New Delhi (Agencies): With his government under fire over various scams, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday categorically dwelt out against corruption, saying that it erodes the roots of good governance, dents the country's international image and "demeans us before our own people".

He said, "Corruption strikes at the roots of good governance. It is an impediment to faster growth. It dilutes, if not negates, our efforts at social inclusion.”

"This is a challenge which has to be faced frontally, boldly and quickly," he said addressing the annual conference of chief secretaries of states here.

"It dents our international image and it demeans us before our own people," Singh said.

Referring to the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee and set up recently to look into all measures, legal or administrative, to tackle the menace, he said two bills have already been introduced in Parliament relating to judicial accountability and the protection of whistle blowers.

"Along with legislation, the necessary revamp of administrative practises and procedures needs to be fast-tracked. A systemic response that reduces opportunities for corruption needs to be put in place," Singh said.

Turning to the problems being faced by Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, minorities, women and other vulnerable groups, the Prime Minister told the bureaucrats to lead their administration in preventing such atrocities and ensuring punishment to the perpetrators when they do occur.

While addressing chief ministers three days ago, he had said that it was a "shame" that atrocities against SCs and STs still continue in the country.

"I expect a similar sensitive and responsible attitude towards the issue of violence against our women," Singh said.