New Delhi: Asserting that good governance should be the unwavering goal, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said lack of good governance is the root cause of many serious deficiencies in society as it robs the citizenry of their security and rights.

Corruption is a threat to the democratic fabric of our country which would frustrate the efforts to bring equity to all its citizens, Mukherjee said while delivering the 14th D P Kohli Memorial lecture here on the occasion of Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the CBI.

"Lack of good governance has been identified as the root cause of many of the serious deficiencies in society. It robs the citizenry of their security, and their social and economic rights," he said. Emphasising that growth must be inclusive and sustainable, Mukherjee said, "poverty is still around 30 percent and it is not something that we can live with. Statistics of economic progress will count for nothing if we are not able to uplift the marginalised sections of the society."

He said the country is at the crossroads of transformation and cannot afford to lose the momentum of change. "There are several challenges we face and we should face them with determination and conviction. And at the root of them is the issue of governance," Mukherjee said. He said delivery systems need change and only good governance can provide an answer to the problem. "If what is meant for the poor does not reach them in the proportion it is meant to, then corruption and inefficiency are its two main causes."

Several steps have been taken towards bringing more transparency in governance which include the ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption, membership of the Financial Action Task Force besides legislations to curb bribery in various quarters, Mukherjee said.

Referring to the gang-rape of a 23-year-old medical student in December last year, Mukherjee said, "at the root of poor governance is our lethargy for change, whether it is in the implementation of schemes or adherence to is time to reset our moral compass." Police and investigative organisations can play a crucial role in creating conditions that could engender social changes, he said.

"An alert police force and investigative agency can ensure that no crime goes unpunished. It is important to ensure speedy and thorough investigation of allegations. The prosecution should also be speedy so that the guilty are punished without delay. This would enhance the deterrent value of punishment," he said.

The President said challenges to governance systems are reflected in some important international analyses which are mainly dependent on the social index. "India's ranking in key governance indicators like Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law and Control of Corruption are lower than countries such as Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US," he said.

On the occasion, he gave gave the President Police Medal for distinguished Services to CBI Joint Director Keshav Kumar, Assistant Director (Interpol) N S Kharayat, Superintendent of Police Javed Siraj, Inspector R K Gaur, Additional SP Ravinder Singh Jaggi and Inspector Jeet Singh.

He gave D P Kohli Award for the Best Detective Constable award to Bharat Bhushan Sharma posted at Jammu. The President also felicitated former chiefs of the central probe agency who had come here with their families.


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