Challenges of Corruption: Way Forward
Recently, India, with a score of 41, has been ranked 80th among 180 countries in the 2020 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) prepared by Transparency International. The report analyses that corruption is more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.
Even in democracies like India, unfair and opaque electoral financing and undue influence in decision-making and lobbying by powerful corporate interest groups, resulting in stagnation or decline in control of corruption.
Definition of Corruption
If you see the definition, there are different definitions of Corruption, which include:
- showing dishonest behaviour by public authorities (or)
- Abuse of entrusted power by public authorities for private gain etc.
- In essence, Corruption means a manifestation of erosion of ethical values in society.
Types of Corruption
- Political Corruption: Scams at the national level like Fodder Scam, 2G Scam, Common Wealth Games Scam, Coal-Mining Scam, and many scams in various states include Saradha chit fund scam in West Bengal and NRHM Scam in UP state etc are some examples.
- Bureaucratic Corruption: Many a bureaucrat made headline for their corrupt activities, a recent example includes an IAS couple in Madhya Pradesh.
- Judicial Corruption: Though no judge is found guilty of corruption so far, there were allegations of corruption against many judges including the former CJI Deepak Mishra etc. Supreme Court Advocate, Prashanth Bushan had gone an extra mile and openly accused that "half of 16 former CJIs are corrupt".
- Corporate Corruption: Corporate Scandals, for example, ICICI Bank Loan scam and Infosys CEO and CFO bribe fiasco etc.
- Foreign Corrupt practices: Bribing foreign officials for business gains etc.
Forms of corruption
There are various forms, which include bribery, extortion, nepotism, cronyism, parochialism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement.
Challenges of Corruption
Though numerous legal measures and governance reforms are initiated, it has been a constant challenge in coping with corruption. The challenges encompass:
- Lack of Integrity among Politicians
- Non-disclosure of Information
- Secrecy in Administration
- Political control over enforcement authorities like CBI, CVC and ED etc.
- Ineffective enforcement of laws
- Social acceptance of corruption
- Lack of ethics among public authorities etc.
Impact of Corruption
Corruption is a global phenomenon that affects all countries. Corruption has a negative effect on the functioning of democratic institutions, human development and economic growth. It impacts a nation as mentioned below:
- Corruption is a threat to governance and the stability of young democracies like India. It weakens the State as it undermines its credibility and damages people's trust in state institutions.
- It undermines human development and severely impacts and derails a country's progress, including achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By diverting public resources to private profits and reducing access to public services, corruption runs counter to the basic interests and needs of every society and poses a threat to economic development and social stability.
- It weakens economic growth. According to World Bank estimates, $1 to 2 trillion are lost to corruption every year. This is equal to 10 times the annual budget of all 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries combined.
Fighting corruption, therefore, requires strengthening the rule of law, good governance, and building strong institutions which are the foundation for sustainable development.
Strengthening of institutions with effective powers themselves acts as a disincentive to corruption. The following multi-pronged strategy will effectively contain corruption in India:
- SMART Governance- Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent Governance facilitates clean governance.
- Constitutional Status To Lokpal And Central Vigilance Commissioner
- Enactment of National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014 to ensure transparency in appointment and transfer of judges to the higher judiciary in India.
- Constitutional protection to Whistleblowers.
- Remove safeguards and protection provided in prosecuting corrupt officials under Articles 309, 310 and 311 of the Constitution.
- Replace Oath of Secrecy with Oath of Transparency as recommended by National Commission to review the working of the Constitution (NCRWC) by amending Articles 75(4)and 164 (3).
- Streamlining Investigation and Prosecution, for example, strengthening and expanding the scope of Prevention of Corruption Act (Amendment) Act, 2018 to include corrupt practices amongst private entities (corruption entities) and foreign officials.
- Effective implementation of the Right to Information Act.
- Strengthening the ethical compass of Government employees with a clear Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct.
- Effective implementation of E-governance initiatives and Citizen charter.
- Enactment of Public Procurement Bill, 2012, which ensures transparency and efficiency, fair and equitable treatment to bidders, promotion of competition, fixing reasonable prices consistent with quality required, as well as mechanisms to avert corrupt practices.
- Showing conviction in putting in place the 2nd ARC Recommendations to Combat Corruption.
Fighting corruptions requires a multi-pronged strategy, which can be effective only with the participation and empowerment of citizens and the eternal vigilance of civil society.