Sunday, 28 August 2011

Eradicating Corruption.

The most distressing aspect of wide corruption in India is the fact that it is not anymore confined to politicians or the government machinery alone It is prevalent among almost every section of the society and at every level. The study of world phenomenon on corruption has repeatedly branded India the list of one of the most corrupt countries of the world. Unfortunately, this view has not disturbed most of the Indians at all and they do not seem to care as to what opinion the world has about them; so long as the existing systems and practices would allow them to make money and get things done in one way or the other. It does not shock Indians anymore to know that not only the politicians, ministers, bureaucrats are corrupt but even the judges, professors, doctors and NGOs are not out in the race. Corruption is not only prevalent among the rich who are greedy in possessing enough but also prevalent among poor may it be to earn their bread.
What is most alarming and extremely disturbing about this country is that ministers are also suspected have a hand in murder. Chief Ministers of swindling crores of public money, senior police officers of molestation charges are all living in comforts and enjoying position, thus effectively exposing the fact that the crusade against corruption has finally failed in India. The bureaucrats are generally doing all such things in association or under the protection of their political bosses. A huge number of cases are pending against many politicians, even the highest political office of PM has not been freed from the corruption charges. Is there any salvation for our country from this virtual poisoning of entire system? Unless the general mass is awaken, the evil of corruption cannot be rooted out from the Indian society. Every citizen has to take cudgels to fight this evil, and if we like to save our beloved country from the jaws of monstrous animal.

I hope to share with you my views in fighting corruption, which has made India branded in corruption before the world. In India we must have a very strong anti-corruption policy or law, which would recognise corruption and try to eradicate it. ( This article is based on the eradicating corruption model of Singapore ).

To fight against corruption we should have the following measures in place:
a.  Legislative Measures against Corruption.
b.  Administrative Measures.
c.  Preventive Guidelines.
d.  Action against corrupt government officers.
e.  Court Punishment for Corruption.
f.  Departmental Punishment for Corruption.
g.  Roles of Government Agencies.

Corruption is the biggest social evil of our society and we can frequently see that syndicated corruption and greasing the palms of public officers in return for the services was common.  Enforcement action against the corrupted is difficult because of prevailing weak laws. Gathering of evidence was difficult because of the weak anti-corruption law and this had resulted in many corrupt public officers getting away with their crime. Most of the people generally are less educated and did not know their rights, even their fundamental rights. They were submissive in their dealings with public officers in authority and were accustomed to unfair treatment by them. Government/public officers are not adequately paid compared with those in the private sector.  Many of them became indebted through lavish lifestyle.  Integrity in the public service was therefore lacking and some of the public officers resorted to corruption to make ends meet. Political Leaders should create a climate of honesty and integrity, by divesting themselves from any involvement in financial or commercial ties. Any law enacted for eradicating corruption, should be reviewed regularly to ensure that offenders do not escape from legal punishment and that corruption does not pay. This includes requiring the court to order any person convicted of corruption offences to repay as penalty an amount of money equivalent to the bribe he had accepted. The concept that corruption does not pay should be further fortified by the Enactment of more Strict Laws. Those persons who without paying heed to the Laws; try to take bribe then proper action should be taken by confiscating or freezing their properties and assets obtained by corrupt offenders.

Along with the legislative measures, administrative measures should  also be taken to reduce the chances of public officers from being getting involved in corruption and wrongdoings. These measures should include by removing opportunities for corruption in government work procedures by streamlining cumbersome administrative procedures; slashing down excessive red tape which provides opportunities for corruption; reviewing public officer’s salaries regularly to ensure that they are being paid adequately and comparable to that of the private sector; reminding government contractors at the time when contracts are signed that bribing public officers administering the contracts may render their contracts to be terminated and proper strict clause to this effect should form part of the contract.

Strict guidelines in the form of instructions should be taken to prevent public officers from getting involved in corruption or wrongdoings.  Some of the instructions are that a public officer cannot borrow money from, or in any way put himself under a financial obligation to any person who is in any way under his official authority or has official dealings with him (as rule prevalent for an auditor); a public officer cannot use any official information to his private interest; a public officer is required to declare his assets at his first appointment and subsequently annually; a public officer cannot engage in trade or business or undertake any part-time employment without approval; a public officer cannot receive entertainment from members of public; a public officer should be required to disclose his assets ( direct or deemed assets ) properly.

Besides the legislative and administrative measures, regular talks should be made by appropriate authority to public officers especially those in the enforcement agencies on the pitfalls of corruption. Advice on how to avoid getting involved in corruption should also be given. A strict Anti-Corruption Act should be passed with all the relevant standards of the belonging country. Further, public officers should also be made aware of the Prevention of Corruption Act through the incorporation of the relevant provisions of the Act in the Government Instruction Manuals.

Depending on the availability of evidence, a corrupt public officer should be dealt with in any one of the two ways charging him in court if there is sufficient evidence for court prosecution or charging him departmentally if there is insufficient evidence for court prosecution. Both the giver and the receiver of a bribe are guilty of corruption and should be liable to the same punishment as a giver not only gives money, he/she also spreads an equal amount of corruption. Any person who is convicted of a corruption offence can be fined set up by government or sentenced to imprisonment as upto the rule of the country or to both.  If the offence relates to a government contract or involves a Member of Parliament, the term of imprisonment should be increased as because they are being selected by people, through election keeping faith on them, that they will run the machinery of a country in an efficient manner. Besides fine and imprisonment, the person convicted of corruption offence will be ordered by the court to return the amount of bribe, which he had accepted in the form of a penalty and the amount should be utilised by government for social upliftment of those classes those who are backward till now, financially. In addition to the punishment, which the court may impose on a convicted person, the court should also be empowered to order the confiscation of the property obtained by corrupt offenders.

A public officer if is convicted in court for a corruption offence, then he should be compelled to resign from his job and if he is a pensionable officer then he should loose his pension and other benefits as well.  He should also be debarred from any future public appointment. A public officer who is convicted of a departmental charge may, depending on the severity of the charge, should receive one or a combination of the following punishments:- dismissal from the service; reduction in rank; stoppage or deferment of increment; fine or reprimand; retirement in the public interest.

No country in the world today can claim to be free from corruption.  However, India today portrays itself as a king country in corruption. Today people of India is trying to bring “ Jan Lokpal Bill ”  as a strong bill for fighting against corruption, and is headed by Shri Anna Hazzare, the pioneer of this movement. Let us hope for the best. So for getting success in fighting corruption everybody should be aware of the fact that corruption leads to down turning of a country, and in one voice 1.21 billion people should say :-


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