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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fwd: [IHRO] An article on corruption

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ashok T. Jaisinghani <>
Date: Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 2:01 PM
Subject: Re: [IHRO] An article on corruption

Swiss Banks & Tax Havens are in
Western Countries
    In her article, Sushila Ramaswamy has wrongly stated, "Except for North America and Western Europe, corruption affects the rest of the world."
    Led by the USA, North America and Western Europe have the most corrupting influence on the whole world. The robbers and murderers from some countries of North America and Western Europe just march into any country and loot its people of all its wealth, as they are doing in Iraq by grabbing its oil.
    In Afghanistan, the aggressors, led by the USA, are controlling the narcotics drug trade, which is many times more profitable than even the oil trade or any other business.
    The international robbers and murderers from North America and Western Europe will soon find some excuses to invade the other Arab countries like Libya just to grab its oil. While robbing and murdering the people of the countries they invade and occupy, they also appoint many local collaborators as stooges, whom they are corrupting and bribing on a massive scale.
    Who are responsible for the money-laundering associated with the most massive corruption in the world? Are the illegal funds generated from corruption, smuggling and black-marketing not kept in the secret accounts of Swiss Banks and other tax havens, which are located in western countries?
    The western countries are the worst culprits in promoting massive corruption and generating huge amounts of black money all over the world.
   Ashok  T. Jaisinghani.
    Editor & Publisher:    Top Nutritionist
----- Original Message -----
Sent: 26 Feb 2011 12:49 AM
Subject: [IHRO] An article on corruption


24 February 2011

Corruption thwarts progress

The Spreading Canker And The Lack Of Political Will
sushila ramaswamy
BY contemporary standards, all pre-democratic governments were corrupt. The conventional wisdom was that the ruling class consisted of kings, the nobility and aristocrats. They were backed by religious leaders, dignitaries, scholars and lawyers. The government's function was extremely limited with an obsessive concern over the  right of self-preservation. The overwhelming majority accepted the situation as inevitable.
To curb corruption, it is imperative to reform the imperial and oppressive nature of government and make it transparent, accountable and responsive. Rather than lording it over the citizens it should serve the people.
But this task is stupendous. Though we have practised democracy for more than 60 years, the country suffers from endemic corruption. Transparency International rates India as one of the most corrupt nations in the world. This trend set in soon after independence with the jeep scandal, whose enquiry report has not been published till today. Jawaharlal Nehru had once promised that all the blackmarketers would be hanged from the nearest lamp-post. Indira Gandhi dismissed corruption as a universal phenomenon and her son and successor, Rajiv, publicly admitted that only 15 per cent of the sum spent on development projects reaches the proper target group. Today, it may be less than 15 per cent.
The consequences of corruption in India are as devastating as anywhere else. It encourages a particular kind of subservient behaviour that accepts patron-client relationship and looks to independent initiative, risk or innovation with suspicion. The first casualty of systemic corruption is denial of just reward and just meritocracy, the twin principles by virtue of which a well-ordered society maintains upward mobility and efficiency.
The net result of corruption in India is that even after 60 years of democratic government, human development indices, research and innovation, graduation of universities in health care and employment generation, we do not compare with any well established democracy. The Arjun Sengupta report has pointed out that 80 per cent of Indians live at less than Rs 20 a day.
Corruption in every society is shameful; those who indulge in it do so in utmost  secrecy. They take care to destroy all records. Investigation becomes extremely difficult, even dangerous. This was revealed recently in Maharashtra where an honest senior officer was burnt alive for probing the kerosene mafia network. Prosecution of the corrupt can be still more difficult; one has to be involved to know the details of operations and the patronage that it entails.
Apart from these difficulties, different societies have different criteria to determine  what constitutes corruption. For instance in Haryana, bribing a government official to seek favour such as a licence or a job has societal approval, but not adulteration of food.
The essential basis of corruption can be traced to certain broad categories ~ scarcity, ethical standards, power and position and unnecessary state regulations. To the last category belong the licence quota raj in India; it generated unnecessary corruption and lack of competitiveness in our industrial sector.
As regards the ineffectiveness of tackling corruption in India and other South Asian countries, Gunnar Myrdal had noted in 1968  that corruption was 'rampant' and 'growing' in these countries "particularly among higher officials and politicians, including legislators and ministers". The observation is particularly relevant to India. Myrdal cited a 1963 report which grimly pointed out that 'administrative corruption in its various forms is all around us all the time and is growing'. This view was corroborated by John B. Monterio who commented that 'corruption has spread far beyond the limits of general administration to the police and even the judiciary'. He added: "Rampant corruption in all walks of life has been adequately proved by the various commissions of inquiry set up from time to time".
After four decades SS Gill, a former senior government official, categorically stated that corruption has spread all over the administration and that 'corruption unlike a headache, is not confined only to the top, it infects the whole system'. John Quah observes that large scale corruption can lead to catastrophic consequences such as military defeat; civil revolt; economic collapse; endemic violence; and communal strife. Quah's conclusion is emphatic ~ 'corruption thwarts progress'.
In such a situation, elimination of corruption is the prerequisite for improving the quality of life of an average citizen. The international donors and agencies have also realised that corruption cannot be ignored any more as it makes the entire system dysfunctional. There is also an increasing awareness that the rich and the upwardly mobile educated middle class need not be more honest than the ordinary citizen and to eliminate corruption the politicians, senior civil servants and a section of businessmen ought to be made more accountable. It is a difficult task and the possibility of a remedy hinges on the integrity of the legal system and enforcement.
Corruption is a serious impediment to development and the institutionalisation of just meritocracy. Except for North America and Western Europe, corruption affects the rest of the world. Corruption in Asia in general and in India in particular is no different. But though corruption is extremely difficult to eliminate, a corrupt-free polity can be achieved if there is political will to do so, with public support, administrative determination, legal enforcement and civic consciousness.
Of all these factors, the political will is the most important; the others follow the behaviour pattern set by the elite with its determination to eliminate corruption. In demonstrating this political will, Singapore has been largely successful. Its achievement proves that corruption can be tackled anywhere within a reasonable period of time.
In India, corruption has spread like cancer. The risk is negligible because of ineffective policing and the tempting opportunities available to senior civil servants. In 1962, the Santhanam committee was appointed to recommend an anti-corruption strategy. It recommended the formation of the Central Vigilance Commission and action against public servants whose assets are disproportionate to their income.
In 1963, the CBI was established with an anti-corruption division. However, as the CBI is under the total control of the government it lacks the autonomy to tackle corruption sternly enough. The CVC was formed in 1964 to perform four specific functions: (1) to investigate an improper transaction by a public servant; (2) to probe the improper use of power for corrupt purposes by civil servants including those belonging to the coveted all-India services, (3) to supervise anti-corruption work of ministers, departments and public enterprises; and (4) to request the CBI to investigate a case.
Prof. Quah has pointed out that India's failure to tackle corruption is rooted in several factors, the most important of which is the lack of political will or commitment by its political leaders. The other reasons are: (1) inadequate resources to fight corruption; (2) lack of comprehensive anti-corruption laws; (3) absence of an independent anti-corruption agency; and (4) inability to punish the guilty irrespective of their status, connections, and position in society. Quah concludes: "India's anti-corruption strategy will remain hopeless as long as its political leaders do not demonstrate the political will required to improve its ineffective anti-corruption measures, which appear to have been designed to fail".
Corruption can be tackled if the political leadership is serious; otherwise the war on corruption will remain rhetorical.
The writer is Associate Professor in Political Science, Jesus and Mary College, New Delhi


Palash Biswas
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