narayanasamy said the government has already proposed to bring lower bureaucracy under the ambit of Lokpal but the Central Vigilance Commission and CBI will look into these cases. The Lokpal Bill has got stuck in Rajya Sabha after parties, including allies and opposition, raising objection against the provision for setting up a Lokayukta under a central law, claiming that it will cause damage to the federal structure.

The Minister also listed a number of initiatives taken by the government to tackle corruption. In the letter, he said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expects that Hazare will provide his support and constructive cooperation in resolving issues of national importance.

"We are hopeful with all these steps (taken by the government), we will be able to fulfill our commitment to bring in more accountability in the working of the government. But for every important step, there is need to give encouragement and acknowledgement. We want to make it clear that doing this is a national necessity and not an attempt towards partisan political one-upmanship," he said.

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