READ: Anna's open letter to all MPs
Social activist Anna Hazare on Tuesday issued an open letter to all members of Parliament, appealing them to prevent introduction of the 'anti-poor' Lokpal Bill passed by the Cabinet last week.
Dear Hon'ble Members of the Parliament,
Like many of you, I have been serving my country to strengthen democracy at the grass roots. Like many of you, all my efforts have been focussed on reducing the sufferings of the common man, the poor farmer, worker or service person.
Again, like many of you, I have seen from very close quarters how corruption hurts the poor most.
It is only to protect his interests that I volunteered to be a part of the joint drafting committee. I regret to share, that many issues, which were addressing the common man's persisting concerns have been totally overlooked in the government-cleared bill.
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Image: Social activist Anna Hazare with joint draft committee member Kiran Bedi
Lack of a strong Public Grievance Redressal mechanism with penalties
For example, a strong Public Grievance Redressal mechanism with penalties would ensure that all departments can work effectively to reduce corruption, which is creating so much misery for the poor.
Inclusion of lower bureaucracy under the ambit of the Lokpal most cases of corruption of poor, farmers, workers and general populace would be in the interaction with the lower bureaucracy.
All cases of corruption, even at higher level and political levels would not be possible without involvement of the lower officers.
The same bill should create a strong, accountable and independent Lokpal, as well as Lokayuktas at state level, because many of the corruption cases that affect the poor involve state government officers.
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Image: A video grab of cash-for-vote scam
Photographs: Courtesy: Lok Sabha TV
'The common man has been left out again'
Independent selection, funding and removal mechanism to ensure autonomy of function. Strong effective checks and balances to ensure accountability and transparency of the Lokpal and Lok Ayuktas.
Many other important issues such as the coverage of the prime minister, the judiciary, MPs, dismissal of corrupt officers, strong punishment, empowerment along with checks and balance of Lokpal etc are some other issues that we have been raising.
While there are many important issues in the lokpal, I write to focus and highlight the plight of the common man who was left out again.
It is my hope that Parliament will continue to uphold its glorious heritage and prevent introduction of such an ANTI-POOR bill by the government.
Image: A farmer shows his dry patch of land