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India India’s Prime Minister Vows To Fight Corruption

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
February 16, 2011

India’s Prime Minister Vows to Fight Corruption

By JIM YARDLEY - The New York Times

NEW DELHI — Faced with broad criticism of his government and of his own performance, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India on Wednesday vowed to complete his term while promising to crack down on corruption scandals that have stained India’s image at home and abroad.

Mr. Singh, who leads India’s coalition United Progress Alliance government, sought to directly address mounting speculation about his own status and about whether his government — with more than three years remaining in its five-year term — was capable of righting itself and addressing the litany of problems facing the nation.

“We have a functioning government, and whatever some people will say — that we are a lame-duck government, that I am a lame-duck prime minister — we take our job very seriously,” he said in a nationally televised news conference. “We are here to govern and to govern effectively, tackle the problems as they arise, and get this country moving forward.”

For months, India’s coalition government, led by the Indian National Congress Party, has been beset by scandal, infighting and unmet expectations. Corruption scandals, covered feverishly in the Indian media, have ranged from malfeasance in the allocation of 2G telecommunications spectrum, questionable contracts in the staging of the Commonwealth Games ,contractual irregularities in the national space program, and more.

Mr. Singh, who has long enjoyed a reputation for probity, has found himself on the defensive in the telecom scandal, as critics have blamed him for failing to intervene with the country’s former telecom minister, A. Raja, even as irregularities were becoming apparent. Mr. Raja, a member of a south Indian regional party included in the coalition government, has since resigned and been arrested in connection with allegations that he cost the Indian treasury billions of dollars by selling spectrum to mobile phone companies at below-market rates in exchange for bribes.

On Wednesday, Mr. Singh described the corruption scandals as the greatest regret of his current term in office. But he defended his own actions, particularly in the telecom scandal, noting that his office had made inquiries into whether 2G spectrum should have been auctioned off — as later happened in the sale of 3G spectrum — rather than allocated. He said different government ministries, at the time, argued against an auction. As for the details of how the spectrum was ultimately allocated, the prime minister added, “that was never discussed with me.”

Asked why he reappointed Mr. Raja as telecom minister in 2009, even as allegations of wrongdoing were spilling into the media, Mr. Singh alluded to the constraints of coalition politics, in which smaller parties in the coalition are often allowed to name certain ministers as quid pro quo for supporting the government.

“In a coalition government, you can suggest your preferences,” he said, adding that ultimately, though, the decision rested with the leader of Mr. Raja’s party.

Nitin Gadkari, president of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, quickly criticized the prime minister’s comments. “He has expressed his own helplessness,” Mr. Gadkari said. “He has completely failed in checking corruption. You cannot justify corruption in the name of coalition politics.”

Mr. Gadkari added: “He is not able to control the bureaucracy and not able to control the coalition partners.”

Mr. Singh’s news conference came as India’s Parliament is scheduled to meet later this month to pass the budget. Opposition parties blocked any activity during Parliament’s winter session as a protest over the government’s refusal to empower a joint parliamentary committee for investigating the telecom scandal.

Initially, government leaders argued that a different parliamentary committee was already investigating the scandal — making another investigation unnecessary.

But in recent days, the government has been negotiating terms to create a joint investigative committee in exchange for opposition parties allowing the parliamentary session to go forward. Opposition leaders have blamed Mr. Singh for resisting the joint committee for fear of having to testify before it — a claim the prime minister described as “entirely wrong” on Wednesday.

“I’m not afraid of appearing before any committee,” he said.

In his comments, Mr. Singh beseeched the Indian media not to focus on the negative, fretting that “an impression has gone out that we are a scam-crippled country and that nothing good is happening.” He noted that India’s economy continues to thrive, with economic growth projected at 8.5 percent, and that the government had been effective in maintaining domestic security amid regular threats of terrorism.

But his call for more positive coverage seemed to attract little sympathy. Within an hour of his news conference, Mr. Singh’s comments were being criticized on blog postings and on Twitter.



Apr 3, 2005
What surprises me that USA' media is supporting Manmohan Singh while Indian media today totally deserted him.Even the most pro Manmohan Journalists ,Political experts were in no mood to defend him.I was today watching several channels and even found congress spokesperson going hyper as no one was supporting the arguement which PM gave

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Jul 4, 2004
Indian Body-politic has Terminal Leukimia (Corruption). Even the lowest of the lowest Chaprrasee wants a BRIBE to let you in the door...and then the real money talk begins..all the way UP....more and more ZEROES get added to the amount as your file travels through the Maze !!...............Manmohan cant fight this Monster...No body can. Hes just a SEAT WARMER..and I am surprised Indians cant see thats WHY Manmohan is Now PAST TENSE to the Indian media...the Indian Media knows its bread is going to be buttered by the NEW INCOMING PM..not the OUTGOING ONE. The Western Media however want to give a life line to Manmohan to "save" himslef..IF he can...and IF he cant ( like dear Hosni of Egypt..) then Goodbye Manmohan it has to be !! And the New Game of Musical Chairs begins..Let the Music Start !!
Jan 15, 2011
Most of the communities in India (such as Bengali), are succumbed in 'Culture of Poverty'(a theory introduced by an American anthropologist Oscar Lewis), irrespective of class or economic strata, lives in pavement or apartment. Nobody is at all ashamed of the deep-rooted corruption, decaying general quality of life, worst Politico-administrative system, weak mother language, continuous absorption of common space (mental as well as physical, both). We are becoming fathers & mothers only by self-procreation, mindlessly & blindfold. Simply depriving their(the children) fundamental rights of a decent, caring society, fearless & dignified living. Do not ever look for any other positive alternative behaviour (values) to perform human way of parenthood, i.e. deliberately co-parenting of those children those are born out of ignorance, real poverty. All of us are being driven only by the very animal instinct. If the Bengali people ever be able to bring that genuine freedom (from vicious cycle of 'poverty') in their own life/attitude, involve themselves in 'Production of Space’(Henri Lefebvre), at least initiate a movement by heart, decent & dedicated Politics will definitely come up.

Dear Siddharthamithu ji

I have removed your address. People should get in touch with you through SPN private messages. That is safer on the Internet. :)



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