India can’t push corruption dirt under carpet any longer
GS 2 Government Policies & Interventions
- The impact of corruption is especially heavy on common citizens and even more on poorer and vulnerable persons in communities.
- Corruption is the abuse of public power for private gain. It can be done by anyone in a position of authority, including elected politicians, civil servants, journalists, and school administrators.
o In addition to public corruption, there is also private corruption between individuals and companies.
Thus, the definition of corruption applies to various forms.
Corruption in India
- Corruption in India is not limited to collusive high-level scams. Petty corruption, which affects the delivery of basic services and rights to people, is rampant.
- o According to a study by the global civil society Transparency International, India has the highest rate of bribery and the use of personal connections to access public services such as healthcare and education in Asia.
- o India ranks 85th out of 180 nations on the Corruption Perception Index for 2021.
Causes & issues:
Personal gains & self-preservation:
- According to a study by the global civil society Transparency International, India has the highest rate of bribery and the use of personal connections to access public services such as healthcare and education in Asia.
- India ranks 85th out of 180 nations on the Corruption Perception Index for 2021.
Low rate of conviction:
- The progress of investigations and conviction rate in high-profile cases initiated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) do not inspire the public with much confidence that there has been a significant improvement in this situation.
Corruption during elections:
- Economists and political analysts believe that corruption cannot be eradicated until a solution is found for funding elections.
- Legalizing political contributions was an insignificant beginning. The much-maligned Electoral Bonds (EBs) were a step in the right direction. Although not foolproof, it is a cleaner method of raising funds than the transfer of black money through hawalas.
Criminality of outcomes:
- Public funds are syphoned off, and welfare programmes do not reach their intended recipients.
- When poor people are required to pay for jobs, education, and even primary healthcare, it borders on criminality.
- Allocating national resources to cronies for a fee creates economic disparities, destroys level playing fields, discourages free markets and competition, and discourages foreign investors.
- Ultimately, the citizens must pay higher taxes or fund write-offs of public sector bank loans.
Changing nature of Corruption:
- Since India’s liberalisation, the nature of corruption has become more complicated.
- As technology advances, there are opportunities to prevent corruption, but there are also fields in which corruption is more difficult to detect, such as cryptocurrency.
Transparency & reforms:
- Liberalization, simplification of laws, and digitization to promote transparency, ease of living, and ease of doing business are unquestionably components of the solution towards which the current administration has made rapid and decisive progress.
- To ensure swift justice and conviction, however, police and judicial reforms and the independence of investigative agencies with clear accountability are urgently required.
- Politics is the root cause of most corrupt practices. That is where people must seek accountability of our politicians. For that, one needs the next level of electoral reforms.
Need for innovative anti-corruption solutions:
- There is a need for real-time information sharing between law enforcement agencies.
- The Indian government has formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate black money; • A comprehensive and more stringent new law has been enacted: the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.
- The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016, enables authorities to attach and confiscate Benami properties.
- Law enforcement agencies such as the CBI have done much to combat corruption.
Prevention of Corruption Act:
- The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to combat corruption in government agencies and public sector businesses in India.
Amendment to the Act:
- Since the Prevention of Corruption Act had limited success in preventing corruption in government departments and prosecuting and punishing public servants involved in corrupt practises, an amendment (Amendment Act) was enacted in 2018 and put into effect.
- The Amendment Act sought to align the Prevention of Corruption Act with the 2005 United Nations Convention against Corruption, which India ratified in 2011.
Right To Information Act, 2005
- The intent behind the enactment of the Act is to promote transparency and accountability in the working of Public Authorities.
Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2014
- The Act seeks to protect whistleblowers, i.e., individuals making a public interest disclosure regarding a public servant’s act of corruption, abuse of power, or criminal offence.
- It is mandated by the Right to Information Act of 2005, and it has been a vital tool for whistleblowers in previous years.
- The RTI Act of 2005 is sometimes referred to as the “twin sister” of whistleblowing.
The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013:
- The 2013 Lokpal and Lokayukta Act established the Lokpal for the Union and the Lokayukta for the States.
- The Lokayukta is the state-level anti-corruption agency.
- It investigates allegations of corruption and maladministration against public servants and is charged with redressing public complaints expeditiously.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2016:
- The Bill amends the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 in relation to the declaration of assets and liabilities by public servants.
- It requires a public servant to declare his assets and liabilities, and that of his spouse and dependent children.
- Corruption promotes government dysfunction, causes economic inefficiency, and poses a grave threat to national security. The issue is intricate, and there is no “one size fits all” solution. As the saying goes, different strokes for different folks.
Daily Mains Question
Examine the need for sector-specific reforms to comprehensively deal with corruption in India. What are the initiatives in place to deal with corruption during elections?