Mindless atmosphere of negativity will damage India's image: PM

      Reiterating his Government's commitment to fight against the menace of corruption in every possible way, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the mindless atmosphere of negativity and pessimism that is sought to be created over the issue of corruption can do us no good, and added that it can only damage the nation's image.

Addressing the 19th CBI and anti-corruption Bureax conference here, Dr. Singh said: "I would like to stress upon the need to protect honest public servants and keep the morale of the executive intact. I have said this in the earlier conferences also, but I think this is something that is worth repeating. We need to ensure that even while the corrupt are relentlessly pursued and brought to book, the innocent are not harassed." "The importance of making a distinction between bonafide mistakes and colorable exercise of power in investigation of corruption cases cannot be over emphasized. This is the point I have emphasized in each and every conference that I have been participating in the last eight years, and I would like to repeat it once again," he added.

Asserting the Centre's commitment to do everything possible to ensure probity, transparency and accountability in governance, Dr Singh said the investigation agencies need to continuously upgrade their skills and techniques to match the newer methods of corruption. "Regular in-service training and frequent exchanges with the top anti-corruption agencies in the world over, would help in this process,' he said. "I am told that the CBI Academy has gradually evolved into a center of excellence. I would like all State Anti-Corruption Bureaux to utilize its services optimally for training their officials. I also believe that collaboration between the CBI and the state anti-corruption agencies in the area of capacity building would benefit both," he added.

Stating that while good training and competence are essential, and in many cases they might not be sufficient, Dr. Singh said: " I would urge the CBI and other anti-corruption agencies to feel free to engage professionals who have the expertise which can assist them in conducting an impartial enquiry in complex cases. Also, institutions established with special focus on economic offences should perhaps be more broad-based and need not be confined only to persons with a policing background. An open mind in this regard could help in imparting credibility to our investigations and securing, also, higher conviction rates."

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