Pranab rules out replacing govt Lokpal Bill

Pranab rules out replacing govt Lokpal Bill

New Delhi: Government on Friday ruled out replacing its Lokpal Bill with another, saying it will be better to have amendments to the one already introduced.

“We are not thinking of replacing it (official bill) by a new bill because it will take time. It will be better to have amendments. After the standing committee recommends the amendments, there will be an opportunity for Parliament to reject it," finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN.

Saying he was “seriously worried" about Hazare’s health, he appealed to him to end the fast.

He dismissed a suggestion that the government has been boxed into a corner, saying sometimes some actions of the government may not be liked by the people. “It is nothing new but the current agitation is not good," he said.

Asked whether the amendments could substantially change the official bill, he said the legislation, which is under consideration of the Standing Committee, already has a large number of provisions of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

“It could be improved but I do not want to say whether this will be substantially different or not," he said.

On the demand of the civil society for including lower bureaucracy in the Lokpal legislation, Mukherjee said the Jan Lokpal wants to cover right from cabinet secretary to Railway Gangman and Postman.

“It will be very difficult to manage. There is a question of practicality. Whenever you enact a law, it should be practical and it should be implementable."

He said the government had suggested that Lokpal could be made very powerful and independent with expenditure charged.