Friday, 1 July 2016

Corruption - A National Bane

  • Corruption is simply the misuse of public property for private gain.
  • India, is 69th most corrupt country out of 90, according to recent survey.
  • More than 62% of Indians have experience of paying bribes to get jobs done in public offices successfully, a recent survey reveals.
  • Black market in India constitutes 40% of economic activity.
  • About 50% of wealth created goes outside tax net in India.
A person can get money in three ways (1) by earning (2) by inheriting and (3) by way of gift or loan and in any other way, is corruption.

Reasons for corruption:
  1. Political corruption, mother of all corruptions, and corrupt politicians will do any thing to get into and stay put in power compromising national interests.
  2. Political corruption breeds corruption in all corners of public and private life.
  3. High costs involved in winning elections is another reason. But it is lame excuse since there are many instances where good people get elected with meager spending from time to time.
  4. Almost all the crises, scams & scandals have political roots with selfish tendencies.
  5. Conviction rate on corruption charges at less than 6% makes corruption low risk and high profit activity.
  6. Materialistic and unpatriotic tendencies at all levels is another reason.
  7. Too much emphasis on materialistic and mundane things effecting priorities.
  8. Poverty is another reason for corruption.
  9. Large societies like in India, many layers of intermediaries are necessary between government and people during transitions which are good times for corruption with social rules blurrier.
  10. Corruption not dealt in time will assume larger proportions and acquires social norm status. In a way it already happened in India.
  11. Liberalization without proper safety nets has made inequalities worse and worsened corruption in India.
Effects of Corruption:
  1. Slows down economic growth.
  2. Increases inflation.
  3. Effects investments and market stability.
  4. Funds gets diverted due to corruption and welfare gets effected.
  5. Corruption is anti poor, anti national & anti development. At least one-third of welfare budget spend for poor gets siphoned off by the corrupt officials & politicians.

Remedial Measures:
  1. Simpler procedures.
  2. Well defined processes.
  3. Remove discretionary powers at all levels.
  4. Eliminate abusive powers while extending support to citizens.
  5. Training civil servants into higher professional level into auditing, accountancy and legal matters.
  6. Responsibility and Accountability must be well defined with incentives & disincentives.
  7. Withdraw all high value currency notes.
  8. Make all transactions, including petty cash payments, through Aadhaar/PAN linked bank transfers, mandatory.
  9. Create awareness among general public with easy & quick redress mechanisms.
  10. Enforcing transparency in fundraising activities of political parties.
  11. Reform investigation and law administration process to enable white collar offences non bailable and process must be closed by investigating authority in 6 months, trial court in 3 months and appellate court in 1 month time frame.
  12. Empower anti corruption agencies with autonomy & deep teeth to deal with corruption effectively.
  13. Impart ethical education, including moral & spiritual values, in school curriculum.
My view: What ever may be the reasons for corruption & its effects, corruption will continue to flourish as long as it is low risk and high profit activity. If catching corrupt and conviction rates are increased from 6% to 60% with quick disposal and stringent punishments with high penalties making corruption a high risk and low profit activity is the ultimate remedy. Political will and administrative honesty are important ingredients for achieving this.

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