After a long delay, the Centre on Thursday constituted
an eight-member search committee, to be headed by former Supreme Court
judge, Justice RanjanaPrakash Desai, to recommend the chairperson and
members of the anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, which envisages
establishment of anti-graft body Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in States
to look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants,
was passed in 2013.
Former State Bank of India chiefArundhati Bhattacharya,
PrasarBharati chairperson A. Surya Prakash and former Indian Space Research
Organisation head A.S. Kiran Kumar are the members of the search committee,
according to an order by the Personnel Ministry.
The step comes after the Supreme Court’s order to appoint
Lokpal at the earliest. The search committee was appointed by the selection
committee, which comprises Prime Minister NarendraModi, Chief Justice of India
DipakMisra, LokSabha Speaker SumitraMahajan, leader of the largest Opposition
party, which in this case was Congress’s MallikarjunKharge, and eminent jurist
India will be invited to help with a key rail link in
Afghanistan, during the visit of Uzbekistan’s President ShavkatMirziyoyev
early next week, a presidential aide told.
The rail link of approximately 650 km, connecting the
Afghan cities of Mazaar-e-Sharif and Herat, which may later be extended to
Kabul, is a major project agreed to by President Ashraf Ghani and President
Mirziyoyev last year, and many of the preliminary surveys for the project have
already been completed.
The project, for which Uzbekistan has already committed
$500 million, could become another major regional connectivity project for
India, after its construction of the Zaranj-Delaram Highway in Afghanistan and
the ShahidBeheshti port in Chabahar, Iran.
India is also committed to building another rail route,
from Chabahar to Zahedan on the Iran-Afghan border, and President Mirziyoyev is
keen to join the transit trade agreement signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran.
Making a pitch for talks between India and Pakistan,
Mr.Nematov said Uzbekistan’s role in regional security is likely to grow as it
will take over the Secretary Generalship of the Shanghai Cooperation
Organisation (SCO) in January 2019. “I think that SCO is a good platform for
India and Pakistan to talk at and to maybe work with other countries on how to
bring peace,” he told.