India is notorious for high levels of corruption. Assess the nature of the problem of corruption in India. Suggest reforms. (150 W/ 10 M)

Mentor’s Comment:

Bring the essence of corruption in own words.

Analyze the nature of corruption in India and its effects. One can also mention about the Corruption Perception Index and India’s rank.

Further mention how it has become a notion of public perception. For example, bribing traffic police, bribing for faster delivery of work etc.

Non-awareness regarding rights, illiteracy, poor information delivery mechanism of government etc. further adds to the corruption.

Next mention what are the reforms needed. Reform in Bureaucracy, election, governance etc.

Bring balanced conclusion.

Model Answer:

Corruption refers to the act of misuse and abuse of power especially by those in the government for personal gains either pecuniary or a favor.

Nature of problem of corruption:

  • Corruption in India is a consequence of the nexus between bureaucracy, politics and criminals.
  • In the Corruption Perception Index India stands at 79th place out of 176 countries. It not only hampers the economic growth but also undermines the rule of law in the country.
  • The menace of corruption is pervasive in India, from petty bribes demand by the policemen to multi-crore scams at the highest political level like 2G scam.
  • It is not only limited to government authorities but can be seen within the private sector as well, for instance, the Satyam scandal.
  • More than 50% people in India have accepted giving bribes while accessing public services.
  • Increasing shift towards individualization and materialism has led to increased penchant for a luxurious lifestyle. To earn more money people are willing to adopt even the unethical means with no consideration of others.
  • The poor and marginalized due to their lack of awareness and high dependence on the state, have become the easy target of exploitation by corrupt officials
  • The value education has failed miserably in India to inculcate the value of empathy, compassion, integrity, equity etc. in the young generation. The lifestyle changes induced by the globalization have further degraded the moral fabric of the society.
  • At one time, bribe was paid for getting wrong things done but now bribe is paid for getting right things done at right time.
  • In India more than 80% of the workforce is in the informal sector and therefore do not come under the ambit of tax or labor laws. Such enterprises usually bribe the officials to keep out of the ambit of laws where the compliance is costly and complex
  • In India 1% of the rich hold about 60% of the total wealth. At the upper income levels it leads to crony capitalism, at lower income levels it forces people to bribe the officials even to get their basic needs fulfilled.
  • This is so because poor lacks the purchasing power to buy the services from the market and therefore depends mostly on public provisioning of the basic services such as food from PDS system.
  • Emergence of political elite who believe in interest-oriented rather than nation-oriented programmes and policies.
  • Artificial scarcity created by the people with malevolent intentions wrecks the fabric of the economy.
  • Corruption is caused as well as increased because of the change in the value system and ethical qualities of men who administer.
  • Tolerance of people towards corruption, complete lack of intense public outcry against corruption and the absence of strong public forum to oppose corruption allow corruption to reign over people.
  • In a highly inflationary economy, low salaries of government officials compel them to resort to the road of corruption. Graduates from IIMs with no experience draw a far handsome salary than what government secretaries draw.
  • Complex laws and procedures alienate common people to ask for any help from government.
  • Election time is a time when corruption is at its peak level. Big industrialist fund politicians to meet high cost of election and ultimately to seek personal favour. Bribery to politicians buys influence, and bribery by politicians buys votes.
  • In order to get elected, politicians bribe poor illiterate people, who are slogging for two time’s meal.

Reforms needed:

  • Bureaucracy
    • Responsiveness, accountability and transparency are a must for a clean system.
    • Bureaucracy, the backbone of good governance, should be made more citizen friendly, accountable, ethical and transparent.
    • Civil Service Board to curb the excessive political control over administration
    • Reducing the hierarchy levels in the governments
    • Strengthening preventive vigilance within the departments to ensure corrupt civil servant do not occupy the sensitive position
    • Objectivity in performance evaluation and linking pay and promotion to it
  • Electoral reforms
    • Barring the criminals from entering the legislatures by amending RPA
    • Banning the cash donation to political party.
    • Empowering ECI by giving legal force to MCC and making paid news a criminal offence
    • Exploring the idea of state funding as recommended by Indrajit Gupta committee
    • People should have a right to recall the elected representatives if they see them becoming indifferent to the electorate.
  • Governance
    • Bringing Transparency of the Rules Act (TORA) as recommended by Economic survey to increase transparency and awareness about rules
    • Giving citizen charter and social audits a legal force and creating GRMs at all levels to ensure their enforcement
    • Empowering the local body so as to make them a potent tool for direct democracy
    • Judicial reforms to expedite trials against the corrupt officials so that these laws remain a strong deterrent
    • 7-point Police reforms as suggested by SC in Prakash Singh case to establish rule of law and ensure impartial investigation in cases of corruption
    • Amending the anti-defection law to strengthen legislative control over the executive as envisaged under constitution and not the other way round
    • Bringing in Code of ethics and code of conduct for the ministers
    • Clearly defining the office of profits and bringing all the offices such as on the boards of PSUs under its ambit as recommended by SARC

The one thing that needs to be ensured is proper, impartial, and unbiased use of various anti-social regulations to take strong, deterrent, and timely legal action against the offenders, irrespective of their political influences or money power. Firm and strong steps are needed to curb the menace and an atmosphere has to created where the good, patriotic, intellectuals come forward to serve the country with pride, virtue, and honesty for the welfare of the people of India.