Be Happy – Join Crusade Against Corruption (Part 2)
Continued after previous post Be Happy – Join Crusade Against Corruption (Part 1)
Despite these weaknesses, the global coverage of these data-sets has led to their widespread adoption, most notably by the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
In response to these criticisms, a second wave of corruption metrics has been created by Global Integrity, the International Budget Partnership, and many lesser known local groups, starting with the Global Integrity Index, first published in 2004. These second wave projects aim not to create awareness, but to create policy change via targeting resources more effectively and creating checklists toward incremental reform. Global Integrity and the International Budget Partnership each dispense with public surveys and instead uses in-country experts to evaluate "the opposite of corruption" – which Global Integrity defines as the public policies that prevent, discourage, or expose corruption. These approaches compliment the first wave, awareness-raising tools by giving governments facing public outcry a checklist which measures concrete steps toward improved governance.
The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries/territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. A country/territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 - 10, where 0 means that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and 10 means that a country is perceived as very clean. A country's rank indicates its position relative to the other countries/territories included in the index. A cursory look at the status of the various countries indicates that the growth of population and per capita income plays a vital role in the level of the corruption in the respective countries.
The following were found the top ten countries in 2011:
Sr.No. Country Score Population Per capita income Density
1 New Zealand 9.5 44,39,400 $36,648 16.5/km2
2 Denmark 9.4 55,43,453 $37,151 128/km2
2 Finland 9.4 54,10,233 $36,236 16/km2
4 Sweden 9.3 95,14,406 $56,956 20.6/km2
5 Singapore 9.2 51,83,700 $59,711 7,315/km2
6 Norway 9 50,02,942 $53,470 15.5/km2
7 Netherlands 8.9 1,67,40,554 $42,183 404.5/km2
8 Australia 8.8 2,27,08,496 $40,234 2.8/km2
9 Switzerland 8.8 79,52,600 $43,369 188/km2
10 Canada 8.7 3,48,97,100 $40,541 3.41/km2
Of SAARC countries, we find the ranking as below:
38 Bhutan 5.7 7,20,679 $6,112 18.0/km2
86 Sri Lanka 3.3 2,02,77,597 $5,673 308.5/km2
95 India 3.1 1,21,01,93,422 $3,694 369.9/km2
120 Bangladesh 2.7 15,25,18,015 $1,790 1,033.5/km2
134 Pakistan 2.5 18,04,73,000 $2,787 226.6/km2
134 Maldives 2.5 3,17,280 $8,731 1,102.5/km2
154 Nepal 2.2 2,66,20,809 $1,388 199.3/km2
180 Afghanistan 1.5 2,55,00,100 $956 43.5/km2
The big five powers do have the following status:
16 UK 7.8 6,22,62,000 $36,605 255.6/km2
24 US 7.1 31,42,35,000 $48,386 33.7/km2
25 France 7 6,53,50,000 $35,613 116/km2
75 China 3.6 1,34,73,50,000 $8,382 139.6/km2
143 Russia 2.4 14,31,17,000 $16,736 8.3/km2
In India, Mr.Anna Hazare with his team and Baba Ram Dev took up this issue and launched movements at great length. Among other measures, Right to Information Act and the proposal of a Lok Pal Bill are in the same direction. At international level, in the 1990s, initiatives were taken at an international level (in particular by the European Community, the Council of Europe, the OECD) to put a ban on corruption: in 1996, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, for instance, adopted a comprehensive Programme of Action against Corruption and, subsequently, issued a series of anti-corruption standard-setting instruments:
- The Criminal Law Convention on Corruption.
- The Civil Law Convention on Corruption.
- The Additional Protocol to the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption.
- The Twenty Guiding Principles for the Fight against Corruption (Resolution.
- The Recommendation on Codes of Conduct For Public Officials.
- The Recommendation on Common Rules against Corruption in the Funding of Political Parties and Electoral Campaigns
The purpose of these instruments was to address the various forms of corruption (involving the public sector, the private sector, the financing of political activities, etc.) whether they had a strictly domestic or also a transnational dimension. To monitor the implementation at national level of the requirements and principles provided in those texts, a monitoring mechanism – the Group of States Against Corruption (also known as GRECO) (French: Groupe d'Etats contre la corruption) was created. Further conventions were adopted at the regional level under the aegis of the Organization of American States (OAS or OEA), the African Union, and in 2003, at the universal level under that of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
If we go through the roots we find that amongst all circumstances, some of the following are also responsible for the rampant corruption:
- Lacking freedom of information or Transparency.
- Lack of investigative reporting in the local media. Some of the media employees promote paid news.
- Contempt for or negligence of exercising freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
- Weak accounting practices, including lack of timely financial management.
Lack of measurement of corruption.
- Tax havens which tax their own citizens and companies but not those from other nations and refuse to disclose information necessary for foreign taxation. This enables large scale political corruption in the foreign nations.
- Lacking control of the government.
- Lack in civic society and non-governmental organizations which monitor the government.
- An individual voter may have a rational ignorance regarding politics.
- Weak and slow pace of reform.
- Weak rule of law.
- Weak legal profession.
- Weak judicial independence.
Lacking protection of whistleblowers.
- Lack of benchmarking, that is continual detailed evaluation of procedures and comparison to others who do similar things, in the same government or others, in particular comparison to those who do the best work.
- Non-availability of the opportunities and incentives.
- Public funds are centralized rather than distributed. For example, if $1,000 is embezzled from a local agency that has $2,000 funds, it is easier to notice than from a national agency with $2,000,000 funds.
- Large, unsupervised public investments.
- Sale of state-owned property and privatization.
- Government licenses needed to conduct business, e.g., licenses, encourage bribing and kickbacks.
- Long-time work in the same position may create relationships inside and outside the government which encourage and help conceal corruption and favoritism. Rotating government officials to different positions and geographic areas may help prevent this.
- Costly political campaigns.
- Interaction with officials creates the opportunities for corruption.
- War and other forms of conflict correlate with a breakdown of public security.
- Social conditions
- Family-, and clan-centered social structure, with a tradition of nepotism/favouritism being acceptable.
- Lacking literacy and education among the population.
- Frequent discrimination and bullying among the population.
- Tribal solidarity, giving benefits to certain ethnic groups.
How should we fight against corruption?
We can take all the steps whatever be necessary to eliminate this illness. Some suggestions are given below:
1. The Indian Right to Information Act 2005 is perceived to have already engendered mass movements in the country that is bringing the lethargic, often corrupt bureaucracy to its knees and changing power equations completely. It should be made more popular and implemented effectively. Other Countries which do not have so far, may also have such laws. .
2. Using regular surveys of households and businesses in order to quantify the degree of perception of corruption in different parts of a nation or in different government institutions may increase awareness of corruption and create pressure to combat it. This will also enable an evaluation of the officials who are fighting corruption and the methods used. The Peruvian organization Ciudadanos al Dia has started to measure and compare transparency, costs, and efficiency in different government departments in Peru. It annually awards the best practices which has received widespread media attention. This has created competition among government agencies in order to improve.
3. In the Indian political system, it has become usual that the leadership of national and regional parties are passed from generation to generation creating a system in which a family holds the center of power. Some examples are most of the Dravidian parties of south India and also the Congress party, which is one of the two major political parties in India. Such practice should not be promoted further so that opportunities to other competent persons be available.
4. We may reduce the role of the state in people's lives by using the Internet for sending in required information, like applications, First Incident Reports, proceedings of the courts and tax forms, and then processing this with automated computer systems will reduce the interaction with the government staff. This may also speed up the processing and reduce unintentional human errors.
5. All the financial transactions of every single penny must be documented.
6. Holding Unaccounted money in hand, bank account or invested in some tangible/intangible assets be declared as an offence with severe punishment. It should be confiscated immediately and deposited with the treasury as soon as it is traced out. Those who are found to be keeping unaccounted money must be fined so terribly that they may not repeat the offence.
7. Taxation be simplified to ensure a reasonable and transparent tax structure, backed by clean and clear enforcement and the tax/duties rates be kept so low that a general person may easily afford.
8. Accounting of public expenses be kept open to all.
9. Reasonable Ceiling over the real estate holding be enforced.
10. Introduce state-funding as part of election reforms to avoid the high cost of elections and candidates' dependence on money, which make them to compromise them from the very outset.
11. Liberal and contemporary laws be framed in easy language so that citizens can understand and respect.
12. We should ensure to minimize discretionary powers of ministers and bureaucrats to reduce scope for misuse of such powers to favor some, especially in lucrative areas such as award of government land. Where discretionary powers are unavoidable, there must be sufficient checks and balance. After a deal is done, the relevant documents should be put up on the Net.
13. Government and PSU staff, judiciary staff and police be paid market-indexed salaries commensurate with their responsibility to minimize the 'need' for bribes.
14. Gambling of any kind, lottery and all those methods which ensure easy money or flattened margins on the goods/services being traded must be eliminated.
15. Police reforms and stronger judicial accountability be introduced within a shortest time frame before the frustration of the public burst out.
16. The businessmen if they are found to be indulged in bribing officials or unfair trade practices like unusual profit margin, black marketing, hoarding, cutting down the measurements, packing quantity etc and/or adulterating be blacklisted for not less than 10 years and barred from Government Contracts.
17. Transparency and stricter scrutiny of government tenders/orders, including auction/sale of public-owned assets should be ensured.
If you feel necessary, kindly add up your suggestions to the above list and ensure that we must follow them if we want this earth to be heaven for all.
Live and Let others live peacefully and happily. Be Happy – Join Crusade Against Corruption.