Times of India poll on 7th May 2002 showed that corruption has emerged as the biggest problem facing the country today. A large section of population in India is poor and uneducated which necessitates huge public investments for the provision of basic needs. There is a top – to – down rather than the decentralised approach to the decision-making. Most of the rules and regulations are complicated and unclear. So their interpretation is at the discretion of the bureaucrats. These conditions have been responsible for wide spread corruption in India.
Forms of Corruption
Corruption is spread over in the society in several forms. The major ones are: –
- Bribe – money offered in cash or kind or gift as inducement to procure illegal or dishonest action in favour of the giver
- Nepotism – undue favour from holder of patronage to relatives
- Misappropriation – using others money for one’s own case
- Patronage – wrong support/encouragement given by patron and thus misusing the position
Corruption in India
In India corruption exists at a high, middle and at a petty or lower level. A corruption of systems and institutions formulating and implementing public policy, malpractices during defence purchases, public investments in infrastructure, procurement for food grains for the Public Distribution System, etc can be sited as the examples of corruption at high level. Malpractices at the execution or implementation levels for the public projects or during delivery of services are the examples of middle level corruption. The petty level corruption frequently occurs in everyday life. Though the amounts are small, it is exploitative in nature.
Corruption needs immediate attention as it has retarded our development. It has created the black and red money which is not available for the productive investment. In spite of liberalisation of economy, corruption comes in the way of Foreign Direct Investment inflows. In short, it has become a threat to the national security of India. The serious consequences of corruption have created the need to fight it from all angles at the earliest.
Recommendations for Prevention of Corruption
This paper deals with some of the genuine recommendations to combat corruption. Corruption in any system or society depends on three factors – firstly, the set of individuals’ sense of values, secondly, the set of social values and thirdly, a system of governance or administration.
- The first solution is that the citizens should fight corruption more strongly. In the past, the perception was that a citizen will have to bribe a public servant if he wants to get a benefit which was illegal. But today we have reached a stage where even if the legitimate requirements are satisfied, the citizens have to bribe the public servant. According to N. Vittal, Ex-Central Vigilance Commissioner, we should put into practice the advice of the Taitreya Upanishad about how we can resolve our problems by coming together.
- A family attachment is an important cause of corruption. A family person feels that he should earn enough not only for himself and his lifetime but also for his children and grandchildren and perhaps seven generations. So he requires enormous accumulation of wealth. In this situation, a strong youth movement in the country can help reducing the corruption at a family level. Each student should take a vow to begin this exercise courageously within the family. Former President, Dr. Abdul Kalam has shown a great confidence in the youth to bring India out of the clutches of corruption by 2020.
- We have evolved in our country red tape ridden elaborate system leading to enormous delays. This probably makes the common man consider paying bribe as ‘speed money’. So the system of governance should be changed. Transparency should be a key word in the public offices. Technological development can be the best solution in this respect. Online transactions would reduce the need for the citizens to visit public offices and government departments.
- The law enforcement authorities also have a crucial role to play in this context. The only thing, which has to be ensured, is proper, impartial, and unbiased use of various anti-corruption Acts to take strong, deterrent prompt and timely legal action against the offenders, irrespective of their political connections, and money or muscle power. Fast track judiciary courts to resolve the corruption related cases may help in reducing the intensity of the problem.
- Simplified forms and procedures reduce dependence of the users on intermediaries. This will also minimise the Government-citizen interfaces and reduce the potential for corruption.
- A value based leadership encourages effective governance. Positive values like compassion, helping others, love, truthfulness etc. help to build and develop a society. Mahatma Gandhi and Jamshedji Tata are the examples of value-based leaders. India should have such leadership in politics, religion, science, industry, education, administration and practically in every sphere.
- The implementation of policies like anti-poverty programmes should be corruption-free. Only a small fraction of the benefit in these programmes accrues to the target population. There should be control check points to find out scope of corruption. Strict measures should be taken against those enforcing programmes only with the intention to make money out of it.
- Good practices of organisations in the corporate sector should be highlighted. Regulatory mechanisms should be strengthened. For example, the accounting firms, many a times act as consultants of the firm. This leads to a conflict of interest. Perhaps one of the simplest things to do would be to prevent the auditing firm from doing consultancy for the same firms so that scam like the Enron can be avoided. An important feature of the Public Sector Enterprises was the vigilance function performed under the overall supervision of the Central Vigilance Commission. It is necessary to define the role of such authority after post-reforms and disinvestment policy.
- Other effective way of curtailing corruption could be to introduce a method which will enable political parties to secure electoral funds in a bonafide manner, or the central government may finance elections through an election fund. This system is being followed in Germany, Norway, Sweden and some advanced countries of Europe.
- The media has to perform quite an active role in exposing causes of corruption. It should not be just do the sting operations but also expose bad practices to the public, making them aware and compelling them to avoid such incidences in the future. The strategy of building public opinion against corruption can be effectively implemented through mass media.
The nation can progress only if there is good governance, there can be no good governance unless moral values are inculcated in the people. There is no way out but to change the system if it is not value-based. Corruption is a global phenomenon and hence fighting corruption at the global level should be the first priority even at the international level.
- Ram Ahuja ‘Social Problems in India’ Rawat Publications, Jaipur and New Delhi, 1999
- Vittal, Corruption in India The Roadblock to National Prosperity, Academic Foundations, New Delhi, 2003
This article is contributed by Mrs. Anupama Nerurkar and Mrs. Rohini Kelkar (Lecturers in L.S.Raheja College of Arts and Commerce)
[Paper presented in the International Seminar on ‘Frauds in Indian Corporate Arena’, Thursday 4th March 2010, at P.L. Deshpande Maharashtra Kala Academy, Mumbai organized by L.S. Raheja College of Arts and Commerce and Indiaforensic Center of Studies in collaboration]