New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday said his government took some “transformational initiatives” to empower people and fight corruption and listed five key personal challenges to address as India enters the new year.
“These initiatives will take time to have their full effect and we must therefore be patient,” the prime minister said in a long message, listing among others the initiatives taken on judicial accountability, citizens’ charter, lokpal and lokayukta.
“But I do believe they are transformational initiatives, which will be recognised as such a few years down the line,” the prime minister added in the message, which wished citizens a peaceful, productive and secure New Year.
Giving no sign that he was about to throw in the towel after months of political turbulence that put question marks on governance and his leadership, the prime minister said:”I want to assure you all on this New Year’s day that I personally will work to provide an honest and more efficient government, a more productive, competitive and robust economy and a more equitable and just social and political order.”
According to Manmohan Singh, who is mid-way into his second terms as prime minister of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, there were five challenges he would like to address in 2012.
He listed them as: livelihood security, covering education, food, health and employment, economic security, energy security, ecological security and national security. “These will be on top of our policy agenda next year,” he said,
“In addressing each of these five challenges we must work together as a nation, while working with like-minded nations around the world. I assure you that I will work with all the energy at my command to ensure that we meet each of these challenges and overcome them,” the 79-year-old leader said.
The prime minister, while expressing disappointment over the government’s inability to get the lokpal and lokayukta bill passed in the Rajya Sabha, said he was committed to giving an effective and strong law to create these two institutions.
According to him, today’s youth, especially those born after the mid 1980s, may have no memory of the kind of corruption that existed prior to 1991 where it required bribes to get a telephone or a rail ticket, or buy a scooter.
“But even as the creative energies of our people have been unleashed and old forms of corruption have vanished, new forms of corruption have emerged which need to be tackled,” he said.
“Elimination of corruption is critical to support genuine entrepreneurship. It is also the demand of the ordinary citizen who encounters corruption all too often in everyday transactions with those in authority.”