Karela Fry

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What does Anna Hazare want?

with one comment

August 25, 2011

Yesterday the government offered to change its draft of the Lokpal bill to bring the Prime Minister’s office under the purview of the act. It also offered to take both their draft and that of the Kejriwal-Bhushan-Hazare-Bedi organization to the parliament. This did not bring the agitation to an end. The team’s new demands include all the old demands which have not been met, and a few others. Here is the current tally via TOI:

The 74-year-old Gandhian said that to end his fast, he had set the following conditions before the government: Discuss the Jan Lokpal Bill in Parliament, bring lower bureaucracy under the Lokpal, appoint Lokayuktas in the states and prepare a citizens’ charter.

August 17, 2011

In an article written before the dramatic and ill-thought-out arrest of Anna Hazare and several others on August 16, Tehelka addressed the question that a lot of people are asking: namely, what the main differences between Anna Hazare’s movement and the government are now. The article quotes Prashant Bhushan:

1) There should be a provision to set up State Lokayuktas simultaneously with a central Lokayukta through the central Lokpal Bill. (The government’s bill has only made provision for setting up a central Lokpal. This would mean to push for setting up Lokayuktas in all the states might need civil society to create separate and heated agitations in each of these states.)

2) A more broad-based selection process for the Lokpal along the lines suggested by them. (This is a fair demand as the government draft has made no attempt to ensure the independence of the Lokpal and remove the problem of “conflict of interest” in the selection process)

3) A better and more fool-proof process for removal of Lokpal if there is any misconduct, along the lines suggested by Team Anna. (Again, this is a fair demand as the removal clause in the government draft would allow for a lot of interference and discretion from the government, thereby compromising the independence of the Lokpal.)

4) Inclusion of a strong whistleblower protection program in the government’s Lokpal Bill. (Again a reasonable demand from Team anna as the current government draft has ignored this altogether.)

5) Removal of the clause in the government bill that currently has a provision that might allow for severe harassment of the complainant or whistleblower, thereby deterring people from complaining.

6) Bring the CBI entirely under the Lokpal. (This demand remains somewhat contentious as the government draft bill has already created provision for the Lokpal to have an independent investigative agency. But Team Anna wants the government to have no agency looking into corruption under their power at all.)

While most people agree with the idea that there should be a check on corruption in the government, there is wide disagreement with the draft bill initially presented by Hazare and his co-workers. The article has a paragraph which sums up the unease that many feel about the movement:

Rallies, hunger strikes, even other more escalated forms of peaceful protest are legitimate ways to draw attention to grievance. But there can be no substitute for reasoned debate as far as legislation goes.

The questions that remain: why is the government adamant on its stand? Why do other political parties who are supposedly pro-Hazare not introduce their bill as a private member’s bill?


One Response

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  1. […] the best report I’ve come across on the parliament’s resolution yesterday which broke Hazare’s movement: Today’s resolution only claims the House “agrees in principle” on a citizen’s charter, […]

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