This topic provides information about corruption and ways to prevent it.
Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines rule of law, leads to violations of human rights and allows organized crime to flourish.
What is corruption
Transparency International (TI) defines corruption as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain or specific group interest”. The United Nations points out that corruption can take many forms that vary in degree, from the minor use of influence to institutionalized bribery, and that “this can mean not only financial gain but also non-financial advantages” (UN, 2010).
Corruption can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.
- Grand corruption consists of acts committed at a high level of government that distort policies or the central functioning of the state, enabling leaders to benefit at the expense of the public good.
- Petty corruption refers to everyday abuse of entrusted power by low- and mid-level public officials in their interactions with ordinary citizens, who often are trying to access basic goods or services in places like hospitals, schools, police departments and other agencies.
- Political corruption is a manipulation of policies, institutions and rules of procedure in the allocation of resources and financing by political decision makers, who abuse their position to sustain their power, status and wealth
Costs of corruption
Corruption impacts societies in a multitude of ways. In the worst cases, it costs lives. Short of this, it costs people their freedom, health or money. The cost of corruption can be divided into four main categories: political, economic, social and environmental.
- On the political front, corruption is a major obstacle to democracy and the rule of law. In a democratic system, offices and institutions lose their legitimacy when they’re misused for private advantage. This is harmful in established democracies, but even more so in newly emerging ones. It is extremely challenging to develop accountable political leadership in a corrupt climate.
- Economically, corruption depletes national wealth. Corrupt politicians invest scarce public resources in projects that will line their pockets rather than benefit communities, and prioritise high-profile projects such as dams, power plants, pipelines and refineries over less spectacular but more urgent infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals and roads. Corruption also hinders the development of fair market structures and distorts competition, which in turn deters investment.
- Corruption corrodes the social fabric of society. It undermines people's trust in the political system, in its institutions and its leadership. A distrustful or apathetic public can then become yet another hurdle to challenging corruption.
- Environmental degradation is another consequence of corrupt systems. The lack of, or non-enforcement of, environmental regulations and legislation means that precious natural resources are carelessly exploited, and entire ecological systems are ravaged. From mining, to logging, to carbon offsets, companies across the globe continue to pay bribes in return for unrestricted destruction.
What is bribery
The offering, promising, giving, accepting or soliciting of an advantage as an inducement for an action which is illegal, unethical or a breach of trust. Inducements can take the form of gifts, loans, fees, rewards or other advantages (taxes, services, donations, favours etc.).
Central Vigilance Commission in India
The Central Vigilance Commission was set up by the Government in February,1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam, to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the field of vigilance. Arising out of the case of Vineet Narain vs. Union of India , the Supreme court had directed the Central Government to confer statutory status to Central Vigilance Commission , which was hitherto an advisory body, and also made it responsible for effective supervision of the functioning of CBI. The CVC is not controlled by any Ministry/Department. It is an independent body which is only responsible for the Parliament.
The CVC is not an investigating agency. The CVC either get the investigation done through the CBI or through the Departmental Chief Vigilance Officers. Secondly, the CVC orders investigation in to cases of officials of Central Government Departments/Companies/Organisations only.
In every State of India, there is either a State Vigilance Commission or Lok Ayukta which is looking after the vigilance matters of the State Governments.
Source : Central Vigilance Commission
The Lokpal is the first institution of its kind in independent India,established under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 to inquire and investigate into allegations of corruption against public functionaries who fall within the scope and ambit of the above Act.
The Lokpal of India is committed to address concerns and aspirations of the citizens of India for clean governance. It shall make all efforts within its jurisdiction to serve the public interest and shall endeavor to use the powers vested in it to eradicate corruption in public life.
India is a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The commitment of the Government to provide clean and responsive governance is reflected in passing of the legislation and creation of the body of Lokpal, to contain and punish acts of corruption.
The Lokpal has jurisdiction to inquire into allegations ovf corruption against anyone who is or has been Prime Minister, or a Minister in the Union government, or a Member of Parliament, as well as officials of the Union Government under Groups A, B, C and D. Also covered are chairpersons,members, officers and directors of any board, corporation, society, trust or autonomous body either established by an Act of Parliament or wholly or partly funded by the Union or State government. It also covers any society or trust or body that receives foreign contribution above Rs 10 lakh (approx. US$ 14,300/- as of 2019).
Source : Lokpal