NEW DELHI, July 13 : India today reiterated its commitment against corruption and said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has adopted a policy of zero tolerance in this regard.
Addressing the BRICS Ministerial meet on Anti-Corruption, on behalf of India, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said, India under Modi is determined to continue its crusade against corruption and unaccounted money. In pursuance of this, he said, a range of initiatives have been taken by the Modi government over the last 8 years.
Dr Jitendra Singh referred to the India’s Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, which the Modi government amended after 30 years in 2018 to introduce a number of new provisions including criminalizing the act of giving bribe also in addition to taking bribe and at the same time putting in place an effective deterrence for such actions by individuals as well as corporate entities. He also pointed out that the institution of Lokpal has been operationalized by appointment of Chairperson and Members. Lokpal is statutorily mandated to directly receive and process complaints as regards alleged offences against public servants under the Prevention of Corruption Act,1988.
Dr Jitendra Singh informed the Ministers of the BRICS countries and distinguished delegates the various anti-corruption efforts taken by India in the recent past like the effective implementation of e-Governance through extensive use of ICT tools which has reduced the scope of corruption substantially at all levels. He said, steps like MCA21 (for corporates & business houses e-measures), Fully automated Income Tax compliances, Commercial taxes compliances, Passport & Visa services, Digi Locker, Pensions, Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) through Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB), Common Services Centers (CSCs), etc. are few of the successful e-Government endeavors launched under various e-Governance initiatives.
Dr Jitendra Singh also pointed out that systemic improvements and reforms to provide transparent citizen-friendly services and disbursement of welfare benefits directly to the citizens under various schemes of the Government in a transparent manner through the Direct Benefit Transfer initiative checked the menace of corruption in a significant manner. He also added that the National e-Governance Services Delivery Assessment (NeSDA) framework which was conceptualized and launched in August 2018, assesses the effectiveness / quality of the e-Governance service delivery mechanism from the citizen’s perspective.
Dwelling on the theme of BRICS cooperation to combat corruption, Dr Jitendra Singh highlighted few areas of future action like bringing in processes, where fugitive economic offenders can be traced and extradited faster, and their properties situated abroad brought within the reach of the law of the land from which such offenders escape. He also called for striving to prevent the transfer of proceeds of corruption overseas, and effectively implement the FATF Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism financing standards. The Minister underlined the need to develop common understanding on the return of persons and assets sought for such offences and endeavor to strengthen international cooperation against money laundering through enhanced exchange of knowledge between concerned national agencies. There is no second thought that the impact of economic offences, such as, money laundering, banking fraud, tax evasion, etc. on the economy of a country and the global economy is substantial, the Indian side noted.