Showing unflinching support to anti-corruption agencies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said they "need not be defensive" while tackling graft even when some people with "vested interests" keep hollering and maligning them.
Addressing the 'Vigilance Awareness Week' organised by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the prime minister exhorted the panel, other agencies and officers to ensure that no corrupt person is spared no matter how powerful the individual may be.
He said it is the responsibility of organisations like the CVC that no corrupt person gets "political or social refuge".
"Every corrupt person should be held accountable by the society. It is important to build such an atmosphere. We are seeing that paeans are being sung for people already proven corrupt. People calling themselves honest do not feel the shame to go and get photographed with such corrupt people. This situation is not good for the Indian society," he said.
Without taking any names, Modi said people are giving arguments in support of corrupt people and advocating for awards to them.
"Agencies like CVC working against corrupt and corruption need not be defensive. If you are working for the welfare of the country, there is no need to live in guilt.
"We do not have work on a political agenda, but it is our duty to eradicate problems faced by the common man of the country. People with vested interests will holler, they will try to strangulate the institutions, they will try to defame dedicated people sitting in these institutions. It will all happen," he said.
Citing his own experience, the prime minister said during his long tenure as head of the government, he has gone through mud-slinging and abuses, but people stand with you when you walk on the path of honesty.
"I can tell you from my experience to walk on the path of honesty, to do duty incumbent on you, people will stand with you. Some will keep shouting because their own feet are in the muck. I keep on repeating that if we have followed the path of honesty and integrity, there is no need to be defensive. When you take action with conviction... society stands with you," he said.
Modi said all government agencies should work to change the system and tradition of corruption as India is celebrating 75 years of independence.
He said the country needs to have "zero tolerance" for corruption in the administrative ecosystem and this would work for the idea of a developed India.
The prime minister suggested that a ranking of government departments on anti-corruption efforts should be done and pending cases of corruption against officials decided in a time-bound fashion.
On the occasion, the prime minister launched the new Complaint Management System portal of the CVC which will provide "end to end" information to the citizens through regular updates on the status of their complaints.
He also released pictorial booklets on 'Ethics and Good Practices; compilation of best practices on Preventive Vigilance' and special issue VIGEYE-VANI on public procurement.
He also gave awards to five students who wrote best essays during a nationwide essay competition conducted by CVC on the theme of of Vigilance Awareness Week "Corruption free India for a developed nation".