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Will the recently passed Lok Pal Bill end Corruption in India?

The Lokpal bill became an act on 1st January, 2014, after receiving the consent of the President of India.

The Lokpal bill has a long history. It was first introduced by advocate Shanti Bhushan in 1968 and passed in fourth loksabha in 1969. But the loksabha was dissolved before the bill could be passed and the bill lapsed. After that the bill was put forward in many of the loksabha sessions but it could not be passed.

It was only after the campaign 'India Against Corruption' started in 2011 by nna Hazare that the Lokpal bill again gain momentum.

Anna Hazare again began fasting on April 2013. This finally the Lokpal Bill to be passed in loksabha and then in the Rajya Sabha in December 2013.

Before getting into the question of whether the Lokpal Bill would be effective to end corruption in India or not let us get into the detailed features of the Lokpal Bill of 2014.

Lokpal Bill, also known as Citizens Ombudsman Bill has the following features:
There will be an anti-corruption body called Lokpal appointed at the centre with Lokyukta at the state level.

Members of Lokpal are to be appointed by judges. A Selection Committee will be set up to appoint the members. Member can be an IAS officer with good records.

Protection measures will be taken against whistle-blowers. Lokyukta shall be publishing every month on its website the cases that they have investigated and what actions they have taken. If an officer of Lokpal is found to be guilty of corrupt practices, complaints against him will be investigated within a month and if the charges against him are found to be true, he shall be dismissed within two months. It can receive complaints from general public. It will have Police power and even the power to register FIRs.

Prime Minister and even judiciary can be investigated with the prior permission of seven member lokpal bench.

Lokpal can demand a fine of upto Rs. 1,00,000 if the complaints are found to be fraudulent.

CVC and anti-corruption wing of CBI are merged with Lokpal.

Lokpal has the authority to tap telephones to obtain secret information.

The Lokpal Bill has received many criticisms. The very concept of Lokpal Bill has been criticised by Human Resource Development minister Kapil Sibbal.

CBI was not pleased with the decision of merging the anti-corruption wing of CBI with Lokpal.

However Lokpal bill has received huge public support. Anna Hazare's campaign, his fasting once again aroused the interest of public in this matter all the more.

Surveys showed that nearly 87% public supported the bill. More than a million people have voted Online for the Anti-Graft campaign.

Now the big question will the Lokpal Bill be able to put an end to corruption in India? Corruption lies in the minds of people. Corruption is a weed that's once planted is difficult to be uprooted. A law may be powerful enough to take sufficient measures against such an act, but is it is not sufficient to changes the minds of the people.

There is a feeling among people that even though our country has laws to punish the guilty, but these laws are often twisted for the people in power. This idea needs to be changed. If people do not protest against corruptions, there will not be any punishment for the guilty, no matter how many laws are made.

The Lokpal has ears to listen to complaints. We need the voice to reach those ears.

Anwesha Bandopadhyay

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