NEW DELHI, Feb 22 � Giving in to Opposition demand, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced government�s decision to set up a JPC to probe the 2G spectrum scam, saying the country could �ill afford� disruption of the crucial Budget session of Parliament, reports PTI.
Making the announcement in Lok Sabha as soon as it met for the first working day of the session, Singh said a formal motion for constitution of the Joint Parliamentary Committee would be moved soon.
�We could not succeed in spite of our sincere efforts� to persuade the Opposition not to insist on a JPC probe, Singh said.
Asserting that his government was committed to root out corruption, the Prime Minister said �all effective steps� were taken to convince the Opposition in this regard.
�We can ill afford a situation where Parliament is not allowed to function during the crucial Budget session. It is in these special circumstances that our government agrees to the setting up of a JPC,� he said.
Singh requested Speaker Meira Kumar to proceed with the process of formation of the JPC and said a formal motion would be moved soon.
Welcoming the government�s move, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj thanked the Prime Minister and Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee for the decision.
�We should not see this as a victory or defeat. This is a victory of democracy. We should all work together putting aside any talk of victory or defeat,� she said.
Recalling that the Winter session of Parliament had been lost on account of controversy over 2G spectrum allocation, Singh said, �In paralysing Parliament, I believe, we all do disservice to those who have elected us.�
The Opposition has been adamant on a JPC probe in the 2G scam, which according to CAG, has resulted in a presumptive loss to the tune of Rs 1.76 lakh crore. A Raja, who was forced to resign as Telecom Minister three months back, is now in jail.
Dubbing it as the biggest scam in independent India, the Opposition had made it clear that it would not allow the Budget session to function properly if the JPC was not announced today.
Insisting that the government was committed to root out corruption, the Prime Minister listed the steps taken by the government on the 2G issue which included CBI investigation supervised by the Supreme Court and the independent inquiry conducted by former judge Shivraj Patil.
He also pointed out that the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament was also seized of the matter and the government was fully cooperating with it.
�We are a functioning democracy and must strive to resolve our differences in a spirit of accommodation and collaboration, not confrontation,� he said, hoping that it would �renew our confidence in India�s forward march.�
The Government has already made it clear that a formal motion for creation of the JPC would be moved on Thursday by Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal.
This would be the first JPC to be set up since the Congress-led UPA came to power in May 2004.