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Jointly till The End of Time
JPC for 2G Scam is Illogical, Considering The Past Record of JPCs in India
24/12/2010

Opposition parties including CPI () and BJP are strongly demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to investigate the 2G scam, which is estimated to have cost the nation Rs.1.76 lakh crore. But the JPC may not be the solution, considering the track record of JPCs conducted before.

There have been four JPCs conducted. The first ever JPC was instituted to investigate the Bofors contract on August 6, 1987 after a 45 days logjam of Parliament. The scale of the scandal was to the tune of Rs.400 million. The committee, under the leadership of B. Shankaranand, held 50 sittings and gave its report on April 26, 1988. Opposition parties rejected the committee saying that most members were from the Congress party. The second JPC was conducted to inquire into irregularities in Securities and Banking Transactions in the aftermath of the Harshad Mehta scandal involving over Rs.6 billion under former Union minister and senior Congress leader Ram Niwas Mirdha on August 6, 1992. It took nine years to prepare a report in 2002 but it was tabled in Parliament in 2005. Still, the recommendations were neither fully accepted nor implemented. The third was on the Ketan Parekh scam involving money worth Rs.30 million on April 26, 2001. The committee did present the report in 2002 and Ketan Parekh was arrested (then got bail too), but a lot of recommendations including sweeping changes in stock market regulations were ignored. The fourth JPC was on the pesticide residues in soft drinks, fruit juice and other beverages and to set safety standards. While the result was found positive, no productive actions were taken. The fact of the matter is JPCs only recommend, but cannot force governments to take action. While we have CAG, PAC, et al; another JPC would prove costly since it also kills Parliament time. Then why does the opposition wish a JPC probe? Well, to kill time...

By:- Akram Hoque
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