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Munnabhai's Gandhigiri floors PM

November 17, 2006 18:36 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said he was moved by the plight of a senior citizen who was being denied his pension by corrupt government officials as depicted in the Bollywood movie Lage Raho Munnabhai.

"When I recently watched the popular Hindi movie, Lage Raho Munnabhai, the one incident that touched me most was the ordeal of a senior citizen trying to get his pension without having to pay a bribe. In stripping his clothes, as an act of protest, this pensioner was stripping our system, exposing the ugly nakedness of the self-aggrandisement of those who man our institutions of governance," Dr Singh said while delivering a key note address at the international Interpol Conference organised by the Central Bureau of Investigations on Friday.

"Any system, in which a retired senior citizen is required to pay a bribe to secure his legitimate dues, is the most despicable system. Such corruption must be visited by the sternest action to reform, restructure and rejuvenate the system. The very legitimacy of the State and its various institutions is brought into question by such illegal exercise of power and authority," the prime minister said.

He announced that the government proposed to bring forward a Public Services Bill before Parliament, which would define a public services code of ethics and management. It will also protect whistleblowers and have the overall objective of developing public services as a professional, politically neutral, merit based, and accountable instrument for promoting good governance and better delivery of services to all our citizens.

"In helping the government deal with this cancer from within, all of you, have an important role to play and I commend the good work that all of you are engaged in. The anti-corruption machinery in the country should create deterrence against corruption by aggressively pursuing cases of high-level corruption to their logical end," he said.

CBI Director Vijay Shankar told that the agency would like to set up fast courts to deal with the anti-corruption cases, which were piling up in various courts both at the lower court and high court levels.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi