Corruption in India has been on the rise notwithstanding the rhetorical hypes of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the contrary. All efforts by the NDA Government including demonetisation, income tax, CBI and Enforcement Directorate raids against corporate houses, arms dealers and political adversaries during the last over three years has come a cropper. All measures, overt and covert, taken so far to unearth black money and cleanse Indian economy of parallel economy has failed.
A combination of sources in the Government, rating agencies and corporate sector reveals that corruption in the country emanates from black money through evasion of taxes, withholding of correct information on assets, arms trade, corporate fraud, electoral funding and political finances. These exclude corruption at the grassroots of public interface in governance, such as village panchayat, block, civic authorities, police, judiciary, where corruption is rampant and wholesale despite anti-corruption mechanism in every segment of the government offices.
Figures available indicate the size of black money is 24 per cent of the GDP, 40 per cent corruption in arms trade, legal and international trade, 92 per cent corporate fraud (as in 2014), 75,000 crore black money generated through electoral funding during 2010-2014, and political finance corruptions, which are larger than electoral corruption. According to rating agency Earnest & Young and other sources, 41 per cent of Indians, both bribe takers and bribe givers, are ever prepared to act unethically. Fifty per cent will not report bribes and 78 per cent reported bribery and corruption were wide spread. No wonder, according to the official sources, corruption has increased by 65 per cent since 2014.
During 2000-2013, India reported high level of corruption that included 28 major scams of one million crore (10 lakh crore), with volume of each such major scam at 36,000 crore. According to the Transparency international, India is rated low at 37.6 per cent on integrity as corruption in the country is getting worse by the day. Corporate fraud has gone up from 69 per cent in 2013-14 to 80 per cent in 2015-16. It is a matter of worrying that only 0.06 per cent corruption cases are reported. Less than 20 per cent of corruption ends in conviction. Added to this, India has too few police personnel, that is 137 per 10 lakh people, lowest ratio in the world and 17 judges per 10 lakh population against 101 judges per one million population in the USA.
Above all, a collusive culture has developed wherein no body is corrupt and every one is corrupt. One who differs and blows the whistle stands isolated at grave risks to life and career prospects. Given such a state of affairs, to end corruption altogether, Article 311 of the Constitution of India needs to be amended to link continuance in public services with performance and annual appraisal of performances of officials by independent transparent body in each segments, enactment of stronger laws in conformity with the UN standards, appointment of Lokpal (national anti-corruption watchdog), NDA Government has not done so far despite law to this effect legislated in 2013. A quote from Kautilya says, “just as it is impossible to know when a fish moving in water is drinking. So it is impossible to find out when Government servants in charge of undertakings misappropriate money”. It seems PM Modi has developed cold feet as Sanghi corruption and impunity are overlooked and brushed under carpet. Only selective anti-corruption actions are taken, thus thwarting a well intentioned anti-graft measures.
Some other measures that can be taken include cleansing of political funding and election funding of black money with attendant transparency, technology focus on high risks vulnerable sectors, increasing number of judges, police and enforcement personnel, delinking police from investigation, greater transparency in corporate sector and restoration of classical role of media to report correct and fair information with scrutiny of the government functioning so as to keep a tab on the public accountability of all segments of the rule of law based system of democratic governance. NDA Government has shown no will to act resolutely to end, much less curb corruption. Only rhetorics are there, which the people can see through!