Government in Favour of a Strong Lokpal: PM
Noting that corruption is a serious problem requiring a multi-dimensional response, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the UPA govt is committed to establishing a strong and effective Lokpal.
His government is determined to deal with corruption in an effective manner, he told an election rally in favour of the party candidate in Amritsar on Saturday.
Dr Singh said corruption is a "serious problem" which calls for a multi-dimensional response.
"To get rid of this disease, efforts at our end are on," he said referring to the steps taken in e-governance to contain the menace.
"We are committed for a strong Lokpal. A bill in this regard was passed in the Lok Sabha but got stuck in the Rajya Sabha.
"Our party believes that all parties should rise above narrow considertion and contribute in this regard (to have a strong Lokpal)," the Prime Minister said.
He said they are hopeful of a strong Lokpal in near future.
Dr Singh referred to the Right to Information Act which, he said, had helped in empowerment of the citizens.
Singh, launched a scathing attack on the Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD-BJP government in Punjab, saying the state which was once a frontrunner in all spheres had now fallen behind.
Addressing an election rally in his hometown in Amritsar, he asked the electorate to overthrow the present regime and bring back Congress to power in the state.
"Punjab was a golden land till a few years ago. The state was a frontrunner for many years and had done wonders in agriculture, industial sector and food production.”
"It had no parallel in Sabyachar (culture) not just in the country but around the world. But, now it lags behind," Dr Singh told the rally.
He said after being number one state in the country, Punjab had fallen back and alleged the SAD-BJP government was responsible for this.
He said even small and neighbouring state Haryana had left Punjab behind. Haryana was carved out of Punjab in November 1966.
He accused the Badal government of failing to sincerely implement and properly utilise funds provided to the state for carrying out developmental activities.
Speaking in Punjabi, Dr Singh, in his nearly 35-minute speech, said the Congress rule between 2002 and 2007 had seen a swift pace of development in the agrarian state.
He said there had been little development during the SAD-led dispensation, adding power problem and unemployment had aggravated during its rule.
The Prime Minister said education and health sectors remained totally neglected during the SAD rule.
He said the UPA government had always kept in mind the interest of Punjab.
The Central government had been liberal in allocating projects to the state and ensuring that its development took place without any discrimination, he said.
It had provided 2,700 doctors and para-medics, and set up 126 primary health centres besides giving ambulances to the state, the Prime Minister said.
"We also gave an IIT in Ropar and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research at Mohali, set up a Central Unviversity in Bathinda and upgraded Amritsar's medical college at a cost of Rs 150 crore," he said.
The Prime Minister said it was his greatest desire to have a Central University in Amritsar but the state government had expressed its inability to provide land for the project.
Referring to the education sector, the Prime Minister said the Centre had given Rs 3400 crore to the state for its improvement.
The Centre had also helped in setting up 824 primary centres and appointing 15,000 teachers, he said.
Appealing to the people to vote for the Congress to ensure all-round and equitable development of the state, he said if his party came to power, it would take effective steps to make the state drug-free.
Meanwhile, taking on BJP on corruption issue, Sonia Gandhi on Saturday said the party was forced to change its chief minister in Uttarakhand following graft allegations and accused it of "creating a wedge" between the hills and the plains.
"The BJP is responsible for widespread corruption in every nook and corner of the state. It was due to corruption that BJP was forced to change its Chief Minister," the Congress President said in her second election rally in the hill state in the run-up to the January 30 Assembly polls.
Chief Minister B S Khanduri took over as chief minister from Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank in September last year in an apparent move by BJP to lift its sagging image following graft allegations against the government.
"...Through its discriminatory policies, the BJP government is creating a wedge between the plains and the hilly areas of the state," Gandhi alleged.
She also accused the state government of stalling the industrialisation process. "New industrial units were not set up. And those which were already set up are being destroyed," she said.