Corruption in India : an Empirical Study

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Over five thousand citizens of India were interviewed in the house to house survey carried out to assess the citizens perceptions on corruption prevalent in ten sectors, Education, Health, Police (Law & Order), Power, Telephone (Communication), Railways (Transport), Land & Building Administration, Judiciary, Taxation and Ration (Public distribution system).

An estimated sum of Rupees (Rs.) 26,768 crores are extracted from citizens who interact with these ten sectors. Lower strata with lower earnings are hit harder due to corruption. As per perception of the people, Police is the most corrupt sector. However, the impact of corruption is on a much larger scale in the Health and Education Sectors involving far greater number of population. Corruption in Health and Education deprives people of these basic facilities and affects human development. These are, co-relates of Human Development. Cross country data of 102 countries show that there is a high rank correlation (0.788) as well as coefficient of correlation (0.766) between Human Development Index (HDI) and Corruption Perception Index (CPI). Countries with low scores in CPI have low HDI. See Annexure ‘A’. Many avenues of corruption cannot be dealt with under the Prevention of Corruption Act,1988. In many cases the citizen is not even aware that the practices can be classified as corrupt (eg., When patients are directed to specific pathological laboratories for conduct of tests). Citizens are resentful of the existence of corruption and are willing to talk about it openly. Formation of interest groups of citizens interacting with various departments can channelize the resentments of the citizens constructively. Pressure groups so formed can take up matters with concerned authorities and seek redressal. In such areas Civil Society organizations can raise awareness among the populace and acts as catalysts. Cause for corruption is certainly containing not ‘low salary’ of those indulging in corruption. It is the lack of effective deterrence in the form of punishment to the corrupt and the lack of adequate supervision. The fact that money is being demanded directly and openly by the corrupt is a clear indication that the corrupt persons are confident that no worthwhile action can be taken against them. This reflects the fact that those guilty of corruption do not expect to be hauled up. The existing systems for identifying the corrupt and punishing them appear ineffective and provide no deterrence to those indulging in corrupt practices. Perceptions at best are indicative of the existing malaise in the systems. However, for prioritizing issues, formulations of policies and planning strategies hard data is a requirement. Policies and programs should not be based on perceptions alone.

Follow-up :
A survey is not an end in itself. Results of surveys need to be published to raise public awareness focus debates and promote institutional reform. To this end, TI India proposes to undertake the following steps : a) Disseminate the results of the survey to legislators`, Central & State Governments, Sectoral Departments and Institutions, NGOs, and the public through print and electronic media. b) Act as a catalyst to promote Citizens Interest groups and support their actions. c) Press for the formulation and effective implementation of Citizens Charters in all government departments and allied institutions.

d) Press for Service Charters from private business and institutions involved in delivery of services to the citizens. e) Press for augmenting the use of Information Technology to enable quick and easy access, and prompt disposal of cases by the government.

f) Press for transparency in actions of the government agencies in the discharge of their functions. g) Strongly bid for accountability of all functionaries.
h) Continue the programs already in hand for Moral and Ethical education, introducing Lok Pal (Ombudsman), and e-readiness and...
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