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Anti-graft bill in budget session

Shillong, March 4: A new anti-corruption law is on the anvil after the Mukul Sangma cabinet today decided to table the Meghalaya Lokayukta bill during the upcoming budget session of the state Assembly.

The bill, which is in line with the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, or the Lokpal Act, 2013, will replace the Meghalaya Lokayukta Act, 2013. However, the bill will have minor changes from the principal act, which received the Presidentís assent on January 1 after the bill was passed by Parliament.

Briefing reporters, Sangma said the Lokayukta in Meghalaya would have five members, inclusive of a chairman.

The head of the Lokayukta would be either a retired judge or a retired secretary at the Union government level or a retired chief secretary.

An individual, who is eligible for appointment as a high court judge, would be qualified for being selected as a member of the anti-corruption body.

The cabinet also removed a clause from the principal law which said all NGOs which receive over Rs 10 lakh as donation per annum would be brought under the Lokayukta.

In the bill, the government has decided to keep only NGOs and registered societies who receive donations from abroad under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.

Asked whether churches will come under the purview of the bill, Sangma said any offshoot of the church, which is a registered society, would come under its purview.