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Govt may bring ordinance to tackle corruption

New Delhi: Finding itself on the backfoot in the wake of a rash of scams, Government plans to come out with an Ordinance to put in place a mechanism to fight corruption among public servants including politicians.

Sources said the issue was discussed at a meeting of the Congress Core Group here on Friday in which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi were present.

The meeting discussed a note prepared by the Prime Minister`s office in the light of Gandhi`s five-point action plan to fight corruption suggested in her address to the Congress Plenary here two weeks ago.

Sources said in case the laws concerned needed to be amended to put in place such a mechanism, an ordinance could be promulgated for the purpose.

The mechanism, the sources said, may be different from that of the Central Vigilance Commission which deals with only corruption by officials.

There was no no official word on whether the Ordinance could be the precursor to the long-pending Lok Pal Bill and whether the Prime Minister`s office would be covered by it.

Gandhi`s plan included among other things institution of a new system of fast-tracking of all cases that concern corruption by public servants including politicians and to bring closure to such cases in a well-defined time-frame.

She had also talked about Congress Chief Ministers and Ministers including Union Ministers shedding discretionary powers especially in land allotments as they "breed corruption". She also wanted legislative and clear procedures to ensure transparency in public procurement.

In his address, the Prime Minister referred to Gandhi`s five-point action plan and said the government would pay careful attention to the agenda set out by Gandhi.

Gandhi, in her valedictory address, said they would take the issue of corruption head on and demonstrate through actions and not not words that they meant what they say. "I had made specific suggestions and the Prime Minister has assured us that they will be taken forward," she had said.

At the Plenary, Rahul Gandhi had also demanded severe punishment for those guilty of corruption.

In his New Year message on Friday, the Prime Minister has already made a pitch for making a "new beginning" in the year ahead.

"We will redouble our efforts to deal effectively and credibly with the challenges of inflation, cleansing our governing processes, national security and making our delivery system work for the aam aadmi", he had said.

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