Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's 40-minute speech on India's 65th Independence Day delivered from the ramparts of the historic 17th century Red Fort did not focus on foreign policy issues.
Singh devoted a major part of his speech to corruption, admitting that the scourge was a "big obstacle" in the way of transformation of the country as a major economic power globally.
Advertisement"In the last few months many instances of corruption have come to light. In some cases, functionaries of the Central government face allegations of corruption. In other cases, it is the functionaries of various state governments," television channels quoted him, as saying.
With a number of corruption cases pending before different courts, the Prime Minister chose not to comment on specific scams like 2G, Commonwealth Games and Adarsh.
"We are taking the strictest possible action in cases of corruption that have surfaced. I will say nothing more on this subject as these cases are sub-judice," he said.
Singh, whose government has been under all-round attack, cautioned against creating an atmosphere in which the country's progress comes into question.
"Any debate on these matters should reflect the confidence that we can overcome these challenges," he said.
"Corruption manifests itself in many forms. In some instances, funds meant for schemes for the welfare of the common man end up in the pocket of government officials. In some other instances government discretion is used to favour a selected few.
"There are also cases where government contracts are wrongfully awarded to the wrong people," he said asserting that the government cannot let such activities continue unchecked.
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