New Delhi, June 3: In a bid to dissuade Baba Ramdev from going ahead with his fast, government tonight assured him that the maximum punishment for corruption would be “substantially increased” but remained silent on his demand that those who indulge in huge graft should be hanged.
In a point-by-point response to the issues raised by the yoga guru who will go on an indefinite hunger strike from tomorrow, the cabinet secretariat, in a late night statement, said the possibility of ill-gotten money being confiscated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act could also be explored.
Besides, the Department of Personnel is considering the inclusion of a chapter in the Prevention of Corruption Act to provide for confiscation of ill-gotten wealth, it said.
The joint drafting committee on Lokpal bill has under its consideration stronger punishment for the corrupt, the statement said.
“The maximum punishment for cases of corruption would be increased substantially,” it said.
The statement said government is open to the idea of more special courts to speed up trial of corruption cases.
On the demand of the yoga guru for enactment of public services delivery legislation, government said it was prepared to introduce a Public Services Delivery Bill in Parliamenmt at the earliest and to prepare a model bill for adoption by state governments.
It assured Ramdev that the Centre will encourage states to adopt the Model Bill to improve the quality and timeliness of public service delivery.
The government also proposed to declare wealth accmmulated illegally as national asset and providing exemplary punishment to corrupt.
On the contentious issue of land acquisition, the government told Ramdev that it was committed to “wide public consultations” on the amendments to the Land Acquisition Act.
Dwelling at length on the issue of black money, it explained to the yoga guru the legal framework regulated by the Reserve Bank of India for the opening of bank accounts overseas by Indian residents.
It also detailed the provisions under the PMLA for initiating action against the guilty. He was also informed that the tainted proceeds parked overseas can be recovered through Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties. India has such treaties with 26 countries.
Agencies enforcing these bilateral laws have been strengthened and action is being taken in all cases where credible information is available. In the last two years, over Rs 33,000 crore of mispricing has been detected in international trade and over Rs 30,000 crore of tax evasion detected at home.
Ramdev was told that the government proposes to expand its Immigration/Emigration databases and build a database of Indians going frequently to foreign countries considered to be tax havens and returning to India.
On the issue of minimum support price to the farm produce, the government said even now they are based on cost calculations.
Elaborate studies are conducted by the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices each year before government finalises the minimum support prices.
These cost studies form the basis of the minimum support prices that are announced. The labour put in by the farmers is also part of the costs. Government will facilitate explanation of the methodology followed by the Commission at the technical level, Ramdev was informed. PTI