Corruption a threat to democracy, says president

New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) Corruption is a threat to the democratic fabric of the country and frustrates efforts to bring equity, President Pranab Mukherjee said here Saturday, delivering the 14th D.P. Kohli Memorial Lecture organised by the CBI.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was founded by D.P. Kohli, who served as its director from 1963-68. The agency enters its golden jubilee year this year.

The president said the government should work to make healthcare more affordable. The title of the president’s address was “Good governance: Empowering Institutions, Society and Public”.

The president said the country was at a crossroads, and could not lose the momentum of change. He said basic principles of good governance had already been incorporated into the constitution by the nation’s founding fathers.

“Good governance means existence of elaborate architecture that has the good of the people as the only focus,” the president said.

Noting that the root of poor governance was lethargy (in response) to change, he said “good governance should be our unwavering goal.”

He said law enforcement agencies should speed up the process of investigating allegations.

The president said that though India had made development strides, it ranked lower than major developed economies in parameters such as government effectiveness.

“There is scope to improve participatory decision-making,” the president said, noting that poverty still hovered around 30 percent.

The president said affordable healthcare should be the priority, as many people were forced into poverty by the high cost of medicines and medical services.

The president noted how there was emphasis now on empowerment with entitlement, and cited rights-based legislations, including the right to education and the right to information enacted by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government as examples.

He said the direct benefit scheme would help bring greater transparency.

“Corruption is a threat to the democratic fabric It frustrates efforts to bring equity,” the president said.

Complimenting the CBI on its work, he said it was the “most sought after agency for investigation” by every section of society.

He also released the golden jubilee logo of the CBI and the gave President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service to six CBI officers.

Bharat Bhushan Sharma, a constable posted in Jammu, was given the D.P. Kohli Best Detective Constable Award.

CBI director Ranjit Sinha said the golden jubilee was also an occasion for introspection and the people expected the agency to act with greater effectiveness and speed.

He said the agency would frame a plan to bring it on par with the finest law enforcing institutions in the world.

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