Sunday, February 6, 2011

Corruption:The Biggest Menace

" Corruption strikes at the roots of good governance. It dents our international image and demeans us before our own people. It needs to be faced frontally, boldly and quickly." These remarks by our prime minister sound as if it is a new and recent phenomenon in our country. Surprisingly, during a span of 25 years of public life, he never felt the necessity of talking about it. Tackling it is perhaps too much of an expectation from any of the politicians of this country. The only other time I remember of hearing about corruption being talked about was during the days of late Mrs Indira Gandhi and the nation was told that it was a universal phenomenon and therefore cannot be helped. But we are all aware that corruption has taken roots in our blood and nothing happens in this country without money changing hands.
Controls breed corruption and corruption breeds Black Money is an old saying. Successive governments have made some progress in removing some controls but these reforms have still to go a long way and even then corruption and black money will not vanish as new ways and avenues will keep on emerging in a developing economy.Such passive measures will make generation of black money arising out of tax evasion less attractive but black money generated through corruption and graft can only be tackled through strict and deterrent methods and plugging the investments where this money is utilised.
Prime Minister has appointed a group of ministers to look into ways and means to tackle corruption. They are likely to come out with passive measures only which according to economic principles are capable of yielding results in the long run. We need something immediately to tackle corruption and black money in totality including deterrent methods. To much is at stake for the nation. We gloat about the progress during the last fifty years but the sad fact is that direct and indirect tax kitty of the union government does not match the GDP growth rate in actual value terms. The only thing that not only matches but exponentially outperforms this growth rate is corruption and creation of black money.
Dear prime minister, you do not need a team of senior ministers and bureaucrats to look into corruption, for these people in all likelihood will either themselves have an axe to grind or they are far removed from the ground realities as they don't have to face them because of their might and connections. You need advice from some right thinking incorruptible people from amongst general masses who can let you know the centres of corruption, bribery and black money generation. If right steps are taken a GDP growth rate of even 15 % can be a near term reality.