Corruption-can it be tamed?

Under pressure from various forces, the Central Government has taken a host of changes in vigilance operations within ministries. It has ordered each ministry to define and set up new mechanisms to curb corruption in its respective department.

Along with it, the department of personnel and training (DoPT) has ordered that decisions on prosecuting officials for graft be fast tracked.  The department further asked all ministries to take tentative view on the issue of starting prosecution against its officers and conclude a final decision within 3 months once advice is being received from CVC.

Further, in order to make the decision making quick, the DoPT has asked the authorities to avoid endless representations from the officers under suspicion. Besides this, there was recommendation for a monitoring cell to be set up in each ministry and department to keep a tab on the pending graft cases on a daily basis.

Last year, it also decided that during prosecution, some measures would be proposed which are as follows:

  • Retirement won’t be a ground to drop proceedings. After retirement, 10 % cut in pension would be imposed in case of minor penalty.
  • For a major penalty, instead of compulsory retirement, there would be 20% cut in pension.

Hope these measures would be implemented in an effective manner to have some impact.

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11 Responses to Corruption-can it be tamed?

  1. Dr.Gyaneshwar says:

    Subhashji I had read your comments a few days back. Though I am not connected with any NGO but I am regularly going through the debates and problems discussed on this forum. I appreciate the initiative taken by you. On the matter of corruption there may be umpteen number of views but it can not go as it resides in our minds and benefits almost all individually who indulge in it accept the society at large which suffers in toto. Especially your comment that the guilty is not punished except for the transfer in Govt is very relevant for perpetuation of corruption and who will punish whom when all are involved and benefiting.

  2. Ashish Saxena says:

    Corruption can be tamed by making examples of corrupt people by severely punishing them publically. Few examples will set the ball rolling and getting corruption free India.



  3. bansilal mattoo says:

    Dear Guru,
    As the country is registering growth, there should be a rational and automatic system of constantly reviewing the wage structure in all organised sectors of economy and the minimum wage should ensure dignified living of a worker protected by law. Pay packets should ensure basic necessities of life in Indian conditions. This effort should be coupled with time bound enforcement of law so that offenders are booked

    B. L. Mattoo KAS
    Director General Finance(Retd.)
    J&K State Government

    • Harish Chotani says:

      Dear members,

      The root of corruption is the depletion of ethics (external factor in the society and governance) and integrity (internal factor to human being). One can debate and may find solutions to problem of corruption, but taming is not likely to be effective because of the two factors that I have stated. Under the banner of democracy, we have positioned ourselves to a “law of freeness”.

      Therefore, we need to go back to our family value systems which have changed drastically to socio-economic and technological changes occurred drastically that is influencing the day to day life. We also need to pay serious attention to our NGOs/CBOs work which unfortunately has been driven towards demand and supply of products and services on contractual basis. The process oriented development aspects are not much touched upon to evolve the social aspects of the household, community and habitat. The work in the process oriented social aspects is not happening because money has mattered the most in the products and services which are heavily quantifiable in terms of delivery and time. So, in other words, the programs have now been converted to time and resources bound projects linked to outputs. Government has evolved large scale schemes and NGOs/CBOs are conduit to implement them.

      Each functional layer be it Government, Private sector, NGOs and other, have to evolve high degree of ethics and integrity beyond the demand and supply of quantitative matters. Its time to pay attention to “QUALITY” without which the social life is incomplete and the economic resources may not be harnessed to its optimum.

      Much can be written and debated on this hot topic corruption, but lets go back to the basics first that I have alluded to in the paragraphs above.

      Harish Chotani

      • Darshan Khanna says:

        Nobody will disagree with what Harish Chotani has said. However, it is not that there was no corruption in our society in olden times. There was though it was well hidden and much less publicized. The only solution is to bring justice and equality in society and when everybody has enough for their needs there is less temptation for corruption (example Switzerland). This cannot be done in a hurry in an ancient society where inequalities and social injustice are inherent, but it is never late to make a start.

        Darshan Khanna

    • Subhash Mittal says:

      Dear Mr Mattoo,

      Thank you for joining the debate. If I may introduce SRRF Dialogue members Mr Mattoo is a very senior retired official from the Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir.

      Mr Mattoo, I would like to take advantage of your vast experience in the Govt and request you to pl. fill SRRF Dialogue members (if you consider it appropriate) of the major criteria followed while appraising an officer in the Govt. systems. In your view how the system could be further improved.

      with warm rgds


  4. Subhash Mittal says:

    Dear Guru,

    Thank you for your views. What you say is very correct. I would like to add my two-bits to the debate.

    I believe there are two aspects of Governance, one non-performance (which has a huge cost) and the other corruption. One of the major problem in Govt project management is that, no officer is penalised for non-performance (maximum penalty is a transfer) and there are no promotional incentives, except perhaps a pat on the back. I have come across a case, where a Civil Surgeon (who heads NRHM Programme in district) sat on a file for allocation of funds to blocks, because he had an ego clash with the District Collector, who had asked questions on the same. Rather than satisfying the officer, Civil Surgeon chose not to allocate the funds at all, simply because he knew nothing of consequence would happen to him for not spending the money rec’d for a programme. Several senior officers who are about to retire, prefer to keep status quo since they are afraid that decision-making may result in audit issues. Several of them show ‘non-spending’ as their certificate of honesty. The Appraisal system needs a total relook.

    In addition to man-management, I believe if anyone is interested in reducing corruption in Govt. systems, institutional reforms using technology would go a long way. All of us know how the reservation system in Indian Railways has minimised corruption in booking of tickets, at least for the common man. I know there are still problems in VIP quota, however overall the problem has become much better than earlier. Another major improvement has been in Income Tax Refunds. For last 2-3 years, most persons get refunds directly credited in their bank accounts. Huge amount of funds will be refunded (one estimate is that during current year Rs 1.20 lakh crores are likely to be refunded). We all know how difficult it was to get even small refund from Income Tax dept. without greasing several palms, and now such large amounts are getting credited directly in the bank accounts. I believe such measures of automation and transparency would also help reduce corruption. Govt’s decision to go for e-procurment, as well as Direct Cash Transfers to beneficiaries are likely to also help in this regard.

    However the Govt. is so huge and so all-pervasive (Central Govt, state Govts & local govts.), that any such measures hardly seem to be a drop in the ocean.

    warm rgds


    • V.S.Gurumani says:

      Dear Subhash,

      Thank you very much for taking time to reply my comment on the blog.

      I am of the view that while technology can doubtless be a powerful tool to bust corruption, better people management systems can be even more effective. As the country’s largest employer, it is amazing that the government follows colonial systems to manage its human resources. I head up a medium sized international NGO and have found that all work in social development is about creating change leaders at all levels. Seen in this way, I believe the entire government machinery is comprised of change leaders at every level.

      I heard Mr Narayana Murthy (who I knew at one time—of course, he may not remember me) in his recent interview on television lamenting that we as a country are not focusing sufficiently on execution and are constantly chasing new legislation. The same thought was echoed in the Tim Sebastian debate on women’s place in India last night. Why doesn’t Mr Murthy emulate his colleague Nandan Nilekani and step in to advise the government on developing an execution focused people management plan? That is just a thought…

      Warm regards,


  5. c udayashankar says:

    It is worse than fixing a penalty of Rs.100 per Tonne of pollutants released in to a River
    by any Industry! It is the corrupt official responsible for Industrial oversight whu allows pollution affecting the livelihoods of millions and health of many more and and ecology.
    For such a corrupt official, punishment is 10 / 20% cut in pension! Punishment should be as exemplary as it is in USA – one has to reborn to complete the term of sentence!
    Taming the Tiger is easier than taming biped’s corruption !

  6. V S Gurumani says:

    These short term measures can act as deterrents and ensure that the fence sitters, i.e., those who would quietly take a bribe after much agonising, do not jump the fence. The longer term, lasting solution will be to speed up execution, supervision and HR management within government. Please read
    for a brutally frank view on how people are managed in the government. In my own experience, I have seen that the deployment of people in the field is very lop sided and most field staff are not guided or supervised properly. When Manmohan Singh became the PM the first time in 2004, he said he would make sure that collectors or DMs are not shifted for at least two years and would do all he could to ensure three year terms. This has not happened in most states of the country. The other issue, of course, is the lack of rigorous homework in budgeting resulting in large sums of money in the hands of ill qualified staff. This results in more than 50% of the annual budget spent in the last quarter, often most of it in March. With this kind of hyper activity, there are bound to be lapses all around.

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