NEW DELHI: Noting that only lip services have been done for efforts to prevent conflict of interest in policy, the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) would be hosting a roundtable conference in the national capital to brainstorm on ways to push the issue to the forefront of the public discourse.
"The Government of India did recognize the need to prevent conflict of interest when it found a prominent place in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's publicized 17 point agenda unveiled on July 2014. But it proved to be just a lip service. Conflict of interest is clearly not on priority in the political agenda of the country. With this background, the SJM is organizing a roundtable conference," said the SJM co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan.
The SJM stated that the Rajya Sabha's department-related Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice in its 69th Report had recommended that conflict of interest be included under bribery (15 A).
The RSS affiliate also recalled a private member Bill brought in 2015 titled 'The Prevention and Management of Conflict of Interest Bill" in the Rajya Sabha. However, the bill didn't progress further.The BJP MP Feroze Varun Gandhi too while backing the private member bill had sought reforms to have a mandatory conflict of interest framework.
"He emphasized that this will be crucial in preventing cases of corruption," added Mahajan. The roundtable will be held on September 11. "Aim of the roundtable is to galvanize action to prevent and manage Conflict of Interest in public governance and policy arena. Besides, there will be discussions to understand definition and concept of conflicts of interest and Share examples of conflict of interest in public policy," added Mahajan.
The SJM is holding the roundtable also in the background of levelling allegations of conflict of interest against the NITI Aayog in framing the National Nutrition policy.