By Ajit Chak
It is relieving to note that the Modi Government will carry out a drive against corruption very soon, in fact sources say this drive could begin from August 15 this year itself in a move designed to give India Independence from corruption. The plan is to live up to the expectations of the voters in the nation who brought the NDA government to power in the Centre in the hope that it would end corruption in the nation.
Addressing a press conference in Lucknow, Amit Shah the top man of the BJP organisation today, who was sitting alongside the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the two Deputy CMs KP Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, announced that the Modi government would keep its word and strictly pursue matters against the corrupt in positions of power. He was at that time answering a question related to the Yadav family in Bihar but he implied that the war against corruption would be widened soon. The question is how will the government identify corruption.
One parameter of identifying corruption would be to judge the performance of a particular department. For example if there is a development authority in a city which has engineers to ensure that building violations do not take place but the city has several building violations and land use violations then it can be safely assumed that those who have served in the Lucknow Development Authority in the last ten to 12 years have been extremely corrupt. This is because Lucknow has become a forest of illegal commercial buildings despite a huge LDA office and even a special LDA court set up with quasi judicial powers under a PCS officer. Encroachments have grown, shops have come up even on footpaths and even the Lucknow Nagar Nigam which is expected to carry out demolitions and clear encroachments is compared to a snake’s pit of corruption by citizens. So will the Modi and Yogi government use this model to identify corrupt officials?
The performance of a department also decides how happy the local people are with a government. Take the case of Delhi. If a sewer line chokes in an apartment complex in Delhi the guard on duty phones up the MCD and the department officials arrive within four hours to clean up everything. If a sewer line chokes in Chandigarh then maybe the department officials will arrive in two hours. But if a sewer line chokes in Lucknow – which is also supposed to be a smart city — then half a week could go by but no team will show up from the LMC. A department’s performance has to be inefficient, if the employees are indolent or corrupt.
The state of traffic is a city is a good indicator of how corrupt the police are or the transport authority is. It is well known today that illegal parkings and illegal tempo stops have come up all over the city of Lucknow and other Uttar Pradesh towns simply because they provide a cut to the traffic cop who simply ensures that a percentage reaches right up to the top. The work of regulating traffic is replaced by the work of collecting a facilitation charge in some areas of some cities and this leads to traffic jams and chaos in these cities. So are traffic jams therefore also an indicator that there is corruption in the police force?
The biggest mistake a government can make when it comes to identifying corrupt officials is to assume that the entire system in some states has not become corrupt. It is also to be noted that corruption and inefficiency have to go hand in hand because they are like siblings. For corruption to thrive inefficiency has to be bulldozed into the system for if a department becomes efficient then no one will pay extra to get their work done.
This is where the solution to end corruption lies but for that the top officials have to be dedicated to the idea of doing away with corruption and the extra money it gives some to enjoy extra comforts in life. By bulldozing efficiency into a department corruption can be sidelined. This is not an easy task in a system based on rewards from the earnings of corruption.
Take the case of the power supply in a state. If a state government is not being able to identify land for a power plant in a power deficient state then it is a serious issue. For if the state is power deficient and has to import or buy power from outside the state then it needs to be investigated whether there was a corrupt motive in buying that power. For example could it have been bought at a cheaper rate? This is ofcourse the work of the CAG and the Indian Audits and Accounts Service. There are several indicators and it is high time that the government realised that it is the system that is breeding corruption.
There are two kinds of officials those who put their careers at stake by trying to combat corruption and those who try and avoid it by side-stepping it. They will all happily take on corruption if given the go ahead.