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India Inc welcomes passage of Lokpal bill

India Inc. Tuesday welcomed the passage of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill in the upper house of parliament, which seeks the creation of an anti-corruption ombudsman throughout the country.

"Setting up of an independent office to probe and prosecute corruption is expected to add transparency and accountability to the decision-making and administrative processes while alleviating systemic malpractices," said S.Gopalakrishnan, president, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). 

"Industry hopes that the entire suite of related legislation including for whistleblower protection and grievance redressal would also be passed expeditiously. The Lokpal Bill would encourage investments and add to investor confidence."

The other leading industry body, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), said that though it is still studying the bill, the latest legislation can play a positive role in improving confidence across various sections of society and industry.

"FICCI welcomes the passage of the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha. The endeavour towards enhancing transparency and bringing greater probity in public life would help in the country's overall growth and development," said Naina Lal Kidwai, president, FICCI.

Earlier, FICCI and consultancy major E&Y jointly conducted a survey on "Bribery and Corruption: Ground Reality in India" which found the high negative impact corruption has on foreign direct investments (FDI) inflows and the investment climate in the country . 

The latest legislation is the most prominent of the group of anti-graft bills on the anvil. The Lokpal bill seeks to establish a Lokpal at the central level and asks states to establish Lokayuktas within a year's time from the date of notification of the law. The format of the Lokayukta will be left to the state assemblies to decide.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha at the fag end of the winter session of 2011 but not by the Rajya Sabha where it was debated but the house was adjourned before voting on it.

A select committee of the Rajya Sabha later suggested changes in the bill which were incorporated and approved by the union cabinet.

Now the bill will again have to be sent to the Lok Sabha for the lower house to approve the changes.

The bill will be taken up in the Lok Sabha Wednesday.