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Manmohan Singh promises to enactment of an effective Lokpal act in his New Year message

December 31, 2011 - New Delhi

In his New Year message to the nation, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, said that the UPA Government is committed to enact an effective Lokpal Bill.

Dr. Singh said: "New institutions such as the Lokpal and the Lokayuktas are an important part of the solution and we have initiated the process for establishing them. But this is only one part of the solution. We also need reforms in systems of government which would increase transparency and minimise discretion so that the scope of misgovernance is reduced."

" We have taken several steps in this regard. We have introduced in Parliament a Bill on Citizen's Charters which will empower citizens to demand services at appropriate standards from government departments. We have introduced a Bill on Judicial Accountability," he added.

While urging everybody to maintain patience over the enactment of the anti-graft legislation, Dr. Singh said : "These initiatives will take time to have their full effect and we must therefore be patient. But I do believe they are transformational initiatives, which will be recognised as such a few years down the line."

Expressing delight over the introduction of Food Security Bill and the Lok Pal and Lok Ayukta Bill in Parliament, Dr.Singh said: "I believe we have made more progress than is commonly realised. I am personally delighted that Government was able to introduce the Food Security Bill and the Lok Pal and Lok Ayukta Bill in Parliament. The Lok Pal and Lok Ayukta Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha. It is unfortunate that the Bill could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha. However, our Government is committed to the enactment of an effective Lok Pal Act."

"Taken together with the Right to Information Act, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and the Right to Education Act, these are legislative legacies that generations of Indians will come to value, appreciate and benefit from," he added.

Emphasising on the challenges ahead, Dr. Singh said: "On this New Year's Day I do not wish to dwell on the year gone by. Instead, I would like to focus instead on the challenges of the future, so that we can all work together to over come them. Our biggest challenge today remains that of banishing poverty, ignorance and disease."

"Simultaneously, we must work to build an India that holds the promise of prosperity to the many millions of our people who are just beginning to emerge out of poverty. We must remain focused on this fundamental task in the Twelfth Plan period which begins in 2012-13," he added.

The Prime Minister said concerted efforts of the central government, the state governments, political parties and indeed all concerned citizens are needed to meet the key challenges facing the nation.

"First, there is the urgent challenge of eradicating poverty, hunger and illiteracy and providing gainful employment to all. I call this the challenge of Livelihood Security," said Dr. Singh.

"There are many steps we need to take to address this challenge and of these, the most important is to empower every citizen with the light of education. I say this with the deepest conviction because I know what education did for me," he added.

Dr. Singh further emphasized on the importance of education for children.

"I was born into a family of modest means, in a village without a doctor or a teacher, no hospital, no school, no electricity. I had to walk miles every day to go to school, but I persevered and was fortunate to be able to secure a high school education, and then go on to higher education. It is this access to education that transformed my life and gave me new opportunities which others with my background could not dream of," said Dr. Singh.

"I firmly believe that educating our children, providing them with employable skills, while also ensuring their good health, must be our first and primary task. There is no better investment we can make in the future - the future of our children, of our families, of our communities, and of our nation," he added.

The Prime Minister also called for generating a growth process that can provide gainful employment to all.

"Along with education and affordable health care, we must also generate a growth process that can provide gainful employment to all. This is the only way that we can wipe out poverty in a sustainable fashion," said Dr. Singh.

"However, since many elements of this strategy will take time to bear full fruit, we must in the meantime pay urgent attention to the needs of those who need immediate support. It is for this reason that the government has taken steps to provide minimum employment and access to food to those who need it most," he added.


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