Wrongdoers in coal blocks, 2G allocations to be punished: PM

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) The UPA is committed to transparency and allegations of impropriety in telecom spectrum and coal blocks allocations are being investigated and wrongdoers will be punished, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Wednesday.

Speaking at a function at his official residence to mark four years of the United Progressive Alliance-II government, the prime minister said the government has introduced transparent systems for future, like auctions rather than administrative allocations.

“Much is made of problems that arose with the way scarce resources, such as spectrum and mining blocks, were allocated in the past and there have been allegations of deliberate malfeasance,” he said.

The prime minister said the problems with past allocations were being dealt with, as they should be, under the Law.

“Allegations of impropriety are being investigated and cases of wrongdoing will be punished. But we can claim credit that the root cause of the problem, which was the perceived non-transparency in the manner of allocation, has been addressed and these problems will not arise in the future,” he said.

Saying that improving the quality of governance in a vast nation like India was a major challenge, the prime minister called upon the states to act to deal with this problem.

“The weaknesses in governance erode trust and faith in government and we cannot, as a people, afford such an outcome,” he said.

Talking about measures taken by the government to ensure transparency in the governance, Manmohan Singh said: “The Right to Information Act has become a key instrument of empowerment of people. They now access information that reveals deficiencies and puts pressure on the system to take corrective steps.”

“We have introduced the Lokpal Bill, which responds to a very wide demand for a more independent institution to probe allegations of corruption. We have introduced a government procurement bill which will make the process of government procurements and contracts much more transparent, thus, reducing the opportunities for corruption,” he said.

“We have introduced a land acquisition and rehabilitation act to replace an old and highly unfair colonial legislation with a new act which will be much fairer to those whose land is acquired,” he added.

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