Saturday, April 9, 2011
LOK PAL BILL - DRAFT NATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION STRATEGY OF CVC OF 2010 - WHERE THINGS GO WRONG
Today, all of our Attention is on the Lok Pal Bill – for tackling High level Corruption.
But, at this historic point of time, there is a definite need for all of us to find some good answers to a few basic questions, very frankly.
Why are our existing Laws insufficient to tackle the monumental corruption in our country? We have probably more laws than US or UK, and more stringent laws also at that - but still, we have much more corruption than those countries.
Whether it is high level corruption to be tackled by Lok Pal, or mid-level corruption to be tackled by Chief Vigilance Commissioner or other levels of corruption to be tackled by Departmental Vigilance wings – the basic issues are always the same. Do we know these basic issues? Do we know where our failures lie?
Before Anna Hazare undertook his Fast, in very recent past also, many people were fighting corruption as individual Battles.
Baba RamDevji was igniting the fire all over India, though, in a different way. He had reached out to many people all over India personally and told them so boldly, to fight against corruption. But, Politicians said, a swami should not indulge in Politics! He should not talk of Political corruption!
Kiran Bedi’s service life was full of her individual fight against corruption and Injustice. Now – she feels freer to come out more openly against corruption and Injustice. But, I think, she too never had a proper platform to carry on her crusade to her full potential and heart’s content.
Swami Agnivesh was associating in many worthy causes continuously, but again as an Individual with a heart.
Arvind Kejriwal was also almost a lone fighter for transparency in government functioning and RTI.
Anna Hazare was fighting many battles alone against Corruption for so long.
Supreme Court Lawyer Prashant Bhushan was speaking aloud against Judicial corruption – very boldly, but again, he too was a lone fighter.
Likewise, the Ex Law Minister Shanti Bhushan was a crusader against judicial corruption- but as a lone fighter.
If you include active Politicians in this list, you can’t miss out people like Subramaniam Swamy, whose battles also are lone man’s battles always.
But, when non-political Individuals talk of ending corruption – Politicians (and some sections of media) give them names and backgrounds that never exist and try their might to malign them personally.
There were so many RTI activists who were fighting their battles against Corruption, and some of them got killed also – as we all know.
We must remember that - if the fighter against corruption ends, the fight against corruption also ends. The corrupt man knows this better than the Non-corrupt man.
Any section of people must be welcome to fight against Corruption. Whether he is a spiritualist, actor, lawyer, politician, or a bureaucrat – all must be welcome to fight in such social causes.
The national mood has, for quite some time, been of total disgust and resentment against the rising corruption in the country. But, there has been a certain helplessness in all people. The corrupt men are much better organized than the fighters against corruption, who are badly divided.
This was - till Anna Hazare decided to go on his Fast for the Jan Lok Pal Bill. That changed a lot of things.
Now, there is a recognizable common Plat form for all people to come together, under a respected leader like Anna Hazare – to fight all of their battles against Corruption. And, the Prime minister, who himself has an impeccable, admirable and clean record, has promptly taken the lead and announced the members of the drafting committee – as sought by the Civil activists. The ministers nominated are all well known for their clean record. This far, things have gone well.
I would however prefer that the committee also had two opposition stalwarts and people like Narayana Murthy – so that this fight against corruption will clearly look like a national Consensus from the start and reflect the oneness of all non-corrupt people against the virus of corruption. It is TIME TO UNITE!
In September, 2010, the then Chief Vigilance Commissioner had floated a Draft National Anti-Corruption Strategy, and had called for suggestions thereon. This writer had sent a number of suggestions in response to it. Many others also may have sent in their suggestions. The Draft Anti-corruption strategy of the CVC was a well drafted one, and if approved by Government and Parliament, can be a good tool fight corruption.
Now that the Nation has grown much more impatient with corruption – I am placing a few of my suggestions (dayed 19.09.2010) to the CVC herein, in a very summarized form:
MY SUGGESTIONS TO CVC
NATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION STRATEGY
(1) VALUE BASED EDUCATION : HOW BEST & FAST WE CAN INTRODUCE :-
Wide-spread corruption in our country is an evidence of a deeper moral turpitude. So, any strategy that does not tackle this moral turpitude at the core level has lesser chances of success.
Strong moral courage and conviction in the individual prevents corruption and all other crime to a significant extent, say, to about 80 percent.
Beyond that, fear of detection and punishment become necessary and will work. But first comes strong morality and that can only be ingrained in an Individual at young ages.
There must be strong moral education from class V to collegiate level in some form or other. When an Individual comes out of his Education, he must stand for strong, well recognized National Values. No religion can be against Honesty, Non-violence, Non-corruptible behavior, strong Nationalist sentiment, and so on. Why are we failing to inculcate these in our young men?
Sir, from my view point, the TOP PRIORITY for India today, is a strong VALUE BASED EDUCATION. In the absence of this, even some section of teachers, lecturers and professors are behaving in unspeakable, profane, abusive, obscene and illegal ways.
Bad behavior of such Bad Teachers is highly contagious. One bad teacher can spoil thousands of students in his life time. He can undo the good work of hundreds of good teachers. He can be the most corrupting influence on the students.
So, there must immediately be a compulsory TEACHERS TRAINING for about a WEEK (renewed every year) for reforming the bad teacher behavior and strengthening the good teacher behavior; and making them all teach good behavior to students compulsorily as part of their teaching. This lays the strongest base for the future of India.
Sir, we must tackle the CAUSE – not just the EFFECT. Lack of good moral education is the cause – Corruption is the Effect. If you tackle the EFFECT without tackling the CAUSE, you are bound to fail, again and again.
(2) TACKLING NAKED CORRUPTION – TOP PRIORITY : Sir, you have beautifully classified corruption as (i) Petty corruption Vs Grand corruption; and (ii) Political corruption Vs Administrative Corruption and you have dealt with them in appropriate ways.
I will add one more to the classification (i) Naked corruption and (ii) covered corruption.
Go to any city in India. The first level of corruption you will notice is at the traffic constable level. Wherever and whenever he stops a 2 wheeler, 3 wheeler or 4 wheeler – Just watch out what he does.
I am not saying that all are corrupt or even that majority are corrupt. Majority may be duty conscious. But, you can see Naked, open corruption in many such places.
In most movies, and TV serials, these traffic Police officers are uniformly and openly projected as corrupt and as harassing the Public – much unlike the western Police.
Can we not, as a nation, tackle even such a naked corruption, which everybody knows? It must be the easiest to tackle. Such naked corruption can be seen in many government offices, Police stations and in many places all over India.
Majority of officials are good. But, evidently, good people are not able to tackle corrupt people. The corrupt person does not himself remain corrupt. He wants all his colleagues to become corrupt – so that no one reports any thing to anybody.
So, the war on corruption must first start on such naked corruption. If we can’t tackle naked corruption, we can’t tackle any corruption. On naked corruption, it must be an open, declared war. Nothing short of that will deter them from naked corruption.
(3) BRING IN RESULT ORIENTED RULES – AND SCRAP PROCEDURE ORIENTED RULES:-
Procedure Oriented Rules which have no Result orientation are the most responsible for corruption in Government.
In Government departments, there is a catch phrase, justifying their procedure orientation and lack of RESULT orientation. These are called 3Cs – CAG, CVC and CBI. All officers say – they are afraid of the 3 Cs. So, they prefer to adhere to procedure – and not to Result achievement.
CAG, CVC and CBI are also procedure oriented. They usually haul up officers NOT for not achieving the END RESULT required, but mostly for not complying with a PRESCRIBED PROCEDURE. Let me tell you, Sir, Procedure Oriented Rules are the MOST RESPONSIBLE fro corruption.
We therefore need rules which prescribe -
(i) a DEFINITE END RESULT,
(ii) a DEFINITE TIME FRAME to achieve it,
(iii) a DEFINITE COST FACTOR within which to achieve it (required in many cases), and
(iv) a Definite QUALITY FACTOR to be ensured.
By definite, I mean – a measurable and comparable one between time periods and between individual achievers.
Such rules prescribing the 4 vital factors will achieve results, ensure quality and reduce corruption. To suit these FOUR vital, ultimate requirements, we need to mould all the rules and procedures. If any of these 4 are absent in a Rule in some form or other – it is a bad rule, per se.
Corruption comes down drastically, if there are transparent, result oriented rules.
(4) LET RULES NOT ASK PEOPLE TO COUNT STARS :
If you order me to count stars and say that you will punish me for not giving you the result, I will give you an untruth you cannot verify! There are such impossible and impractical tasks in present rules and procedures requiring officials to comply with.
This in turn gives rise to huge corruption or hurried execution or both. Or, just plain misreporting. We must prescribe rules which can be humanly accomplished.
(5) UNIFORMITY OF PUNISHMENTS :-
Lack of uniformity in punishments is a big cause of corruption. For same offence, one person gets increments cut; another gets dismissed and another gets demoted. Another may be just warned! There is huge subjectivity and punishment depends a lot on Disciplinary Authority’s moods (and bias) rather than the offence. All offences by government servants can be classified under about 30 categories. We can prescribe Uniform Punishments at least for the first offense. This reduces discrimination and corruption both.
The same holds equally true for JUDICIAL PRONOUNCEMENTS. For same offence, punishments are highly varying. Some people get away with minimal punishments while some get maximum punishments. It is definitely possible to prescribe (i) Minimum punishment only, for first offence (ii) Mid-level for second time and (iii) Highest for third offence. A third timer should not get away with minimum punishment while a first timer should not get maximum punishment.
(6) AT THE END :
I have omitted a number of my suggestions made to CVC here. Many people in the Organizations mentioned here are Good – as most Indians are. But, some of the systems are Bad, and capable of making even good people become or look Bad.
We, as Indians, must all rise above CORRUPTION and we must also manifestly and evidently LOOK SO. Any Indian and any foreigner must be able to see the IMPROVEMENT very clearly.
The committee formation is a Great step – Thanks to Anna Hazare and thanks to the Prime Minister.
But, as the saying goes – “and miles to go, before we can sleep.”