Thursday, April 7, 2011

Anna Hazare and the Jan Lokpal Bill

For someone as complacent as me, it comes as a surprise that I am writing a post on Anna Hazare and his fast unto death for the passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Anna Hazare
Anna Hazare needs no introduction for many, however some ignorant souls like me know only a little and had to google to find out more information about him. After retiring from the Indian Army, where he was a driver, he started work in the domain of social development. He is especially remembered for the development of the Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra into a model village.

His new andolan somehow seems to be a part of the series of spontaneous movements, fast sprouting in the Asia and Africa, largely resulting from the disenchantment of the common man with the respective governments in power. I was highly skeptical of something like this ever happening in India, yet its happening and gaining momentum withe very passing day. Especially something so big for an issue that many of us are not even aware of, the Jan Lokpal Bill. However, the fact that it's the fight against corruption at it core, is what brings us all together.  And not to mention the general apathy of the government to do anything substantial to tackle the issue.

What come as a major surprise is the attitude of the central government right now, when its in the dock for some of the biggest scams, and still not doing enough to prevent them in future. The intentions look highly suspicious, though at this stage they should be doing their best to convince public that they are doing their best. Its a good opportunity for Congress to do something to save its face, the indifference at this stage really makes no sense.

Here are pointers about the Lokpal Bill, how the government wants it and what Hazare wants:

Govt. Proposal:

1. Lokpal will have no power to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public. It can only probe complaints forwarded by LS Speaker or RS Chairman.
2. Lokpal will only be an Advisory Body. Its part is only limited to forwarding its report to the "Competent Authority"
3. Lokpal will not have any police powers. It can not register FIRs or proceed with criminal investigations.
4. CBI and Lokpal will have no connection with each other.
5. Punishment for corruption will be minimum 6 months and maximum up-to 7 years.

Hazare Version:

1. Lokpal will have powers to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public.
2. Lokpal will be much more than an Advisory Body. It should be granted powers to initiate Prosecution against anyone found guilty.
3. Lokpal will have police powers. To say that it will be able to register FIRs.
4. Lokpal and anti corruption wing of CBI will be one Independent body.
5. The punishment should be minimum 5 years and maximum up-to life imprisonment.

Read an analysis on the Lokpal bill at scribd.

References: Most information shared here has been derived from Wikipedia page on Anna Hazare. Image reference: Indiareport. More news stories in The Hindu, IndiaToday, and YouTube.

I would love to hear what everyone thinks on this, and what we can do as individuals. Also do share more information on Anna Hazare, I think there is lots more to be learnt from the man.


  1. You know how serious the government is on this issue when it appoints a Sharad Pawar in the anti corruption panel. He who is perhaps the grandfather of corruption! Thankfully he resigned because Anna had questioned his presence in such a panel.

    And quoting from a tweet I read - Hazare and Manmohan are behaving like a conjugal couple - one wont eat and the other won't listen.

  2. i agree with Purba. the everyday debate on the tv doesnt speak of this bill having a even margin of luck for its passage!.

  3. I think whatever is goin on, is essential for the development of the democracy. The voice of the mango man shud be heard and respected in a genuine democracy. i guess anna is just trying to do the same. and its heartening to see the response coming from the youth, a light of hope in darkness!!!!! Kudos to the all the Indians voicing against corruption..


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