India at a crossroads

Anna Hazare has been agitating against corruption in Indian Administration and politics for the past few years. He went on a fast in April that met with widespread support for the institution of the Jan Lokpal Bill or the Peoples Ombudsman Bill. Anna Hazare is to now fast at a Mumbai Ground to pressure the government to pass the Bill that is tabled before it in Parliament in the format of the Jan Lokpal Bill without the exclusions that the Government seeks to make. The non negotiable demands are that Lokpal and Lokayuktas should have power to suo moto initiate their own investigations, the obmudsman should be able to carry out independent probe, selection of Lokpal should be through consensus of the selection panel and bringing the lower bureaucracy under direct control of the Lokpal.

Mr. Hazare has faced many hurdles in his bid to hold the agitation at a ground in Mumbai. He will be fasting at the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) grounds, and has had a tough time getting permission to do so. His team has also had to pay a hefty fee to secure this as the venue for the movement in Mumbai.

The idea of an anti corruption bill resonates with a majority of Indians who are fed up with supporting an inefficient government that seems bent on destroying rather than building the country. Stories of corruption at an unimaginable scale are constantly in the news while the common man struggles without basic amenities. People see all the work they have put in towards a shining India going into Swiss bank accounts and are quite ready to do something to change this. Team Anna is also supported by many eminent Indians such as Kapil dev and Kiran Bedi.

The Lokpal Bill has been in discussion for decades, and it appears that the people making India’s laws are not too keen to have an Ombudsman looking over their shoulders. There are a few people who believe that the Laws that already exist are strong enough to fight corruption and it’s the implementation of these laws that needs to change. Other opponents to the Jan Lokpal Bill are wary of a non elected body having power over the elected representatives of the people.

These are interesting times for India, on many fronts it appears that the people have given their best and now it’s the Governments turn to support this work and take it to the next level. One wonders if they will yet again let the Indian people down and lose them the chance to live in a shining India.

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