Citizens suggest ways to reduce corruption in the country
Functioning Anti-Corruption helpline of Anti-Corruption Bureaus, CCTVs in all Government offices with public interaction and faceless/online processes for property registration, municipal works key to reduce corruption according to people
9th December 2019, New Delhi: The United Nations General Assembly designated 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day, since corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries. Corruption undermines the foundation of democratic institutions & the rule of law, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability. As India observes this day, LocalCircles and Transparency International have kicked off a national debate on solutions to reduce corruption.
The India Corruption Survey 2019, released by LocalCircles and Transparency International India brought out the magnitude of corruption prevalent in India. With 51% citizens admitting to paying a bribe in the last 12 months, it is time that we move from problems to solutions. Solutions, which if identified and implemented will lead to reduction in corruption on the ground.
Lokayukta in Indian States: In 2018, Only 23 out of 30 State Govt. (including Union Territory Delhi) enacted Lokayukta Act and 5 Lokayukta posts remained vacant.
In 2019, all 29 State Governments (including Union Territory Delhi and excluding Jammu & Kashmir which is now a UT) have enacted Lokayukta Act (Telangana currently combined with Andhra Pradesh but there is a separate Telangana Lokayukta Act 2017 which has been passed) but 6 Lokayukta posts remained vacant.
Computerisation continues to take place in an increasing number of Government offices but the results of this year’s survey show that bribery continues despite workings being computerised at Government offices. 44% of the citizens who paid a bribe once or more this year said that they paid the bribe in an office that was computerised. On the other hand a much lower, only 16% citizens paid a bribe this year in an office with CCTV cameras. Surveillance and digital monitoring discourages the give and take of bribes just because ‘someone might be watching’. CCTVs should be installed and maintained at all Government offices where there is public interaction.
61% citizens this year, compared to 58% last year said that there was no functioning hotline in their state to easily report bribery and corruption. This shows that the states are not making any progress in enabling citizens to easily report cases of corruption. According to people, if someone goes through an extortion situation and pays a bribe, there is no easy way to report and get redressal. A functional hotline to report corruption and a link of this hotline with the anti-corruption bureau is a must according to people.
The survey also shows that most state Governments have been unable to take concrete and effective steps to reduce corruption. The percentage of citizens who felt that effective steps have been taken by their state Government reduced from 9% last year to 6% this year while the ones who said no steps have been taken at all remained constant at 48%.
Citizens also suggested various ways through which instances of property registration and municipal bribery could be addressed. They said that the working of the property registration office and municipalities should be systemised in such a way that the ‘last step human interactions’ is eliminated. According to people with Aadhar and digital signatures being commonly used, there should be no need for in person visits to register or transfer properties. Citizens are clear that the elimination of human interactions to get work done in public offices would automatically lead to reduction in bribery demand.
When it came to corruption in police, citizens suggested that police officers should be armed with bodycams which records all their movements and interactions with the public, just like it happens in some developed countries. This will reduce cases of police asking for bribes as well as false accusations of demand for bribes.
Citizens have also suggested that the Central Government should link funds provided to different states for Central Government Missions on the basis of corruption free governance initiatives implemented by the state. This will lead to competition amongst states to deliver clean governance.
If these recommendations are acted upon, people feel that corruption on the ground experienced by common citizens will drastically decline. This combined with fast track processing of corruption cases in the court could lead to India significantly improving its corruption rankings in the international corruption index.
To ensure that the common citizen has a facility available to report and discuss corruption, LocalCircles and Transparency International India are enabling open access to India’s Online Anti-Corruption Community ‘Together Against Corruption’ for all citizens. This access was earlier limited to invitation based. Anyone facing a corruption issue or knowledgeable about how to handle a corruption situation can now access the community at http://bit.ly/fight-corruption-together.
About Transparency International India
Transparency International India (TII) is a leading non-political, independent, non-governmental anti-corruption organisation of India. TII has extensive expertise and understanding of issues of corruption in India.