Three of India’s biggest anti-graft crusaders N Santosh Hegde, N Vittal, and Govind Ragho Khairnar have unanimously voiced that corruption is not in our DNA but we have developed a habit of accepting it as natural part of our lives. Unfortunately, every citizen in the country has either been a victim or a culprit of corruption.
Corruption has increased leaps and bounds since independence. From few lakhs of corruption in the fifites, the volume has increased to lakh crores, says Nitte Santosh Hegde, former Supreme Court justice and Karnataka Lokayukta.
“It’s clear from the statistics available in the public domain that during the 1950s the scam amount used to be in lakhs. While in 1960s, the total scam amount was reported in crores, in 1970s the scam amount was reported in some thousand crores. Furthermore, from 2010 onwards, the amount of one scam scaled to lakh crore. For instance, 2G and Coalgate scam touched a massive figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore and Rs 1.86 lakh crore respectively,” he said.
Corruption permeates all walks of India’s life, says N Vittal, former Central Vigilance Commissioner. “It is not only our political system that is corrupt. Graft seems to have become a part of our daily lives. The level of corruption depends on three factors: individual values, societal values and system of governance.”
Politicians must share the major part of the blame, according to Govind Ragho Khairnar, former deputy municipal commissioner of Mumbai. “Our politicians aim to make themselves and their parties richer and for this they involve in corrupt practices to raise money. Parties also try to spread their agenda through bureaucrats and in this process they tend to indulge into corrupt practices.”
The parliamentary system too comes with its own set of problems, according to Amar Singh, former Samajwadi Party leader “Money power matters in parliamentary system. One needs either dynasty or money power to make it big in Indian politics.”
Too much discretionary power vests with our elected representatives and politicians. “We have given so much power to our elected representatives and politicians. However, they are not showing adequate accountability and seriousness in our system,” Hegde stressed.
Suggesting ways to impart transparency to the system, Vittal said, “Contestants against whom criminal charges are framed in the court should not be permitted to contest in the elections. This means that we are preventing criminals from becoming a part of the government. Moreover, the government must ensure that the right person heads every department.”
Most importantly, societal mindset must change. “If citizens of India won’t change their attitude then it’s difficult to control the corruption in our country. We should tackle our youth better so that they can develop better values of life. This attitude will bring a change in our society and will help to reduce the corruption in our country,” said Hegde.
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