Fighting corruption

Dr.  Daleep  Pandita
Recently people gave mandate to the manifesto of a political party on one of the burning issues of eradication of corruption  menace prevalent in our country. So countrymen having genuine faith, expect strong will from the  new Government to  tackle this problem by teething present vigilance resources. Counting on  accountable governance, the  responsibility of a common man in fighting corruption also can not be undermined.
Although parliament had cleared ” Whistle-blowers Protection Bill – 2011″,  providing adequate protection to persons reporting corruption, willful misuse of discretion, misuse of power or criminal offence by a public servant, but it had no  public awareness and so its effect is not palpable at the ground level. Right to Information Act ( RTI ), which is comparatively more known and acceptable,  is playing  rather better role and is showing its importance in tackling corruption menace to some extent.
Prevention of corruption related departments  and commissions in Jammu and Kashmir state, although playing substantially active role in curbing such unlawful activities, still lot needs to be done by them  to  create a wave among masses against this evil.  They are less in surveillance causing little  impact of awareness and less prevention of corruption. Making such bodies  accountable, statutory powers and human capital need to be infused in them in order to make them more powerful and result oriented. Not much has been done in creating awareness of vigilance and gaining confidence of people in this system of governance.
In fact, we normally conceive corruption in terms of economic crime having immediate financial implications. Actually corruption is much broader term  having wider ambit and ramifications.  It ranges from economic corruption to moral corruption to social corruption to religious corruption to ethnic corruption ,  all having negative implications on growth of the society.
Before we deal with this evil, we need to understand the type and genesis of corruption and tackle it more specifically rather than accordingly. We need to be transparent and uniform in our practice,  be it an office or business or for that matter any work  and  worship place.  The  emerging concept is a proactive vision as well as an action to make every individual and organization,   transparent in its working and a habitual follower of rules.
So change of mindset in our society  for  fighting this problem tooth and nail  is basically the need of hour. Vigilance and related organisitions have to play an important role in accomplishing this mission. Creating awareness on vigilance among the people at all levels will certainly help us to achieve our goal in  a time bound manner with long lasting effects.
Vigilance has primarily two aspects to deal with. One part is preventive vigilance,  which is aimed at to create awareness among the people so as to follow thumb rule of  “prevention is better than cure ” . It not only creates a fear in the mindset due to end results of such crimes but also raises morale of an individual not to indulge in unlawful immoral practices. Our actions are aimed at to create deterrent effect in the mind of a common man. In fact, this aspect needs special and extra attention in order to build self conscious and ethically strong  society free from such impure thoughts. This approach  is purely informative, educative and propulsive to efficiency in nature.  It  creates a sense of discipline and responsibility in a set up where we have to have system of checks and balances. Ultimately such efforts yield long term effects on cleaning our system from corrupt practices.
“Pick them young” under school and college education programmes, holding workshops and seminars at organization levels, conducting conferences on  business fronts, updation and training to concerned departmental staff, proper utilization of  print and electronic media, sensitise all sections of the society towards the eradication of evils of corruption crimes. Implementation of checks and balances through auditing, surprise vigilance raids, information through RTI act and many more should be encouraged as a part of sustained campaign against such evils to create mass awareness.  Government efforts must not be limited to a  week or fortnight long vigilance  customary celebrations.
The other part of vigilance activity  is Punitive vigilance,  that aims at granting punishment  after committing crime or acts of omission or commission. It is more a reformative type of action with subsequent multiple effects and as such  not considered as a  powerful fool proof method of tackling corruption issue. It corrects the human aberrations and serves as a lesson for others.  Instead it is sometimes used as a tool for victimisation and vindiction, be it at  personal or political level or otherwise, so needs less encouragement compared to preventive aspects of vigilance.
Together with the Government, we need  to change our mind set, feel  consciously responsible and fight for our rights by creating much needed awareness  on  vigilance  aspects  for  ultimate removal  of  corruption  menace  prevalent in our society.  Compromising with our moral and ethical values and succumbing to this evil for our petty gains,  simply destroy us and our nation, which we can not afford  now.
( The author is a senior officer with Government of  India PSU  at  Jammu )


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