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Right time to move decisively against corruption: PM

New Delhi: Underlining the urgency to fight corruption in public life, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said it is the right time to move decisively in this direction. "Our efforts for rapid progress and development can have their full impact only if we curb corruption in public life and improve the processes of governance. I believe this is the right time to move decisively in this direction," Singh said addressing the two-day Conference of Governors.

The Prime Minister promised that his government will "do its utmost to improve transparency and accountability" in the work of public authorities and is committed to taking all possible measures to "curb corruption in administration" and deliver governance to citizens.

Singh mentioned the Lokpal bill among the measures his government was taking in this direction. The Prime Minister said the government was also working for enacting a law to bring more transparency and accountability in the procurement systems. "Apart from the Lokpal bill, a bill to amend the Land Acquisition Act has also been introduced in Parliament," he said.

Addressing Governors and Lt Governors at the conference which concluded here, the Prime Minister said he expected the state governments also to act similarly so that these efforts touch all levels of governance in all parts of the country. On Left Wing Extremism, Singh said it continues to pose a major threat to internal security and stressed the need to ensure that the menace does not spread to other areas.

Noting that it is deprivation and extreme poverty that sometimes gives rise to Naxalism, he said the government recognises the need to address "development deficit" in areas affected by LWE to deal effectively with this challenge.

"Those parts of our country that are affected by LWE also happen to be more backward and poor and many of them have predominant tribal populations," the Prime Minister said, adding that the government has made available an outlay of Rs 55 crore to each of the 60 such identified districts under the Integrated Action Plan for augmenting development plans there. "As mentioned by the Home Minister, better policing and development have to be the twin engines of a coordinated strategy," he said.

Claiming that concerted efforts made by Centre and the states in the past few years have shown some positive results, the Prime Minister said the extent of success achieved by these measures depends critically on co-ordination. He termed terrorism and LWE as "formidable" challenges to maintenance of law and order and said the main problems India faces on its borders are infiltration by terrorists, illegal migration and smuggling.

Noting that 17 states in the country have international land borders, he underlined the need for greater cooperation with neighbouring countries in tackling border-related problems citing the case of Bangladesh, where he had recently visited. "The signing of protocol to Land Boundary Agreement in 1974 and putting in place the Coordinated Border Management Plan with Bangladesh are example of what is possible through such cooperation," he said.

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