Skip to main content

Modi govt "diluting" anti-corruption legislations in order to "protect" bureaucrats, politicians: NCPRI

By Our Representative
The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), India's apex body of RTI organizations, has accused the Modi government, in office for two years, of failing to make any progress on anti-corruption legislations, insisting, “Even the existing legislations and mechanisms are being undermined.”
The Whistle Blowers Protection Act (WBP Act) was passed in 2014, after 12 years of the murder of whislteblower Satyendra Dubey after families of whistleblowers and activists of NCPRI held protests for over 20 days. The Act provides protection of identity for whistleblowers and safeguards against their victimization, NCPRI activists said in a media press conference in Delhi.
Instead of promulgating rules to operationalise the WBP law, the government has “moved an amendment bill in Parliament which seeks to severely dilute the Act”, activists pointed out, adding, the amendments seek to “remove safeguards available to whistleblowers from prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.”
Further, the amendments have introduced “wide-ranging exclusions by stating that disclosures should not contain information which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty, integrity, security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State.”
“The current status of the WBP Amendment Bill is not clear”, NCPRI co-convener Anjali Bharadwaj said, adding, “Whereas the debate on the bill in the Rajya Sabha and the proposal to refer it to a select committee was not concluded, on April 28, 2016 the concerned Minister, in reply to a question in Parliament, stated that the Amendment Bill had been sent to a committee.”
Dhananjay Dubey, Satyendra Dubey's brother, said, “Despite assurances from BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad that they were committed to the WBP Act, the government had taken no steps to prevent deaths of whistleblowers. Close to 60 people have been killed in the last few years for exposing corruption and wrongdoing in the government.”
NCPRI's senior activist Sanjay Sahni added, lives of whistleblowers like his colleague Ram Kumar Thakur could have been saved if the WBP Act was operationalised. “Ram Kumar Thakur wrote to the
Police and the state government seeking protection, however no action was taken”, he said.
As for the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act (LL Act), activists said, instead of operationalizing it, the activists said, as amendment bill, called the the Lokpal and Lokayuktas and Other Related Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014, was deliberated upon by the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, which presented its report in December 2015.
“Among other issues, the amendments seek to dilute the Act by exempting bureaucrats from declaring assets and liabilities of their spouses and dependent children”, activists said.
“Further, the amendment does away with the requirement of public disclosure of the asset declarations on the grounds that disclosure of such information might expose public servants and their families to threats and kidnappings”, they added.
Nikhil Dey, the other co-convener of the NCPRI, said, despite public disclosure of asset declarations of lakhs of candidates contesting elections across the country and of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts, “no evidence of threats/blackmail had come to light and, therefore, there is no
rationale for this amendment.”
Similarly, Dey said, the grievance redress (GR) Bill, which the the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in July 2014 that it was “part of Immediate Thrust Areas of the Government”, is likely to be dropped.
“In March 2016, in response to a question in Parliament, the government made no reference to the legislation and instead stated that it was preparing a scheme known as Delivery of Services and Grievances Redressal Scheme”, he said.

Comments

TRENDING

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Dr├Ęze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Kashmir kayoed, bhakts 'jubilant': Much like crowds when Hitler purged Jews, Catholics

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
August 12, 2019 was the great festival of Eid al-Adha (incidentally, for Jews, Christians and Muslims – the sacrifice of Abraham is a very significant one); for the people of Kashmir however, this year Eid was a sad day indeed, what with the lockdown and communications blockade!

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

Modi's Kashmir move meant to 'solidify' Hindu majoritarianism, 'demonize' Muslims

By Battini Rao*
The parliament of India on August 6 put its stamp of approval on bills abrogating article 370 and downgrading the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to two union territories. When the representatives of the people of India were deciding the fate of the state, the people of J&K were forced into collective house arrests.