Per­cep­tion and Fact

By re­mov­ing its harsher pro­vi­sions, the In­dian gov­ern­ment has made the Lok­pal Act more ac­cept­able.

Southasia - - CONTENTS - By S.G. Ji­la­nee

In­dia takes an im­por­tant

step for­ward.

The Congress-led United Pro­gres­sive Al­liance (UPA) gov­ern­ment passed the Lok­pal and Lokayukta Act (LL Act) in 2013 in re­sponse to a coun­try­wide ag­i­ta­tion against cor­rup­tion led by Anna Hazare. But, in a bid to be seen as crack­ing down on those who swin­dle pub­lic money or re­sources, it in­tro­duced pro­vi­sions which are too dra­co­nian.

The Lok­pal Act brings un­der its purview any NGO “wholly or partly funded by the Union gov­ern­ment to the ex­tent of one crore ru­pees or more and has re­ceived Rs 10 lakhs or more in for­eign do­na­tions. The pro­vi­sions of the act, “not only in­trude into the pri­vacy of in­di­vid­u­als, but also pro­vide the lee­way for of­fi­cials to ha­rass peo­ple,” an­a­lysts say, adding that, “over­reg­u­la­tion may not only sti­fle the vol­un­tary sec­tor but also force vol­un­teers and donors to stay away. Many trus­tees, di­rec­tors and pro­fes­sional man­agers in NGOs, who could be phi­lan­thropists, ex­perts and em­i­nent per­sons from dif­fer­ent walks of life, wouldn’t want their as­sets and li­a­bil­i­ties loosely posted on gov­ern­ment web­sites.”

In­dia has fol­lowed a clear course since the be­gin­ning of eco­nomic re­forms in 1991 of do­ing away with the tyranny of “red tape and in­spec­tor raj.” At the same time, the di­rec­tion has also been “to en­cour­age en­ter­prises and in­di­vid­u­als alike to in­vest their precious and fi­nite re­sources such as time and money, in ar­eas

in­clud­ing health

Anna Hazare

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