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Report on the Seminar, “YOU CAN STOP CORRUPTION” organized by UNODC, ROSA on December 9, 2005 at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi INTRODUCTORY SESSION 1000-1045 MR. SHANKAR SEN, Senior Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences: Welcome Address and Introduction Mr. Shankar Sen welcomed the participants. The session started with the introduction to the background and context of the issue of corruption. Mr. Sen informed the participants about the level and dimension of corruption in different states of India and how India has become one of the most corrupt countries according to a study by Transparency International, which examined the magnitude, prevalence and dimensions of corruption in these states. It was felt that there is an argument that corruption slows down the process of development. The discussion was focused on what could be done to stop corruption, which was the theme of the Seminar. The key issues discussed were: Corruption causes the illegal transfer of state revenue to sources outside the country. It causes the total mismanagement of public administration. It has been observed that it has now become a risk-free enterprise. It leads to monopoly and class discrimination Predictably the common man becomes a victim as a consequence of corruption. Therefore the role of government agencies in tackling corruption is very crucial. There is lots of discretion in the hands of government. Some people may argue that corruption in public service is linked to low salaries Singapore as an example is perceived to have an upright bureaucracy because it pays its public servants are highly paid. There is a need to analyze what can be done to mobilize public opinion, to end corruption and to build up strong social opinion. There needs to be a discussion on whether it is possible to bring about improvement and about the kind of systematic changes that are required to bring about transparency in rules and procedures. Societal adherence to rules seems to be missing.

Mr. Sen stressed that he hoped that useful ideas will emerge through the seminar and awareness about the issue will be brought about. ADMIRAL TAHILIANI, Chairman, Transparency International India: “Corruption in India” He defined corruption as the use of public office for private gain. Corruption is also the use of empowered office for private gain. The main causes of corruption and their different dimensions as per the presentation are elucidated below: It is a myth that low salaries are a cause of corruption. Lack of penalty to counter corruption can be a contributing factor too. For example, Singapore is the only country where the people are hanged for corruption but such radical steps will not be successful in large democracies.

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In India however, the Fifth Pay Commission has hiked up salaries for public servants but that has not brought down corruption levels. All of us must accept our responsibilities as citizens. In any democratic structure the Government, private sector and civil society must be accountable to the people. For the past 25 years, civil society was not very active. However the civil society is now a very potent force and therefore they should be involved in good governance. There are two types of corruption – the upstream, in Government Departments where public procurement is involved for eg. defence, railways etc. The other is petty corruption, eg: for getting a driving license, offering bribes to get birth certificate, ration card etc.

Transparency International has released a report on the statistics of corruption. The findings of the report are: Statistics say that Rs. 20,000 crores is lost to corruption. Corruption is not rampant in every Government Department. The TI survey dropped two departments – railways and telephones in their survey where computerization had reduced corruption. The survey also brought out success stories, examples of good governance initiatives and innovative ways to reduce corruption. The booklet on National...
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