Context

  • Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) called for the implementation of the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, the Lokpal Act and the Lokayukta Act to strengthen governance system

What are the salient features of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill?

  • The Act allows setting up of anti-corruption ombudsman called Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the State-level.
  • The Lokpal will cover all categories of public servants, including the Prime Minister.
  • The Act also incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while the prosecution is pending.
  • The States will have to institute Lokayukta within one year of the commencement of the Act.
  • 50 per cent of members of Lokpal shall be from SC/ST/OBCs, minorities and women.
  • Aimed to Provide adequate protection for honest and upright public servants.

What are the salient features of the Whistleblower act?

  • Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011 is an Act in the Parliament of India which provides a mechanism to investigate alleged corruption and misuse of power by public servants
  • It is further aimed at protecting anyone who exposes alleged wrongdoing in government bodies, projects and offices.
  • The Act provides a mechanism for receiving and inquiring into public interest disclosures against acts of corruption, willful misuse of power or discretion, or criminal offences by public servants.
  • The Act was approved by the Cabinet of India as part of a drive to eliminate corruption in the country’s bureaucracy
  • The Act seeks to protect whistle blowers, i.e. persons making a public interest disclosure related to an act of corruption, misuse of power, or criminal offense by a public servant.
  • Any public servant or any other person including a non-governmental organization may make such a disclosure to the Central or State Vigilance Commission.

What are the salient features of the RTI act?

  • Right to Information Act 2005 mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information.
  • The RTI Act was introduced with the sole objective of empowering people, containing corruption, and bringing transparency and accountability in the working of the Government.
  • The Act is a big step towards making the citizens informed about the activities of the Government.

What are the objectives of the Right to Information Act?

  • The basic object of the Right to Information Act is to empower the citizens
  • Promote transparency and accountability in the working of the Government
  • contain corruption
  • make our democracy work for the people in real sense.

what are the hindrances to effective governance in India?

Corruption

  • The prevalence of corruption has diminished the ability of the law enforcement, adversely affected the judiciary, administration and is delaying the fair functioning of the society.

Inefficiency of Bureaucracy

  • Bureaucracy of India is not so efficient in management and administration.
  • The capacity of policy implementation of our bureaucracy is very poor compared to other developing economies.
  • Accountability and transparency are new to the civil society.

Nepotism and Politicization in Public Administration

  • Nepotism is another swearword of our political affairs and administration.
  • Nepotism is the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends
  • Privilege and unfair advantage to the family members, kith’s and kin on public resources is practiced widely
  • Corrupted and inefficient policing increases human rights violation, and false cases.

Improper use of resources

  • Decentralization and funding to the local government is not utilized properly and very often diverted to other purposes.

Poor Planning Strategy

  • Improper planning and use of resources result in scarceness in resources like electricity, water and fuel.
  • Insurgency, Naxalism and discrimination against the minorities
  • Environmental degradation and problems related to land reforms and tribal welfare
  • Without good governance, the benefits of public programs will not reach their target recipients, especially the poor.
  • Emphasizing the strengthening of good governance at the national level, including the building of effective and accountable institutions for promoting growth and sustainable human development will remove the hindrances and pave way to good governance

What is the status of Lokpal bill implementation in India?

  • Despite some progress on the implementation of lokpal, it is still embroiled in some issues of transparency in the selection committee
  • Failure to implement the Lokpal law by the government is an indication of how the one’s in power are reneging with impunity on their promises of a corruption-free India.
  • The Lokpal Amendment Act, 2016, did away with the statutory requirement of public servants to disclose the assets of their spouses and dependent children provided for under the original law.
  • Some of the members in the panel were not happy with the process of appointment by the selection committee and distanced themselves from the process

What is the WBA Amendment bill, 2015?

  • The Bill amends the Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2014.
  • The Bill prohibits the reporting of a corruption related disclosure if it falls under any 10 categories of information.
  • These categories include information related to:
    • Economic, scientific interests and the security of India
    • Cabinet proceedings
    • Intellectual property
    • That received in a fiduciary capacity

What are the loopholes in the WBA amendment bill?

  • This amendment Bill states that complaints by whistle-blowers containing information would prejudicially affect the sovereignty, integrity, security or economic interests of the state shall not be inquired into.
  • The amendment Bill seeks to remove immunity provided to whistle-blowers from prosecution under the draconian Official Secrets Act (OSA) for disclosures made under the WBP law.
  • Whistle-blowers are prosecuted for disclosing information as part of their complaints and not granted immunity from the OSA

What are the measures for good governance taken by India?

  • Bad governance is the root cause of all miss happenings.
  • Most of the features linked with good governance enunciated by World Bank These include
  • Implementing the Lokpal Bill to curb corruption in administration and to investigate allegations against public men
  • Decentralization of power among different layers of Government
  • Holding periodic elections
  • Improving the conduct of elections through electoral reforms
  • Passing the Right to Information Act, 2005 to bring in accountability and transparency in administration,
  • Launching programmes like Citizen’s Charter.

What is the way ahead?

  • The Government must issue a formal Gazette notification stating that a Selection Committee comprising the Chairperson and members, as provided for in Section 4 of the LL Act is set up.
  • The law requires the leader of the opposition to be a member of the committee that will appoint the Lokpal
  • The amendment on the leader of opposition status needs to be introduced and passed in both Houses of Parliament, including the Rajya Sabha, where the NDA government does not have a majority.
  • Then an LOP has to be named following the selection committee must be constituted.
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