Earlier in Forum







Q: What should be done to stop corruption?
(This is the last instalment of readers’ response)

The system needs radical overhaul

Corruption cannot be eradicated without the joint efforts of administration and the public. The government should set up a clean administrative system and the public must support it sincerely. While industries publish their annual report and inform their shareholders about the progress of the company, till date no political party has ever thought of it. The taxpayers’ hard-earned money is often misused and squandered by ministers and bureaucrats. So all assets of politicians and bureaucrats must be brought under the eye of an auditor.

The corrupt accumulate huge assets through bribery. Such culprits should be awarded sever punishment. They must be brought into limelight and put to shame. Those who are found accepting bribes should be immediately suspended, while those offer bribes must be fined severely. The people should refrain from giving in to undue demands made by any official. Instead, they must bring corrupt officials to the notice of higher authorities. All offices should have a suggestion/complaint box to address the grievances of the public.

In schools, teachers inculcate moral and ethical values in children. But when they face the practicalities of life, they realise that being honest does not pay much. When the whole system is rotten, how can we preach morality to our future generation?


Amend the Act

As per the preamble of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the Act is aimed at consolidating and amending the law relating to the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Act is social legislation and was enacted to make more effective provision for the prevention of bribery and corruption. Therefore, the provisions of the Act must receive such construction at the hands of the court as would advance the object and purpose underlying the Act and at any rate not defeat it. The main problem regarding the statute is to understand the provisions, which are extremely ambiguous. The courts should give the natural meaning of the words used in the provisions of the Act. The question of construction arises only in the event of an ambiguity or where the plain meaning of the word used in the statute would be self-defeating. The courts are entitled to ascertaining the intention of the legislature to remove the ambiguity by constructing the statute as a whole.

— Sangeeta Taak, On e-mail

Target common man

Corruption is the major obstacle between the developed India and developing India. The common man is the backbone of corruption. To save time, we don’t hesitate to pay a little bribe. The main task is not to stop officials, but to stop common man. Politicians are charged, but not convicted, for reasons unknown. Recently, I had read an article that said: "If Dhananjoy Chatterjee were a politician, he would not have been hanged." There should be an entrance test and minimum basic qualification for being a minister.

— GAGAN SHARMA, Ludhiana

Nevertheless, let hope remain

Corruption is no longer a social malady only. It has become a state of mind in which the idea of good and bad has receded into the background. The social animal that man has been no longer appears to be a valid epithet for mankind, for it is the social perspective which man of today has become alien to. He has lost the kindness of the animals and retained their mindless ferocity. Shakespeare’s words in Mecbeth still hold true when the witches say:

Fair is foul, foul is fair
Hover through the dusty air

Thebes today is passing through a serious crisis of conscience, but Oedipus has no will to discover who has committed what sin. Such a state of affairs can be best described by the following couplet:

Hazaron tarkeeben hain uski sihatyaabi ki
Ye vo bimar hai jo behtari nahin chahta

(There are a thousand ways to recover him
But this ailing man desires no improvement)

Even then, it would be more pathetic to lose hope. Let us make our education value-based. Let us make our teachers conscious of right and wrong and let them plant this feeling into the hearts of their students. The task is stupendous and the dirty pond spreads across limitless horizons. Yet we must not despair. Darkest skies have always shown forth the potential of bearing the brightest light:

The denser the night
The brighter the light.

— Dr J.S. ANAND, Bathinda

Set up special courts

1. The ill-gotten property should be confiscated after establishing that property in question is disproportionate to the known sources of income.

2. Laws should be amended to avoid manipulation.

3. Special courts should be set up for an expeditious time-bound trial, and exemplary punishment should be awarded to the corrupt.

4. The names of culprits should be advertised in the media.

5. Departments in all sectors should be made accountable.

6. Parents and teachers should inculcate moral and ethical values in children.

— Asst Prof PURAN SINGH, Nilokheri

Let’s search our souls

Corruption is deeply rooted in our society. It is taking toll on development and growth of our country. According to the annual survey of the anti-graft watchdog Transparency International in 2003, India ranked an equal 83rd in the world with Malawi and Romania. The following steps should be taken to curb this growing menace:

1. We should make ourselves accountable for each and every action. We should also evaluate whether the steps taken are right or wrong.

2. Every person should be made accountable to his/her job. Any kind of loss sustained to the government/public should be claimed from the pocket of the corrupt.

3. No official should be allowed to keep files unattended, and action should be taken if the disposal of the complaint takes more than the time limit.

4. Lok Pal and Lok Ayukata should be further strengthened.

— DEEPTI UPPAL, Panchkula

The media should come forward

Nowadays, corruption has emerged as a global phenomenon. It has become a disease both endemic and epidemic. Corruption is not confined to high levels like politicians, bureaucrats, business and industrial houses only, but has extended to every strata of society. It has reached such an alarming stage that it needs immediate check; otherwise it will be a world of outlaws. There is need to introduce new laws, as the people have made mockery of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The media should also highlight such malpractices more actively. It will definitely have an impact on the people involved in the malaise of corruption. Raids by government agencies to bring the culprits into light will also help minimise corruption.

— SUTOPA GANGULI, Paonta Sahib, HP

Don’t glamorise the corrupt

I suggest the following five steps to stop corruption in the country:

1. Debar corrupt and criminal candidates from seeking election to Parliament and the State Legislative Assemblies.

2. Confiscate the ill-gotten properties of the guilty.

3. Introduce stringent laws and ensure the speedy disposal of corruption cases.

4. Start the cleansing process from the top; honest persons should be given due respect and the corrupt should be shown the door.

5. The media should stop glamorising corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.

— OM DATT SHARMA, Advocate

The onus is on bureaucrats

Corruption has now become all-pervasive, covering practically every field of life. It cannot be eradicated totally, but can be minimised and checked. Two kinds of actors are involved in corruption—bureaucrats and politicians. While bureaucrats can be corrupt independently, politicians can be corrupt in collusion with officials only. If bureaucrats become honest, political corruption will automatically come down. At each level of the government, there must be adequate autonomy. The properly structured decentralisation can empower the people and make governments and authorities accountable. There has been corruption in all societies, but it is possible to evolve a general framework of functioning that can help reduce corruption.



Inculcate spirit of patriotism

The fast-growing menace of corruption has shattered the economy of the country. The worst suffers are the middle class and the lower middle class. Politician and bureaucrats are considered to be the most corrupt in this race for accumulation of illegal money. They get monthly shares through their subordinates and never get caught by anti-corruption agencies. Even these agencies are found indulging in it. Honest officials are sidelined by their seniors for not indulging in corrupt practices. The present anti-corruption laws have failed to deter people. The only solution is to inculcate the spirit of patriotism in the minds and the hearts of the people. All government offices should have portraits of freedom fighters. Fast courts should be formed for speedy trials and to avoid unnecessary delays.


Make sincere efforts

Corruption has crept into almost every walk of life. It is hindering the talent to come up and work for development of the country. There have been discussions on its various facets, but least efforts are being made to curb this menace. There are no soft options to do away with this cancerous disease from society. In spite of anti-corruption measures, it is spreading at an alarming rate. A few honest heads of the states, central government and politicians are also unable to stop corruption because of non-cooperation of their colleagues. National character is taking its toll on enforcement agencies as well. It should be realised that mere sermons and public statements would not be able to stop corruption. If the Centre, states and elected representatives make a sincere attempt, this menace can be effectively tackled. They should convince the masses that they mean business. This would encourage and awaken the general public. To start a movement against the menace of corruption is the need of the hour.

— Brig BANT SINGH, AVSM (retd), Bathinda

A nine-point formula

1. Corrupt politicians or bureaucrats should be given exemplary punishments.

2. The election process should be reformed.

3. The people should be given right to recall politicians.

4. The guilty should be expelled from his job.

5. Tax structure should be reformed to tame corruption.

6. The selection process should be made transparent.

7. Stress should be laid on character building.

8. Honest people should be rewarded.

9. If the situation doesn’t improve, the country should be handed over to the Army.

— Prof RAJAN KAPOOR, Nakodar

Eliminate VVIP syndrome

I am neither a cynical nor a pessimist when I say that no amount of measures can stop corruption in our country. Corruption is now in our blood. Our bone marrows have been badly infected by this incurable disease. In fact, an honest person is considered an oddity in our society. Corruption flows from the top to bottom and not the other way round, defying gravity. If politicians start conducting, it would come down automatically. The VVIP/VIP syndrome should be eliminated, from which our politicians suffer without exception. Except for the President, Prime Minister, Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force, no one else should be given a VVIP/VIP status. Politicians are expected to be the first to abide by rules and regulations. Any infringement by them should invite severer punishment. Besides, they should go about their tasks without red lights and security personnel. Similarly, all government servants and police personnel should be asked to pay greater attention to their jobs.

— V. P. SHARMA, Chandigarh


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