Friday, April 22, 2011

India to ratify UN Convention on Corruption, says PM

New Delhi: Prime minister Manmohan Singh speaking at the Sixth Civil Services Day here on Thursday said that India will soon ratify the UN Convention on Corruption even as the government and civil society are drafting the Lokpal Bill which is to be introduced in the Monsoon Session of parliament.

It was hard to miss the irony of Singh's exhortation to officers when he said, “I expect you to be honest and fearless in advising your superior authorities, especially the political leadership.” He has also asked them to encourage the same habit in their subordinate officers as well.

He said peer pressure could work as a strong deterrent to erring officers. Singh pointed out, “Disapproval and even ostracization by peers and colleagues can be a powerful deterrent for those who tend to stray from the path of rectitude.”

The prime minister cited the popular support displayed by the people of Malkangiri in Orissa when the district collector “was kidnapped by left-wing extremists, is a pointer to the extent of goodwill that well meaning and honest civil servants can achieve.”

He said that it is “instances of individual waywardness, of lack of moral courage, and of surrender to pressures and temptations tarnish the image of the Civil Services and lead to immense criticism and dissatisfaction.”

Referring to the delicate economic situation in the country, Singh explained that the government's “consistent policy has been to control inflation without hurting growth.” He said that civil servants have a crucial role to play in improving growth in agricultural sector and that the brightest among them should be appointed agricultural development commissioners.

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