M A I N   N E W S

PM declares war on corruption
On its second birthday, UPA-II releases its performance card
Ashok Tuteja/TNS


On corruption

The issues of governance and corruption have attracted a great deal of attention in 2010-11. Citizens are worried about the state of governance. These are legitimate concerns and the UPA government is determined to take action. We will punish those that are guilty through the due process of law.

On ties with Pak

Our relations with Pakistan are improving. Recently there have been Home Secretary-level talks and other talks. It is a hopeful beginning. But I can't say, it is prone to accidents

On Naxal menace

We will deal firmly with Left-wing extremism, which is a major problem. But we also recognise that there is a development deficit in the areas affected it and we are determined to address this deficit.

On economy

There’s need to reduce fiscal and revenue deficits and cut down on wasteful subsidies. The country would look to chart a growth process that was socially inclusive and regionally balanced and energy and infrastructure investments were key to realising this vision.

DMK’s token presence

Smarting under the electoral debacle and arrest of party MP Kanimozhi, the DMK on Sunday made a token presence at the second anniversary celebrations of UPA-II where none of its six Union ministers was present. The DMK, the third largest constituent in the UPA coalition with 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha, was represented only by its Parliamentary Party Leader T R Baalu at the function held at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's residence here. Baalu was seen sitting next to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on the dais.

New Delhi, May 22
Conscious of the fact that the ruling coalition's image has taken a beating in the wake of a series of scams, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi today declared the government's determination to combat corruption in public life.

They were addressing a function held at the Prime Minister's residence to mark the second anniversary of the UPA-II government. Leaders of all key constituents of the UPA were present at the function. The DMK was represented by senior party leader TR Baalu.

Addressing the gathering, Singh, talking about good governance and the need for political stability, referred to developments relating to 2G Spectrum allocation, procurement and contracting issues related to the Commonwealth Games, and similar issues of corruption in state governments, saying they had brought public focus on the menace.

"The developments have caused many concerned citizens to worry about the state of governance and the pervasiveness of corruption. These are legitimate concerns and the UPA government is determined to take corrective action. We are taking steps to prevent such developments in future and reduce discretionary and arbitrary use of power by public officials," the PM said.

Singh said the government would punish those guilty through the due process of law. "We will also take steps to prevent such developments in future. We have initiated a number of steps to bring about systematic changes that would help in improving governance and curbing corruption, and we hope to see the results of these efforts."

Sonia, too, appeared quite concerned over the damage the issue of corruption has caused to the credibility of the government. Transparency, accountability and probity would remain the priorities of the UPA government, she asserted even as she took an indirect dig at the BJP for continuing to protect scam-tainted Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa.

The PM also released the performance report of the UPA-II government during its two years in office, presenting the first copy to the UPA chief. The report "Government of the UPA: Report to the People" highlights various achievements of the government and its agenda for future governance.

The report card talks at length about the constitution of a Group of Ministers on corruption in January this year and the introduction of the whistleblower Bill among the measures initiated by the government to "tackle corruption". It said that the terms of reference of the GoM include considering all legislative and administrative measures necessary to tackle corruption and improve transparency, including relinquishing discretionary powers enjoyed by ministers at the Centre.

The report card said the ToR for the GoM also include fast-tracking of all cases of public servants accused of corruption and ensuring full transparency in public procurement and contracts,

including enunciation of public procurement standards and a public procurement policy and introduction of an open and competitive system of exploiting natural resources.

"As one of the impediments felt in tackling corruption is lack of adequate protection to complainants, the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosure Bill, 2010 (whistleblower bill) has been introduced in the Lok Sabha on 26th August 2010," it added.

The report also covers many specific sectors like economic situation, agriculture, rural development, education, external and internal challenges, railways and environmental issues.

Touching on economic situation, the PM said the country witnessed an unprecedented 8.5 per cent growth from 2004-05 to 2010-11 despite severe global financial crisis in this period and described the performance in agriculture as "particularly satisfying".





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