No Progress on Anti-Corruption Laws in Country: WNTA Report

New Delhi

A network of voluntary organisations under the banner of Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA) in its report today claimed that there had been no progress on anti-corruption laws in the country and that there have been concerted attempt to undermine existing legislations and mechanisms.

The Report titled 'Citizens report on 2nd year of NDA government: Promises and Reality', on the performance of Narendra Modi led NDA government which is set to complete its second year on May 26, pointed out that allocations to most social sector has fallen or had marginal increase which does not address the critical concerns in health, education and civic amenities.

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While assessing the area of "accountability", the Report stated said that the Lokpal and the Whistle Blowers Protection laws passed by Parliament more than two years ago, are yet to be operationalised.

"Infact the government is attempting to dilute both laws. Instead of putting in place an effective grievance redress mechanism to ensure proper delivery of rights and services to people, the government is seeking to amend the existing Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) to make all bribe givers offenders, which would criminalise even those who are forced to pay a bribe to get their legal entitlements," said the report.

The importance of 'accountability' was further stressed by pointing out that the NDA had come to power in 2014 with the promise of 'achche din' and 'sabka saath, sabka vikas', and in this context, the report has observed that, "though the country has moved ahead on many counts, these communities and social groups have not kept pace with this growth.

"While India is making its mark at the global level, social and economic inequalities continue to grow and marginalize communities and their quality of life", it said.

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The authors of the report while analysing the status of human rights said that there were several instances of intimidation and attacks on journalists, authors, artists and law defenders in the last two years.

It pointed out that the Central government continued its clampdown on civil society organisations critical of official policies.

"Religious tensions intensified and freedom of expression on university campus came under assault and that attacks by hardline Hindu groups grew," it said. 

The report highlighted that immediately after assuming power, the NDA government began its exercise to "curtail" safeguards, dilute the provisions of existing laws and several dilutions were affected in the name of decentralisation of power.

"In the first two years of 'less government and more governance' the government has been living with rhetoric on saving the environment while acting diametrically opposite to the cause," it stated.

The government's budget allocation in 2015-16, the major thrust for development is on investment in infrastructure and housing projects in both rural and urban areas. Data analysis shows allocations to most social sector fell short or had marginal increase which does not address the critical concerns in health, education civic amenities.

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At the launch of the report, Brinda Karat, Politburo member of CPI (M) alleged that National food security law was being subverted.

"And see the food security in a larger perspective. There has been drought in last more than two years. Thus the entire food security is in peril. There is class bias in the current establishment.

"There is huge concession to the corporates in forms of tax benefits, where as the budget allocation is cut to the social sectors which will benefit the poor and the wider citizenry. Basic service are being transferred to private players. And there is no job-creation under the current establishment," it said.

This government is also pitting Lok Sabha vs Rajya Sabha. How they have declared the Aadhar bill as money bill and presented to the Parliament? This government is full of rhetoric: Skill India, Make in India, Start up India!! They should now get to work," said D Raja, CPI leader.

AAP leader Raghav Chadha claimed the Modi has failed to initiate measures to curb corruption and bring in transparency while accusing it of indulging in small communal incidents.

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"There has been massive tinkering with the social secular fabric of India and there is a very clever strategy that the BJP is implementing to keep the simmering tension forever to serve their own political purpose.

"They are not indulging in large scale riots but then there are small small communal flagrations to serve their own political purpose," Chadha said.

"The lust for power that this government has is evident from the kind of things that they have done in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and the what they are doing with my government, each of our policy decisions and legislations are being stalled," he said.

 

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