Indian Parliament Session Postponed Due to Corruption Bill

Posted June 21st, 2011 at 12:10 pm (UTC-5)
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India's government has postponed the next session of parliament to give it more time to reach an agreement with civil society activists on a draft for a tough new anti-corruption bill.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal told reporters Tuesday that the new session would begin on August 1, instead of mid-July, and run through September 8.

Lawmakers have struggled to reach an agreement with civil society activists who are pushing for a tough new law to tackle graft.

The activists are part of a joint panel established by the government in the wake of a campaign by activist Anna Hazare. He and popular yoga guru Baba Ramdev have both taken part in hunger strikes against corruption.

Hazare has called for an independent ombudsman to investigate any allegations of corruption against Indian officials, including the prime minister.

The government has defended its version of the anti-graft law, calling it strong and independent, but says there are wide differences with what the activists are calling for.

India's government has been beleaguered by a series of recent corruption scandals. The largest involves the sale of telecom licenses at below market rates, allegedly causing the loss of up to $40 billion to the government.