Resource centre on India's rural distress
 
 

Corruption

 

KEY TRENDS

 
• According to the CMS-India Corruption Study 2018, among states, 73 percent households in Telangana, 38 percent in Tamil Nadu, 36 percent in Karnataka, 35 percent in Bihar, 29 percent in Delhi, 23 percent in Madhya Pradesh; 22 percent in Punjab and 20 percent households in Rajasthan experienced demand for bribe or had to use contacts/middlemen, to access the public services @@ 
 
• According to the CMS-ICS 2017 study, the states where percentage of households experiencing corruption in 2017 round was more than ‘combined state average’ of 31 percent are Karnataka (77 percent), Andhra Pradesh (74 percent), Tamil Nadu (68 percent), Maharashtra (57 percent), J&K (44 percent), Punjab (42 percent) and Gujarat (37 percent) @$
 
• India's Corruption Perception Index score has improved from 36 out of 100 in 2013 (also same score of 36 in 2012) to 38 out of 100 in 2014. The country ranks 85 among 175 nations in terms of Corruption Perception Index. China ranks 100 among 175 nations with a score of 36 out of 100 @

• India's Corruption Perception Index score stands at 36, the same as it was in 2012. It is among majority of the 177 countries in 2013 having index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean). The country presently ranks 94 among 177 nations. What is more surprising is that its neighbouring countries like Bhutan (Rank: 31; Score: 63), China (Rank: 80; Score: 40) and Sri Lanka (Rank: 91; Score: 37) are better performers in terms of Corruption Perception Index. Pakistan ranks far below at 127 #

• 54 percent of respondents from India reported having paid a bribe in the last 12 months to one out of eight services-police, judiciary, registry, land, medical, education, tax and utilities $

• 40 percent of respondents from India felt that over the past 2 years the level of corruption has increased a lot $

• 86 percent of respondents in India felt that political parties were corrupt/extremely corrupt. 75 percent of Indian respondents felt that police were corrupt/extremely corrupt. However, only 20 percent of respondents felt that military was corrupt/extremely corrupt $

• 45 percent of the rural households opined that ‘corruption has increased’ in public services in the previous one year (preceding the India Corruption Study 2010)*

• 11.5% respondents in the India Corruption Study 2010 had paid a bribe for PDS, 9% for hospitals, 5.8% for schools and 4.3% for water supply. On an average in a year, a rural household paid around Rs 164 as bribe to avail of these four public services*

• Rs. 8,830 million, in all, was paid as bribe by below poverty line (BPL) households in 2006-07**

• The poorest households of India paid Rs. 2,148 million to police as bribe in 2006-07**

 
@@ CMS-India Corruption Study 2018: 2015 to 2018-How well are states placed? , please click here to access
 
@$ CMS-India Corruption Study 2017: Perception and Experience with Public Services & Snapshot View for 2005-17, please click here to access
 
@ Corruption Perception Index 2014, prepared by Transparency International (click here to access link1, link2 and link3)
 
#Corruption Perception Index 2013 by Transparency International,

http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2013/press/

http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2013/results/

$ Global Corruption Barometer 2013 prepared by Transparency International, http://www.transparency.org/gcb2013/report

http://www.transparency.org/gcb2013/country/?country=india
 

* India Corruption Study 2010, Centre for Media Studies

** India Corruption Study—2007, Transparency India International and Centre for Media Studies 

 

OVERVIEW 

Is corruption a livelihoods issue? According to a World Bank study, the cost of corruption in India is around 3 per cent of its GDP. In other words, corruption erodes the gains of overall national growth, slows down economic activity, and gets in the way of investments and job creation. It also undermines the rule of law by making it possible for the rich and powerful to subvert the system by paying bribes. All this weakens the society’s moral fibre and sets off a vicious cycle of more crime and more corruption leading to more inequalities and more miseries for the poor. 

The poor in India routinely pay for the enrichment of the powerful. Many studies show that the poor are forced to pay bribes for services that the middle and upper classes take for granted. For instance, it is common for those living in unauthorised colonies to pay several layers of civic bureaucracy to get electricity or water connections but the slum dwellers pay even more, like two to three rupees for a bucket of water, and several times more to get an illegal power connection. Corruption in administration has a direct bearing on the delivery of services and benefits to people they are meant for. This compromises the spirit of democracy by distorting resource allocation and undermining planning and policy implementation.

From ration or BPL cards to land administration and from petty government officials to the judiciary, the rural poor have to pay bribes for every service meant for them. According to a Transparency International-CMS survey, Judiciary and land services occupy the second and third slots for India’s most corrupt departments after the police. Even the health services, particularly the government hospitals, are very high on the corruption index. It is common knowledge that the poorest of India’s poor have to pay bribes to exercise their right to employment under the NREGS. According to official estimates a third of all food grains meant for the Public Distribution System (PDS) are illegally sold in the open market.

The TI-CMS survey also shows that India’s most backward states like Bihar and Madhya Pradesh also happen to be India’s most corrupt whereas States that fare better on the Human Development Index (HDI) like Kerala and Himachal Pradesh are among least corrupt. India’s overall ranking on TI’s Corruption Perception Index is 88th among 159 countries. (Check the latest ranking). The debate about the causes for corruption is unending but it is widely believed that political corruption is at the root of widespread corruption in public services. Several high powered committees appointed so far to look into the cases of corruption have recommended steps like ban on criminals fighting elections and harsher punishments and disqualification for those convicted of corruption and criminal activities, protection for the whistle blower, strict norms for auditing and disclosures, and empowerment of regulators like the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Election Commission (EC)

 

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According to the [inside]CMS-India Corruption Study 2018: 2015 to 2018-How well are states placed? [/inside], please click here to access:

• The CMS-ICS 2018 has covered both rural and urban locations of 13 states and 11 public services.

• The present report finds that 75 percent households have the perception that the level of corruption in public services has either increased or remained same during the last 12 months.

• Compared to 2005 round, households experiencing corruption while availing any of the ten public services has come down by almost half-from 52 percent in 2005 to 27 percent in 2018.

• Among states, 73 percent households in Telangana, 38 percent in Tamil Nadu, 36 percent in Karnataka, 35 percent in Bihar, 29 percent in Delhi, 23 percent in Madhya Pradesh; 22 percent in Punjab and 20 percent households in Rajasthan experienced demand for bribe or had to use contacts/middlemen, to access the public services.

• Among public services, where households experiencing corruption while availing its services was high during the last 12 months include, Transport (21 percent), Police (20 percent), Housing/ land records (16 percent) and Health/ hospital services (10 percent). Less than one percent of the households experienced corruption in banking services.

• While 99 percent of the respondents had Aadhaar but 7 percent of them paid bribe to get it. In case of Voter ID, around 92 percent had one but 3 percent paid bribe to get the Voter ID made. This is high and reflects continued malice.

• Perception about Union Government’s commitment to reduce corruption in public services has seen a decline from 41 percent in 2017 to 31 percent in this round (2018).

• Grouping of States by People's Perception and Experience with Corruption while availing Public Services put Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan among the ‘poor performing’ while West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar among the ‘better performing’ states.

• States’ position on the basis of Citizen Activism-Use of RTI; online complaint registering; participation in public protest rally against corruption; Use of Digital payment gateway, having Aadhaar- Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Bihar and Telangana among ‘better performing’ states and states namely, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, among ‘poor performing’. 
 

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According to the [inside]CMS-India Corruption Study 2017: Perception and Experience with Public Services & Snapshot View for 2005-17[/inside], please click here to access:

• Between 2005 and 2017, there is a definite decline in both perception and experience of citizens about corruption in availing public services.

• The 11th round of annual CMS-ICS 2017 brings out that nearly 43 percent of the households across 20 states feel that the level of corruption in public services has increased during the last one year in their respective states. Compared to the scenario about 12 years back, the perception has improved for good i.e. a dip of around 30 percentage points is observed (in 2005, 73 percent of the households had perceived increase in corruption level).

• More than half (56 percent) feel that the level of corruption decreased in public services during demonetization phase (November-December 2016).

• As per CMS-ICS 2017, around one-third of the households in 20 states experienced corruption in public services at least once during the last one year. Compared to this, as per the findings of CMS-ICS 2005, the percentage of households which experienced corruption in public services was more than half (53 percent).

• The states where percentage of households experiencing corruption in 2017 round was more than ‘combined state average’ of 31 percent are Karnataka (77 percent), Andhra Pradesh (74 percent), Tamil Nadu (68 percent), Maharashtra (57 percent), J&K (44 percent), Punjab (42 percent) and Gujarat (37 percent).

• States where percentage of households experiencing corruption in public services is in single digit, i.e. less than 10 percent, include Himachal Pradesh (3 percent) and Kerala (4 percent) only.
 
• Almost all households, across 20 states, who were asked to pay bribe by the public servants, had no option but to pay bribe to avail the service.

• Denial of public services because households could not pay a bribe was most reported in Land record/ Housing (3.5 percent), followed by Police (1.8 percent). 

• Households have paid as low as INR 20 to get their ration in PDS shops or to get admission form from a government school and as high as around INR 50,000 for admission in a government school or to get an early date for hearing of their case in a court. 

• The total amount paid by households across 20 states and 10 public services as bribe is estimated to be INR 6,350 crore (63,500 million) as against INR 20,500 crore in 2005. 

• Though 58 percent of the common citizens are aware about RTI Act; those seeking information under RTI Act was less than 1 percent, even after more than a decade of the law coming into force.
 

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The Corruption Perceptions Index is based on expert opinions of public sector corruption. Countries’ scores can be helped by open government where the public can hold leaders to account, while a poor score [on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean)] is a sign of prevalent bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs.

According to the [inside]Corruption Perception Index 2014[/inside], which has been prepared by Transparency International (click here to access link1, link2 and link3)

Indian Scenario

• India's Corruption Perception Index score has improved from 36 out of 100 in 2013 (also score 36 in 2012) to 38 out of 100 in 2014. The country ranks 85 among 175 nations during 2014 in terms of Corruption Perception Index. China ranks 100 among 175 nations with a score of 36 out of 100.

• India’s vibrant democracy reveals the flip side of the coin. Despite the engagement, innovation and participation of vibrant civil society, media and people at large, corruption continues to be one of the country’s biggest challenges.

• It reveals India’s bitter reality of political corruption: the inadequacy of structures of accountability and transparency to deter the corrupt and the access to such mechanisms by the people. The problem urges the conversion of political commitment to concrete action at the highest level of government. In May, a Transparency International report warned that India, along with other countries in South Asia, needs stronger law enforcement, corruption watchdogs and protection of whistleblowers.

• Together with India (38) and China (36), the poor scores of other emerging markets in the Asia Pacific region – such as Malaysia (52), Philippines and Thailand (both 38) and Indonesia (34) – indicate a general weak or ineffective leadership to counter corruption, posing threats for both sustainability of their economies and somewhat fragile democracies.

Global Scenario

• More than two thirds of the 175 countries in the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean). Denmark comes out on top in 2014 with a score of 92 while North Korea and Somalia share last place, scoring just eight.

• The top 5 nations in terms of Corruption Perception Index during 2014 are: Denmark (Score: 92, Rank: 1), New Zealand (Score: 91, Rank: 2), Finland (Score: 89, Rank: 3), Sweden (Score: 87, Rank: 4) and Norway (Score: 86, Rank: 5).

• The bottom 5 nations in terms of Corruption Perception Index during 2014 are: Somalia (Score: 8, Rank: 174), North Korea (Score: 8, Rank: 174), Sudan (Score: 11, Rank: 173), Afghanistan (Score: 12, Rank: 172) and South Sudan (Score: 15, Rank: 171). 

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According to the report titled: [inside]Corruption Perception Index 2013[/inside] by Transparency International,

http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2013/press/

http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2013/results/:

•    India's score stands at 36, the same as it was in 2012. It is among majority of the 177 countries in 2013 having index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean).

•    India presently ranks 94 among 177 nations. What is more surprising is that its neighbouring countries like Bhutan (Rank: 31; Score: 63), China (Rank: 80; Score: 40) and Sri Lanka (Rank: 91; Score: 37) are better performers in terms of Corruption Perception Index. Pakistan ranks far below at 127.

•    India's rank has slipped below by 22 since 2007, exhibiting how major scams like 2G scam, coal allocation scam etc. have tainted its image among the citizens.

•    The Corruption Perceptions Index 2013 demonstrates that all countries still face the threat of corruption at all levels of government, from the issuing of local permits to the enforcement of laws and regulations.

•    The Corruption Perceptions Index is based on experts’ opinions of public sector corruption. Countries’ scores can be helped by strong access to information systems and rules governing the behaviour of those in public positions, while a lack of accountability across the public sector coupled with ineffective public institutions hurts these perceptions.

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According to the [inside]Global Corruption Barometer 2013[/inside] prepared by Transparency International, http://www.transparency.org/gcb2013/report

http://www.transparency.org/gcb2013/country/?country=india:

•    54 percent of respondents from India reported having paid a bribe in the last 12 months to one out of eight services-police, judiciary, registry, land, medical, education, tax and utilities.

•    40 percent of respondents from India felt that over the past 2 years the level of corruption has increased a lot.

•    On a score scale of 1-5 (where 1 means not at all corrupt, 5 means extremely corrupt), Indian respondents perceived political parties (4.4 out of 5) as the most corrupt followed by the police (4.1 out of 5). Military (2.5 out of 5) was perceived as the least corrupt followed by NGOs (2.9 out of 5) and media (3.2 out of 5).

•    86 percent of respondents in India felt that political parties were corrupt/extremely corrupt. 75 percent of Indian respondents felt that police were corrupt/extremely corrupt. However, only 20 percent of respondents felt that military was corrupt/extremely corrupt.

•    62 percent of respondents from India reported that they or someone from their household had paid a bribe to the police, 61 to 'registry and permit services' and 58 per cent to 'land services'.

•    30 percent respondents from India agree and 26 percent disagree that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption. 

•    99 percent of respondents from India showed their willingness to get involved in any 1 of the 5 anti-corruption activities i.e. sign a petition, join a protest, join an organisation, pay more and use of social media.

•    Globally, more than one in four people (27 percent) report having paid a bribe in the last 12 months when interacting with key public institutions and services. 

•    Among the eight services evaluated, the police and the judiciary are seen as the two most bribery prone by citizens globally. An estimated 31 percent people who came into contact with the police report having paid a bribe.

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According to [inside]Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index[/inside], http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2011/

Not many countries around the world are untouched by the scourge of corruption, according to Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index. 

Transparency International warned that protests around the world, often fuelled by corruption and economic instability, clearly show citizens feel their leaders and public institutions are neither transparent nor accountable enough.

The index scores 183 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption. It uses data from 17 surveys that look at factors such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws, access to information and conflicts of interest. Two thirds of ranked countries score less than 5.

India ranks 95 among 183 countries with a score of 3.1. China ranks 75 (score 3.6), Pakistan ranks 134 (score 205), Bangladesh ranks 120 (score 2.7) and Sri Lanka ranks 86 (score 3.3). 

New Zealand ranks first, followed by Finland and Denmark. Somalia and North Korea (included in the index for the first time), are last. 

Germany comes in at 14th, one notch better than 2010 and ties with Japan which came in 17th in 2010. The United States ranks 24th in 2011, two notches lower than 2010. China ranks 75th, three notches higher than in 2010.

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[inside]India Corruption Study (ICS) 2010[/inside], which got published in 2011, is the seventh edition of studies undertaken by Centre for Media Studies (http://www.cmsindia.org) since 2000 and fourth in the last five years. The purpose of this and earlier rounds has been to provide a reliable tool for improving governance. The current and earlier rounds of India Corruption Study (hereinafter referred as ICS) have focused on general population’s (aam aadmi) perception and experience with public services.

The present report, based on ICS 2010 undertaken by CMS, focuses on household level survey in rural areas of twelve states. This is due to the policy emphasis on the rural sector over the last five years, and the substantial resources spent by the government in rural health, water and sanitation, and school education.

The present report focuses on 4 public services: public distribution system (PDS), school education (up to class 12th), water supply services and hospital services. The twelve states covered in this round are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Methodology: In ICS 2010, 9960 households in 664 gram panchayats (approx. 2000 villages) of 12 states across the country were visited. The households were selected using three-stage stratified sampling method. The first stage was selection of districts, followed by selection of gram panchayats and third and final stage was selection of households. The household survey was carried out in the month of August-September, 2010.

Key findings of the India Corruption Study 2010: Is the Scenario Changing?, http://cmsindia.org/ICS2010.pdf:

• CMS Media Lab analysis of the trend in corruption coverage in prime-time bulletins by the six television news channels during 2005 to 2010 show almost four times increase in percentage of time given for news stories on corruption.

• The factors, which have contributed in containing corruption between 2005 and 2010 are: 1) Opening up of the services for private participation breaking monopolies; (2) Competition and increased concern for market and the users; (3) Use of new communication technologies like computerization for better public interface; (4) Use of research in developing responsive systems; (5) Concern for redressal mechanisms; and (6) Dynamic news media.

• In ICS 2010, 45 percent of the rural households opined that ‘corruption has increased’ in public services in the previous one year. Compared to ICS 2005, a decline of 25 percentage points is noticeable. However, a significant, 19 against 23 percent of rural households in both the rounds felt that the level of corruption has remained the same in public services.

• Comparing the two rounds of ICS (’05 and ’10), across states indicate overall decline in general perception about corruption in public services. But in 2010 the percentage of those who think corruption has increased in the previous year (preceding ICS 2010 survey) is high in Bihar and Chhattisgarh (66% each) and low as 19% in Tripura and 33% in West Bengal but it was 59% in Kerala (also ruled by the Left Front).

• More than 40 percent of the rural households belonging to OBC and SC social group felt that the level of corruption has increased in public services during the previous one year (preceding the ICS 2010 survey) while 28 percent each from OBC, SC and ST categories opined that the  level of corruption has remained same as in the previous year.

• Compared to ICS 2005, overall the percentage of rural households which paid bribe has come down exactly by half (28% from 56%). However, in states like Chhattisgarh (55%), Bihar (52%), Kerala (46%) and Maharashtra (40%), a high percentage of rural household paid bribe to avail a public service during the last one year preceding ICS 2010 survey.

• Perception about corruption in the previous year (preceding the survey) has increased in the case of public services like school and water supply in ICS 2010 as compared to ICS 2005.

• 11.5% respondents had paid a bribe for PDS, 9% for hospitals, 5.8% for schools and 4.3% for water supply.

• With 95 percent of the households who are asked for bribes end up paying it, brings out that grievance redressal system continues to be poor and lack of accountability of public service providers, despite all claims otherwise made by these agencies.

• In 2010, the difference between perception (P) and experience (E) for the four services ranges between 20-25 percentage points. In 2005, the difference between P and E in the four public services ranged between 44-60 percentage points. The narrowing of difference between perception and experience in ICS 2010 compared to ICS 2005 suggests that households’ perception is not far from experience.

• Compared to 2005, the increase in the percentage of rural households paying bribe in PDS services is almost two and half times more in 2010. One of the reasons for more rural households paying bribe in PDS services is that possessing a ration card is considered to be an important document for availing other benefits under different government schemes.


PDS Services

• In 2010, around 42 percent rural households opined that the level of corruption in PDS has increased during the last one year; however compared to ICS 2005, this percentage has come down by 26 percentage points. In states such as Bihar (62%), Chhattisgarh (58%) and UP (50%), more than half of the rural households feel that there is an increase in the level of the corruption in PDS services.

• In Chhattisgarh, more than 60% rural households out of those interacted with PDS services paid bribe. Other states where a sizeable percentage paid bribe for PDS services are West Bengal and Bihar (43% each). In states like Andhra Pradesh (10%), Kerala (17%) and Tripura (18%), relatively lesser percentage of rural households paid bribe or were ‘asked to pay bribe’ to avail PDS services.

• The average amount paid by a household in a year for availing PDS services was around Rs 145.

• Among the reasons for which rural households paid bribe or were asked to pay bribe are ‘to get a new ration card (37%)’ followed by ‘to take monthly ration (28%)’.

School Services

• In ICS 2010, the percentage of rural households which feel that the level of corruption has increased in school education services is around 35 percent.

• The states where a relatively higher percentage of rural households feel that corruption has increased during last one year are Andhra Pradesh (55%), Bihar (43%) and Uttar Pradesh (40%).

• In this round (2010), around 15 percent of the rural households which interacted with school services during the last one year paid bribe. Another 5 percent were asked to pay bribe but did not pay.

• Among states where relatively higher percentage of rural households paid bribe or were asked to pay bribe during the last one year are Maharashtra (35%), Bihar (24%) and Tripura (23%). Kerala (6%) and Andhra Pradesh (8%) are the two states, where corresponding figures are in single digit, thus indicating lesser prevalence of corruption in government school in the two states.

• The average amount paid in a year in the school related services was Rs 186 per household.

• The main reasons cited for paying bribe to avail school (up to class 12th) related services are ‘to get a new admission (34%)’ followed by ‘to get scholarship (18%)’ and ‘for issuance of different types of certificates (18%)’.

Water Supply Services

• A significant proportion of the rural households (41%), which interacted with water supply services feel that there is an increase in the level of corruption.

• Amongst the states where a sizeable percentage of rural households feel that there is an increase in the level of corruption level in water supply services are Bihar (73%), Uttar Pradesh (54%) and Haryana (46%).

• Overall, 21 percent of the surveyed rural households reported that they have either paid bribe or were asked to pay bribe to avail the water supply related services. Amongst the surveyed states, reporting of bribe was higher in Bihar (38%) followed by Maharashtra (34%), while in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh (5% each) it was relatively lower.

• The average amount paid as bribe for water supply services was around Rs 207 per rural household.

• Around 30 percent of the rural households each paid bribe or were asked to pay bribe ‘to get irrigation water’ or ‘to get the water pipe repaired’. Other reason for which households were asked to pay bribe was for ‘installation or maintenance of hand pumps (27%)’.

Hospital Services

• Around 39 percent of the surveyed households feel that the level of corruption in hospital services has increased during the last one year.

• In ICS 2010, the states where a high percentage of rural households reported increase in level of corruption in hospital services are Bihar (67%) followed by Chhattisgarh (48%) and Uttar Pradesh (46%).

• Overall nearly one-fourth of the surveyed households reportedly paid bribe or were asked to give bribe to avail one or the other services of a public health facility in rural areas of these twelve states.

• The average amount paid as bribe was Rs 150 per household for hospital services.

• One-fourth of those who paid bribe cited getting medicines from the hospital as the reason. The other key reason for paying bribe is ‘to get examined as an out-patient’ and ‘for diagnostic services’.


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India has recently been witnessing scams of all sorts such as IPL scam, Commonwealth Games 2010 scandal, 2G allocation scam. All these scams involved politicians and bureaucrats at highest places, which has shaken the conscience of the nation. Despite public outcry, no worthwhile investigations are going on in any one of them. This is because of several systemic deficiencies in India's anti-corruption systems.

[inside]India against Corruption campaign[/inside] (http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org/) is not aligned to or against any political party. It feels that every political party has misused its position whenever they have been in power or otherwise. Therefore, it is extremely important that the citizens of this country unite to demand systemic changes. India Against Corruption is a movement of several concerned citizens of India who have come together (many more are joining in) to demand comprehensive reforms of anti-corruption systems in India

COMMON CAUSE (http://www.commoncause.in/aboutus.php), a registered Society with membership all over the country and operating on All India basis, has earned reputation and credibility as an Organisation dedicated to public causes for seeking redress for problems of the people. Its initiative in public interest litigation, for solving the common and collective problems of the people, has greatly contributed to the evolution and spread of the system in the country and its adoption by the people on a substantial scale for effecting redressal of public grievances. A large number of writ petitions have been filed by the organisation in the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court, and quite a few important cases have been taken to the National Commission established under the Consumer Protection Act. The very first case taken up by COMMON CAUSE, almost two decades ago soon after its establishment, related to the problems of pensioners. Almost four million pensioners benefited from the three important decisions which the Organisation was able to secure from the Supreme Court, relating to the extension of liberalisation of pension, restoration of commutation of pension and extension of the scheme of family pension.


Minutes of Meeting (see the link: http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org/doc/Reforms_needed%5B1%5D.pdf)

The following met at IIC on 10th August 2010 from 2 pm to 6 pm to discuss the deficiencies in present anti-corruption systems in our country and what steps need to be taken to address these deficiencies.

1. Justice Santosh Hegde, Karnataka Lokayukta

2. Mr J M Lyngdoh, former Chief Election Commissioner
3. Mr P Shankar, former Central Vigilance Commissioner
4. Prashant Bhushan, Advocate, Supreme Court
5. Mr Kamal Jaswal, Director Common Cause
6. Mr Shekhar Singh, Eminent social activist
7. Mr Nikhil Dey, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangthan
8. Mr Arvind Kejriwal, Social activist
9. Mr Sarvesh Sharma, Common Cause
10. Mr Suhas Borkar, social activist and media personality

Mr Pratyush Sinha, present Central Vigilance Commissioner, attended the meeting for sometime, more as an observer.

Deficiencies in the present anti-corruption systems

Central Government level:

At central Government level, we have Central Vigilance Commission, Departmental vigilance and CBI. CVC and Departmental vigilance deal with vigilance (disciplinary proceedings) aspect of a corruption case and CBI deals with criminal aspect of that case.

Central Vigilance Commission: CVC is the apex body for all vigilance cases in Government of India.

• However, it does not have adequate resources commensurate with the large number of complaints that it receives. CVC is a very small set up with a staff strength less than 200. It is supposed to check corruption in more than 1500 central government departments and ministries, some of them being as big as Central Excise, Railways, Income Tax etc. Therefore, it has to depend on the vigilance wings of respective departments and forwards most of the complaints for inquiry and report to them. While it monitors the progress of these complaints, there is delay and the complainants are often disturbed by this. It directly enquires into a few complaints on its own, especially when it suspects motivated delays or where senior officials could be implicated. But given the constraintf of manpower such number is really small.

• CVC is merely an advisory body. Central Government Departments seek CVC’s advice on various corruption cases. However, they are free to accept or reject CVC’s advice. Even in those cases, which are directly enquired into by the CVC, it can only advise government. CVC mentions these cases of non-acceptance in its monthly reports and the Annual Report to Parliament. But these are not much in focus in Parliamentary debates or by the media.

• CVC cannot direct CBI to initiate enquiries against any officer of the level of Joint Secretary and above on its own. The CBI has to seek the permission of that department, which obviously would not be granted if the senior officers of that department are involved and they could delay the case or see to it that permission would not be granted.

• CVC does not have powers to register criminal case. It deals only with vigilance or disciplinary matters.

• It does not have powers over politicians. If there is an involvement of a politician in any case, CVC could at best bring it to the notice of the Government. There are several cases of serious corruption in which officials and political executive are involved together.

• It does not have any direct powers over departmental vigilance wings. Often it is seen that CVC forwards a complaint to a department and then keeps sending reminders to them to enquire and send report. Many a times, the departments just do not comply. CVC does not have any really effective powers over them to seek compliance of its orders.

• CVC does not have administrative control over officials in vigilance wings of various central government departments to which it forwards corruption complaints. Though the government does consult CVC before appointing the Chief Vigilance Officers of various departments, however, the final decision lies with the government. Also, the officials below CVO are appointed/transferred by that department only. Only in exceptional cases , if the CVO chooses to bring it to the notice of CVC, CVC could bring pressure on the Department to revoke orders but again such recommendations are not binding.

• Appointments to CVC are directly under the control of ruling political party , though the leader of the Opposition is a member of the Committee to select CVC and VCs. But the Committee only considers names put up before it and that is decided by the Government. The appointments are opaque.

• CVC Act gives supervisory powers to CVC over CBI. However, these supervisory powers have remained ineffective. CVC does not have the power to call for any file from CBI or to direct them to do any case in a particular manner. Besides, CBI is under administrative control of DOPT rather than CVC.

• Therefore, though CVC is relatively independent in its functioning, it neither has resources nor powers to enquire and take action on complaints of corruption in a manner that meets the expectations of people.

Departmental Vigilance Wings: Each Department has a vigilance wing, which is manned by officials from the same department (barring a few which have an outsider as Chief Vigilance Officer. However, all the officers under him belong to the same department).

• Since the officers in the vigilance wing of a department are from the same department and they can be posted to any position in that department anytime, it is practically impossible for them to be independent and objective while inquiring into complaints against their colleagues and seniors. If a complaint is received against a senior officer, it is impossible to enquire into that complaint because an officer who is in vigilance today might get posted under that senior officer some time in future.

• In some departments, especially in the Ministries , some officials double up as vigilance officials. It means that an existing official is given additional duty of vigilance also. So, if some citizen complaints against that officer, the complaint is expected to be enquired into by the same officer. Even if someone complaints against that officer to the CVC or to the Head of that Department or to any other authority, the complaint is forwarded by all these agencies and it finally lands up in his own lap to enquire against himself. Even if he recuses himself from such inquiries , still they have to be handled by those who otherwise report to him. There are indeed examples of such absurdity.

• There have been instances of the officials posted in vigilance wing by that department having had a very corrupt past. While in vigilance, they try to scuttle all cases against themselves. They also turn vigilance wing into a hub of corruption, where cases are closed for consideration.

• Departmental vigilance does not investigate into criminal aspect of any case. It does not have the powers to register an FIR.

• They also do not have any powers against politicians.

• Since the vigilance wing is directly under the control of the Head of that Department, it is practically impossible for them to enquire against senior officials of that department.

• Therefore, , the vigilance wing of any department is seen to softpedal on genuine complaints or used to enquire against " inconvenient" officers.

CBI: CBI has powers of a police station to investigate and register FIR. It can investigate any case related to a Central Government department on its own or any case referred to it by any state government or any court.

• CBI is overburdened and does not accept cases even where amount of defalcation is alleged to be around Rs 1 crore.

• CBI is directly under the administrative control of Central Government.

• So, if a complaint pertains to any minister or politician who is part of a ruling coalition or a bureaucrat who is close to them, CBI's credibility has suffered and there is increasing public perception that it cannot do a fair investigation and that it is influenced to to scuttle these cases.

• Again, because CBI is directly under the control of Central Government, CBI is perceived to have been often used to settle scores against inconvenient politicians.

Therefore, if a citizen wants to make a complaint about corruption by a politician or an official in the Central Government, there isn’t a single anti-corruption agency which is effective and independent of the government, whose wrongdoings are sought to be investigated. CBI has powers but it is not independent. CVC is independent but it does not have sufficient powers or resources.

At State level:

The position if anything is worse in the States. All vigilance agencies (like state vigilance department, departmental vigilance wings) and anti-corruption agencies (like anti-corruption department of state police, CID etc) are directly under the control of state government and therefore, ineffective in fairly investigating corruption cases against their political bosses. In some states, we have the institution of Lokayuktas.

Lokayuktas:

• Lokayuktas cannot initiate investigations on their own. They have to seek permission of state government to investigate cases involving officials above certain levels.

• In some states, vigilance department has been given powers over bureaucrats and Lokayuktas have been given powers only over politicians. Such division of jurisdiction hampers investigations. So, in a case involving both politician and bureaucrats (which is the case most of the times), both Lokayukta and the vigilance department feel handicapped.

• Lokayuktas merely have advisory roles. They do not have the powers to directly initiate prosecution. They make recommendations to the government, which may or may not agree with those recommendations.

• They also do not have adequate resources to investigate the large number of complaints that they receive.

• Lokayukta is appointed by the state government in an non-transparent and arbitrary manner. In some states, their independence has been seriously eroded.

Therefore, there isn’t any effective anti-corruption agency either at the centre or at state level, which is independent of political executive and which has the powers and resources to entertain and investigate any complaint of corruption and then prosecute the guilty people.

Recommendations:

a. Central Government should immediately pass a strong and effective Lokpal Bill on the following lines. Those states, which already have Lokayukta Acts, should amend their Lokayukta Acts on the following lines. Those states, which do not have Lokayukta Acts, should pass Lokayukta Acts on the following lines.

b. Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at state level should be made the single apex, independent and effective anti-corruption agency.

c. Lokpal/Lokayukta should be a multi-member body. It could have members from judiciary, legal backgrounds, administrative backgrounds, social activists etc. The Chairman of Lokayukta/Lokpal need not be a person from judiciary only.

d. All vigilance agencies should be brought directly under their control. In states, state vigilance departments and departmental vigilance wings should be merged with Lokayukta. This was done in Karnataka. State vigilance department was merged in Lokayukta when Karnatak Lokayukta was created in 1984.

e. At Centre, CVC should be placed under the superintendence of the Lokpal. All departmental vigilance wings should be placed directly and completely (including administrative control) under the control of CVC. These departmental vigilance wings would continue working from the offices and places from where they are working presently. However, CVC would ensure that the officials get rotated between different departments, so that an official does not enquire against officers of his own parent department. CVC would then be able to seek compliance of its directions from these departmental vigilance wings. There would hence, be no need to create new posts or incur any extra expenditure.

f. At state level, the anti-corruption departments of state police and that portion of CID which deals with corruption cases, should be completely (both administratively and functionally) transferred to Lokayukta. Likewise at Central level, that part of CBI, which deals with corruption cases, should be completely (both administratively and functionally) transferred to Lokpal.

g. Lokayukta and Lokpal would have jurisdiction over both politicians and bureaucrats. The vigilance wing under Lokayukta and CVC under Lokpal would deal with vigilance aspect of any case. The anti-corruption wing under Lokayukta or that portion of CBI which has been transferred to Lokpal, would deal with criminal aspect of any corruption case. Offices of Lokpal/Lokayukta would be declared as police stations to enable them to register cases.

h. Lokayukta/Lokpal should have complete autonomy:

• This should include financial autonomy. Their fund requirements should be charged to the Consolidated Fund of India in case of Lokpal and to the Consolidated Fund of respective state in the case of Lokayukta.

• They should have complete autonomy to select their own staff, even if it needs to be employed from outside.

i. Once enquiry (in vigilance cases) or investigations (in criminal cases) are over in any case, the same shall be presented before the entire Lokayukta/Lokpal. After hearing the matter and after hearing the complainant and the accused, the Lokayukta/Lokpal may decide to either impose penalty (in vigilance cases) or proceed with prosecution (in criminal cases) or drop the case on lack of merits or direct further investigations/enquiry. Lokayukta shall not need to seek any sanction for prosecution from anyone. Wherever it is needed, it shall be deemed to have been granted, once it has been granted by Lokayukta/Lokpal.

j. Advice of Lokpal/Lokayukta shall be binding on the government on vigilance matters. In criminal cases, Lokayukta/Lokpal will directly initiate prosecution.

k. For legal purposes, Lokpal/Lokayukta would need to be declared as police officers under section 36 of the Cr.P.C.

l. All records related to a case shall be public after enquiry/investigation is complete.

m. All complaints filed in Lokpal/Lokayukta will have to be compulsorily enquired/investigated, preferably in a time bound manner.

n. Lokpal/Lokayukta should have the following powers:

• They should have the powers of a civil court to summon any officers and documents.

• They should also have the powers of search and seizure.

• They should also have the powers to ensure compliance of their orders. This could include financial penalties also.

• If corruption is going on in some case while investigations are on, Lokayukta/Lokpal shall have the powers to issue interim orders to stop or alter any government activity to ensure that corruption is stopped forthwith. Their orders shall be binding.

o. Lokpal should be selected in the following manner:

• A search and screening committee consisting of the following members should be made. This committee could be formed through either of the following two methods:

1. The committee could consist of five members. One member could be suggested by collegium of the five seniormost Chief Justices of all High Courts. One member could be suggested by five seniormost Lokayuktas. One member could be suggested by a committee of Leaders of Opposition and Chairpersons of the two Houses of Parliament. Likewise, we can think of some more collegiums to select two more members. After a few years, one member could be suggested by a group of all predecessors of Lokpal.

OR

2. The Committee could consist of fifteen members which are heads of certain institutions and individuals holding certain positions who shall be treated as ex-officio members of this committee like Directors of say two IITs, Directors of two IIMs, Editors of two national Dailies, President of Supreme Court Bar Association, Presidents of some professional bodies etc.

• Appropriate criteria shall be made for screening and shortlisting candidates.

• The candidates would be subjected to public hearings on the lines of confirmation hearings in US, though these hearings will be for selection and not confirmation.

• On the basis of the above procedures, the Screening Committee shall recommend two times the names as there are vacancies to the Selection Committee, which will consist of Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice of India.

• The Selection Committee will recommend such number of names as there are vacancies to the President for final appointment.

p. Lokayukta of a state shall also be selected similarly.

q. Whistleblower protection: Ordinarily, it shall be the duty of the police to take adequate steps to provide protection to those who complain of threats due to their blowing whistle against corruption. However, if someone is dissatisfied with the steps taken by police, then Lokayukta/Lokpal would be empowered to issue appropriate directions to the police. Lokayukta should have adequate powers to get their orders implemented from police. It was felt that in most of these cases, the identity of the whistleblower is ordinarily known. Therefore, the best deterrent against threats to whistleblowers would be, if the issues raised by them are thoroughly investigated and put on fast track so that a message goes to the corrupt that if they threaten anyone, their cases would become high priority for Lokayukta/Lokpal.

r. It would be desirable if the Government of India provides for the institution of Lokayukta and Lokpal through an amendment to the constitution on the above lines.
 

Also, check the following links:

Draft anti-corruption Bill, http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org/doc/civil_society_s_lokpal_bil.pdf  

Draft Lokayukta Bill, http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org/doc/Lokayukta_Bill_ver_1.5.pdf  

Govt.'s Lokpal Bill, http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org/doc/Govt._s_Lokpal_Bill_2010.pdf  

Critique of Govt.'s Lokpal Bill, http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org/doc/Critique_of_Govt._s_Lokpal_Bill_2010.pdf  

Comparison of Govt. Bill with Civil Society Bill, http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org/doc/Comparison_of_Government_Bill_with_civil_society_bill.pdf  

How Civil Society's Bill will curb corruption? http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org/doc/how_will_civil_society_s_lokpal_bill_curb_corruption.pdf  

Salient features of Civil Society Bill, http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org/doc/Salient_Features_of_Civil_Society_Bill.pdf  

 

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According to the [inside]Global Corruption Barometer 2010[/inside], which has been prepared by the Transparency International,

http://transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/gcb/2010/in_detail#1:  

Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer (the Barometer) is the largest cross-country survey to collect the general public’s views on and experiences of corruption.

In 2010 the Barometer interviewed more than 91,500 people in 86 countries, making it the most comprehensive edition since it was launched in 2003. The Barometer explores the general public’s views about corruption levels in their country and their government’s efforts to fight corruption. The 2010 Barometer also probes the frequency of bribery, reasons for paying a bribe in the past year, and attitudes towards reporting incidents of corruption.

The 2010 Barometer asked respondents for their views on the extent to which they believe 11 key sectors and institutions in their country are affected by corruption. The list includes the civil service, the education system, the judiciary, the media, the military, non-governmental organisations, the parliament, the police, political parties, the private sector and religious bodies.

In India, fifty percent or more of respondents have reported paying a bribe to any of the nine different servive (i.e. customs, education, the judiciary, land related services, medical services, the police, registry & permit services, tax authorities, and utilities) providers in the past 12 months. India is the ninth most corrupt country in the world, in a ranking of 86 countries, with 54% of people reporting having paid a bribe. 

India is among the 20 countries, which has seen more petty bribery than in 2006.   

Views on corruption trends are most negative in Europe and North America, where 73 per cent and 67 per cent of people respectively think corruption has increased over the last three years. 

The survey also found that seven out of 10 people would be willing to report an incident of corruption.

Almost half of all respondents say they paid bribes to avoid problems with the authorities and a quarter say it was to speed up processes.

Most worrying is the fact that bribes to the police have almost doubled since 2006, and more people report paying bribes to the judiciary and for registry and permit services than did so five years ago.

Poorer people are twice as likely to pay bribes for basic services, such as utilities, medical services and education, than wealthier people.

A third of all people under the age of 30 reports paying a bribe in the past 12 months, compared to less than one in five people over 51 years of age.

Corruption levels around the world are seen as increasing over the past three years

- Almost six out of 10 report that corruption levels in their country have increased over time

- The biggest increase is perceived by respondents in North America and EU+

- One in four people report paying bribes in the last year.

Political parties are identified as the most corrupt institution around the world

- Eight out of 10 judge political parties as corrupt or extremely corrupt, followed by the civil service, the judiciary, parliaments and the police

- Globally, political parties are judged most affected by corruption: almost 80 per cent of all respondents think they are either corrupt or extremely corrupt. They are trailed by a second grouping, including public servants, parliaments and the police.

- Respondents worldwide consider the military and non-governmental organisations least affected by corruption, although 30 per cent still considered them corrupt or extremely corrupt.

- Over time, public opinion about political parties has deteriorated, while opinions of the judiciary have improved

- Religious bodies and political parties have witnessed the biggest increase in perceived corruption over time. 

- Perceptions about non-governmental organisations and the private sector, however, have also deteriorated. 

- Worth noting is that public opinion about the judiciary has improved: those viewing it as corrupt or extremely corrupt decreased by 10 percentage points.

Experience of petty bribery is widespread and has remained unchanged as compared to 2006

- The police is identified as the most frequent recipient of bribes in the past 12 months. The police also has the biggest increase in bribery incidents over time, according to the general public surveyed

- In eight out of nine services assessed, people in lower income brackets are more likely to pay bribes than people in higher income brackets

- The reason most often given for paying a bribe is ‘to avoid a problem with the authorities’

Government action to fight corruption is often seen as ineffective

- Across the world, one in two considers their government’s actions to be ineffective to stop corruption

- While global views have not changed over time, opinions about government efforts have deteriorated in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, but improved in the Newly Independent States+ and North America

• There is little trust in formal institutions to fight corruption

- One in four worldwide does not trust any particular institution ‘most of all’ to fight corruption

- Nearly one in four trusts the media or government the most to stop corruption

There is significant belief that the public has a role to stop corruption – and a willingness for action in reporting on corruption when it occurs

- Seven out of 10 respondents think ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption, while half could imagine themselves getting involved

- People are willing to report corruption to the authorities: seven out of 10 respondents reported they would denounce an incident. This willingness to report a case of corruption is more pronounced in the Americas and EU+.

 

According to [inside]The Drivers and Dynamics of Illicit Financial Flows from India: 1948-2008 (released in 2010)[/inside], http://india.gfip.org/:  

•    India's underground economy is closely tied to illicit financial outflows. The total present value of India's illicit assets held abroad ($462 billion) accounts for approximately 72 percent of India's underground economy. This means that almost three-quarters of the illicit assets comprising India's underground economy—which has been estimated to account for 50 percent of India's GDP (approximately $640 billion at the end of 2008)—ends up outside of the country.

•    The finding that only 27.8 percent of India's illicit assets are held domestically support arguments that the desire to amass wealth illegally without attracting government attention is one of the primary motivations behind the cross-border transfer of illicit capital.

•    In the post-reform period of 1991-2008, deregulation and trade liberalization accelerated the outflow of illicit money from the Indian economy. Opportunities for trade mispricing grew and expansion of the global shadow financial system—particularly island tax havens—accommodated the increased outflow of India's illicit capital flight.

•    There is a statistical correlation between larger volumes of illicit flows and deteriorating income distribution.

•    From 1948 through 2008 India lost a total of $213 billion in illicit financial flows (or illegal capital flight). These illicit financial flows were generally the product of: corruption, bribery and kickbacks, criminal activities, and efforts to shelter wealth from a country's tax authorities.

•    The present value of India's total illicit financial flows (IFFs) is at least $462 billion. This is based on the short-term U.S. Treasury bill rate as a proxy for the rate of return on assets.

•    Total capital flight represents approximately 16.6 percent of India's GDP as of year-end 2008.

•    Illicit financial flows out of India grew at a rate of 11.5 percent per year while in real terms they grew by 6.4 percent per year.

•    India lost $16 billion per year from 2002-2006.

•    From 1948 through 2008 the Indian private sector shifted away from deposits into developed country banks and towards increased deposits in offshore financial centers (OFCs). The share of OFC deposits increased from 36.4 percent in 1995 to 54.2 percent in 2009.
 
   
According to the [inside]Open Budget Survey 2010[/inside],
http://internationalbudget.org/files/2010_Full_Report-English.pdf:   

•    Produced every two years by independent experts not beholden to national governments, the Open Budget Survey 2010 report reveals that 74 of the 94 countries assessed fail to meet basic standards of transparency and accountability with national budgets. This opens the door to abuse and inappropriate and inefficient use of public money.

•    Based on documented evidence, the Open Budget Survey finds that just seven of 94 countries assessed release extensive budget information, and 40 countries release no meaningful budget information.

•    The average Open Budget Index (OBI) score for the countries surveyed in 2010 is 42 out of 100.

•    South Africa, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Sweden, and the United States score in the top tier of transparency, while the worst performers include China, Saudi Arabia, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal, and newly democratic Iraq, which provide little to no information to their citizens.

•    India's Open Budget Index increased from 53 in 2006 to 60 in 2008 and further to 67 in 2010.

•    Well-off countries like Equatorial Guinea (per capita GDP adjusted for purchasing power parity of US$18,600 in 2009), Saudi Arabia ($23,221), Trinidad and Tobago ($19,818), and Malaysia ($13,770) perform very poorly on the OBI 2010. In contrast, low-income countries like India (GDP per capita of $2,941), Sri Lanka ($4,769), and Ukraine ($6,340) perform relatively well.

•    The average OBI score for the 14 countries that performed worst in the OBI 2006 (and for which comparable data is available) has gone up from 25 to 40 in the OBI 2010. Notable improvers include Egypt, Mongolia, and Uganda. Similar improvements were also found in some of the countries assessed for the first time in the OBI 2008, including Afghanistan, Liberia, and Yemen.

•    The Survey uses internationally accepted criteria to assess each country’s budget transparency and accountability. The Survey is compiled from a questionnaire completed for each country by independent budget experts who are not associated with the national government. Each country’s questionnaire is then independently reviewed by two anonymous experts who also have no association to government. Scores assigned to certain Open Budget Survey questions are used to compile objective scores and rankings of each country’s relative transparency. These scores constitute the Open Budget Index (OBI).

•    Only 20 of the 94 countries included in the Open Budget Survey 2010 had OBI scores above 60 and can be characterized as providing their citizens with enough budget data to enable them to develop a comprehensive analysis and understanding of their national budgets.

•    About one-third of the countries (33) provide some information, scoring between 41 and 60, though this information is far less than what is required to obtain a clear understanding of the budget and to provide a check on the executive.

•    The high scoring countries (OBI scores between 81 and 100) publish 100 percent of the documents they produce while the worst scoring countries (OBI scores between 0 and 20) do not make public the majority of budget documents produced.

•    Legislatures in only 26 countries provide the public with formal opportunities to provide testimony during budget discussions. More disturbing is that in 35 countries, all discussions about the budget between the legislatures and the executive, including hearings, are entirely closed to the public (including the media), and no public record of such meetings is subsequently provided.

•    In a plurality of countries (41), the amount of information provided is acutely inadequate. This includes 19 countries in which only minimal information is provided (those with scores between 21 and 40), as well as 22 countries in which little to no budget information is provided (those with scores of 20 or less). The 22 countries are Algeria, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Honduras, Iraq, Kyrgyz Republic, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé e Príncipe, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Vietnam.

•    In 21 of the 22 countries that provide little to no budget information, the Executive’s Budget Proposal — arguably the government’s most important policy document — is not even released.

•    Only 17 of the countries examined, for instance, provide comprehensive budget information on policies intended to alleviate poverty. Another 41 countries provide no information on extra-budgetary funds in their Executive’s Budget Proposals even though, on average, extra-budgetary funds account for nearly 40 percent of central government expenditures in transitional and developing countries.

•    Countries performing poorly on the OBI tend to share certain characteristics — such as low levels of income, low levels of democracy, geographical location in Africa and the Middle East, and dependence on aid and revenues from the sale of hydrocarbons.

 

According to [inside]2010 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)[/inside], prepared by Transparency International (TI), http://transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/press#pr:  


•    India ranks 87th with a CPI 2010 Score of 3.3, while China ranks 78th with a CPI 2010 Score of 3.5. Pakistan ranks 143rd with a CPI 2010 Score of 2.3. Bangladesh ranks 134th with a CPI 2010 Score of 2.4. Sri Lanka ranks 91st with a CPI 2010 Score of 3.2.

•    India has fallen three places to 87th in Transparency International's latest Corruption Perceptions Index, in which 178 countries were surveyed.

•    With governments committing huge sums to tackle the world’s most pressing problems, from the instability of financial markets to climate change and poverty, corruption remains an obstacle to achieving much needed progress, according to Transparency International’s 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), a measure of domestic, public sector corruption.

•    The CPI 2010 is calculated using data from 13 sources by 10 independent institutions. All sources measure the overall extent of corruption (frequency and/or size of bribes) in the public and political sectors, and all sources provide a ranking of countries, i.e. include an assessment of multiple countries.

•    In the CPI 2010, the following seven sources provided data based on expert analysis: African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Bertelsmann Foundation, Economist Intelligence Unit, Freedom House, Global Insight and the World Bank. Three sources for the CPI 2010 reflect the evaluations by resident business leaders of their own country, IMD, Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, and the World Economic Forum.

•    The 2010 CPI shows that nearly three quarters of the 178 countries in the index score below five, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 10 (perceived to have low levels of corruption), indicating a serious corruption problem.

•    In the 2010 CPI, Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore tie for first place with scores of 9.3. Unstable governments, often with a legacy of conflict, continue to dominate the bottom rungs of the CPI. Afghanistan and Myanmar share second to last place with a score of 1.4, with Somalia coming in last with a score of 1.1.

•    An improvement in scores from 2009 to 2010 could be observed for Bhutan, Chile, Ecuador, FYR Macedonia, Gambia, Haiti, Jamaica, Kuwait, and Qatar. Similarly, a decline in scores from 2009 to 2010 can be identified for the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Madagascar, Niger and the United States.

•    TI’s assessment of 36 industrialised countries party to the OECD anti-bribery convention, which forbids bribery of foreign officials, reveals that as many as 20 show little or no enforcement of the rules, sending the wrong signal about their commitment to curb corrupt practices.


**page**

According to the [inside]Global Corruption Barometer 2009[/inside] prepared by Transparency International, http://www.transparency.org/publications/gcr/gcr_2009#press; also see http://www.transparency.org/news_room/in_focus/2009/gcr2009#dnld:

Indian scenario

• Countries such as Brazil, China and India already boast some of the world’s largest markets, and their companies play an increasingly active and important role in global business. As this report documents, encouraging efforts are under way to update many aspects of regulatory and governance standards in these countries. Nevertheless, these efforts need to be deepened and extended beyond the ‘first in class’ companies. Firms from India, China and Brazil are regarded by their peers as among the most corrupt when doing business abroad.

• Corruption is not a marginal issue but a central concern for business – in developing, emerging and industrialised countries alike. It affects multinationals in the United States and Europe. It touches manufacturing powerhouses in China, information technology service providers in India, farmers in Latin America and extractive industries in Africa, central Asia and the Middle East. It is an issue for large-scale conglomerates, family-owned businesses and individual entrepreneurs. In developing and transition countries alone, corrupt politicians and government officials receive bribes believed to total some US$20 to 40 billion annually – the equivalent of around 20 to 40 per cent of official development assistance. Moreover, the problem appears to be growing.

• In countries such as Egypt, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Nigeria and Pakistan, more than 60 per cent of the business executives polled in the TI survey reported having been solicited for bribe payments from key institutions in government.

• In India, for example, a review of several multimillion-dollar, World-Bank-funded projects in the health sector found multiple incidences of possible fraud, corruption and collusion of suppliers. As part of a US$114 million anti-malaria project in India, four European chemical companies were alleged to have formed a cartel in 1999 to submit identical bids to supply pyrethroid insecticides, equally divide the contracts among themselves, inflate prices and limit competition from companies submitting lower bids.

• Countries such as Brazil, Japan and South Korea have stepped up their cartel prosecution activities. China’s new antimonopoly law entered into force in August 2008, and India is expected to follow suit with a stronger competition law in 2009.

• Although the Competition Act was enacted by parliament in 2002, it remained largely a non-starter because of court cases filed by lawyers, mainly over the composition of the Competition Commission. The Supreme Court of India stayed the implementation of the provisions of the act in January 2005 and asked the government to amend the law. The government, after much deliberation and delay, amended the Competition Act in August 2007. With the passage of the amendments by parliament, it is expected that the commission will become fully operational by the end of 2008 or early 2009. In addition to its advocacy role, which it already performs the Competition Commission will be able to check corporate malpractice and abuse, the misuse of dominant positions and cartelisation. It will also have the power to enquire into mergers and acquisitions and prevent the formulation of conglomerates to the detriment of consumers. The act will assist the government in probing cartel-like behaviour.

• As the rise of Infosys in India shows, asserting corporate integrity in a high-corruption environment is both feasible and good business. Infosys has grown from a small software company in 1981 to a multinational information technology service provider while steering clear of corruption in a setting infamous for red tape and high corruption risks.

• A key challenge for the future is how to expand initiatives such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) into a more comprehensive road map that will help countries to manage their natural resource revenues better and more fairly, starting from the award of concessions through to the drawing up of transparent public budgets. Such efforts would need the support of the wider international community, which means a diplomatic push to involve China and India too.

• At the national level, business code of ethics  are on the books in about three-quarters of the largest 1,000 companies in South Africa, the 800 largest companies in India and the largest 100 companies in the Netherlands. In the United States, 57 per cent of companies with a workforce of at least 200 people have a code.

• As the Global Corruption Report 2008 demonstrates, lower-level officials in India’s water sector were found to be buying their positions and recouping these ‘investments’ by extracting extra payments from the clients they were supposed to serve. Similarly, higher-level officials have to share with their superiors some of the rents they extract from selling jobs and turning a blind eye to corrupt behaviour on the ground.

• Stock exchanges in many other countries have been much slower in addressing conflicts of interests. India’s regulator proposed Chinese-wall-like rules for analysts only in 2008

• Thirty per cent of respondents in Transparency International’s 2008 Bribe Payers Index indicated that companies from India are likely to bribe low-level public officials in order to ‘speed things up’.

• The Securities and Exchange Board of India is tackling fraud and corruption with consent orders: companies can pay monetary fines for financial crimes rather than going through drawn out litigation. There are concerns, however, that consent orders are being given too freely, with serious crimes being excused for as little as US $2000.

• Two major securities scams have been publicised: the Harshad Mehta securities fraud and the Ketan Parekh scam. Both scams were quite simple: brokers pushed up the prices of selected shares through artifi cial trade to attract retail investors and then suddenly withdrew from the trade. In several cases the share prices of bogus or paper companies were raised to very high levels. Once the scandals had been exposed the share prices collapsed, resulting in huge losses to investors.

• The first stock index for Environmental, Social and Governance issues was established in 2008.

• NGOs have also taken advantage of high-profile situations to push the anti-corruption agenda, with considerable success. For instance, the remarkable revelations of far-reaching arms corruption on the part of the Indian government in 2001 by the Tehelka internet group of journalists was, over time, to contribute to efforts by NGOs to promote significant domestic reforms in arms procurement.

• In 2008 the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), published guidelines for recovery agents. They prescribe a code of conduct and procedure for recovery agents’ training, and are intended to ensure that banks refrain from hiring disreputable people to recover debts and to prevent bad practice in the offering and management of loans by banks. They require the banks to follow the procedure prescribed by the law to recover loans and warn that, if the banks fail to mend their ways, the RBI as regulator will take action against the erring banks.

• With increased globalisation and the opening of markets in China, illegal trading activities are also fl ourishing across the northern border with China. Not only are low-cost Chinese goods smuggled into Nepal and then India, contraband items are smuggled into China from Nepal.

Global scenario

Transparency International’s (TI) 2009 Global Corruption Barometer (the Barometer) presents the main findings of a public opinion survey that explores the general public’s views of corruption, as well as experiences of bribery around the world. It assesses the extent to which key institutions and public services are perceived to be corrupt, measures citizens’ views on government efforts to fight corruption, and this year, for the first time, includes questions about the level of state capture and people’s willingness to pay a premium for clean corporate behaviour.

The Barometer is designed to complement the expert opinions on public sector corruption provided by TI’s Corruption Perceptions Index and the views of senior business executives on international bribery flows reflected in TI’s Bribe Payers Index. It also aims to provide information on trends in public perceptions of corruption. Now in its sixth edition, the Barometer enables assessments of change over time; in terms of the institutions deemed to be most corrupt, the effectiveness of governments’ efforts to fight corruption, and the proportion of citizens paying bribes. The 2009 Barometer interviewed 73,132 people in 69 countries and territories between October 2008 and February 2009. The main findings are as follows:

Corruption in and by the private sector is of growing concern to the general public

• The private sector is perceived to be corrupt by half of those interviewed: a notable increase of eight percentage points compared to five years ago.
• The general public is critical of the private sector’s role in their countries’ policy making processes. More than half of respondents held the view that bribery is often used to shape policies and regulations in companies’ favour. This perception is particularly widespread in the Newly Independent States+3, and to a slightly lesser extent in countries in the Americas, and the Western Balkans + Turkey.
• Corruption matters to consumers. Half of those interviewed expressed a willingness to pay a premium to buy from a company that is ‘corruption-free’.

Political parties and the civil service are perceived on average to be the most corrupt sectors around the world

• Globally, respondents perceived political parties as the single most corrupt domestic institution, followed closely by the civil service.
• Aggregate results, however, mask important country differences. In 13 of the countries sampled, the private sector was deemed to be the most corrupt, while in 11 countries respondents identified the judiciary.

Experience of petty bribery is reported to be growing in some parts of the world – with the police the most likely recipients of bribes

• More than 1 in 10 people interviewed reported having paid a bribe in the previous 12 months, reflecting reported levels of bribery similar to those captured in the 2005 Barometer. For 4 in 10 respondents who paid bribes, payments amounted, on average, to around 10 per cent of their annual income.
• The countries reported to be most affected by petty bribery are (in alphabetical order): Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Cameroon, Iraq, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Uganda.
• Regionally, experiences of petty bribery are most common in the Middle East and North Africa, the Newly Independent States+ and Sub-Saharan Africa.
• Although the police are most frequently reported to receive bribes worldwide, regional differences also emerge. In the Middle East and North Africa, the most bribe-prone institutions are reported to be those handling procedures related to buying, selling, inheriting or renting land. In EU+ countries these land services along with healthcare are most vulnerable to petty bribery. While incidences of petty bribery in North America appear to be very low, those that do occur are reportedly most frequent in interactions with the judiciary.
• Results indicate that respondents from low-income households are more likely to pay bribes than those fromhigh-income households when dealing with the police, the judiciary, land services and the education services.

Ordinary people do not feel empowered to speak out about corruption

• The general public does not routinely use formal channels to lodge bribery-related complaints: three quarters of people who reported paying bribes did not file a formal complaint.
• About half of bribery victims interviewed did not see existing complaint mechanisms as effective. This view was consistent regardless of gender, education or age.

Governments are considered to be ineffective in the fight against corruption – a view that has remained worryingly consistent in most countries over time

• Overall, the general public consider their governments’ efforts to tackle corruption to be ineffective. Only 31 per cent perceived them as effective compared to the 56 per cent that viewed government anti-corruption measures to be ineffective.
• There were no major changes in recorded opinion on government anti-corruption efforts in 2009 when comparing those countries assessed in the last edition of the Barometer in 2007.


According to [inside]Open Budgets, Transform Lives: The Open Budget Survey 2008[/inside],
http://openbudgetindex.org/files/FinalFullReportEnglish1.pdf 

 

• The Open Budget Survey 2008 finds that, overall, the state of budget transparency around the world is deplorable. In most of the countries surveyed the public does not have access to the comprehensive and timely information needed to participate meaningfully in the budget process and to hold government to account.  This lack of transparency encourages inappropriate, wasteful, and corrupt spending and—because it shuts the public out of decision-making—reduces the legitimacy and impact of anti-poverty initiatives. 

• The Open Budget Survey provides government officials, legislators, development practitioners, civil society organizations, journalists, and researchers with an independent, comparative measure of government budget transparency in 85 countries around the world.  The Survey report also suggests reforms that countries might adopt to improve budget transparency, increase public participation, and strengthen institutions of accountability. 

• Only five countries of the 85 surveyed—France, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States—make extensive information publicly available as required by generally accepted good public financial management practices.  A further 12 countries provide substantial information to the public. 

• The remaining 68 countries score poorly on the OBI.  The 25 countries that provide scant or no budget information include low-income countries like Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nicaragua, and the Kyrgyz Republic, as well as several middle- and high-income countries, such as China, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia. 

• In 23 of the 25 poorest performing countries, the public cannot even see the Executive’s Budget Proposal before it is approved by the legislature. 

• Almost all countries publish the annual budget after it is approved by the legislature.  The exceptions are China, Equatorial Guinea, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan.  Most countries provide much less information during the drafting, execution, and auditing stages of the budget process.  This prevents the public from having input on overarching policies and priorities, improving value for money, and curbing corruption.

• In Croatia, Kenya, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, in particular, significant improvements either were influenced by the activities of civil society groups or have created opportunities for greater civil society interventions.  Important improvements in budget transparency were also documented in Bulgaria, Egypt, Georgia, and Papua New Guinea. 

• Lower income countries Peru and Sri Lanka both provide their citizens with a significant amount of budget information, and Ghana and Uganda score above average among aid-dependent countries. 

• It is thus encouraging that a small but growing number of countries surveyed (17 out of 85) produce Citizens Budgets. These include high-income countries like Norway and New Zealand, as well as low- and middle-income countries like Ghana, India, and El Salvador.

• Some of the smaller improvements in country performance are also important. For example, a number of countries, including Ghana and Norway, have started publishing a Citizens Budget.  Other countries, such as El Salvador, Uganda, and Vietnam, are making more information available during budget execution. Morocco and Russia are now including figures on past expenditures in their budget documents, making it easier to track trends in resource allocation and spending. Finally, the governments of Ecuador and India, among others, have improved their budget timetables and are publishing more information on extra-budgetary items.

• Civil society organizations (CSOs) specializing in budget issues help to build legislatures’ capacity in several ways.  For example, CSOs in India, Mexico, Croatia, and elsewhere prepare accessible summaries and guides to their countries national budgets. Upon receiving the first CSO-produced guide to the Croatian budget, one member of the legislature exclaimed to the Deputy Minister of Finance, “Now we don’t have to (only) listen to you anymore, we have (our own) guide!” 

• Delays in releasing Audit Reports reduce the opportunities for civil society to use audit information to advocate for improvements in government performance. Unfortunately, 48 countries do not publish Audit Reports within the recommended timeframe. For instance, Mexico, India, and Romania all release their Audit Reports more than 12 months after the end of the fiscal year.

• In India, the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) fought to obtain access to official records on public works programs and then organized public hearings where local communities audited this information, exposing fraud and other forms of corruption.  MKSS’s work contributed to the enactment of a national Freedom of Information law, as well as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, in India.

• The International Budget Partnership (IBP) and the Institute for Development Studies at Sussex University in the U.K. recently carried out six case studies of budget-focused organizations. The studies covered organizations working in Brazil, Croatia, India, Mexico, South Africa, and Uganda to interpret and disseminate budget information. The work of these organizations enabled broader civil society engagement and a stronger role for the legislature in the budget process.  In four of the case studies civil society budget work also had a direct impact on improving budget systems, pro-poor allocations, and the quality of expenditures.


 

 

State of the affairs 2007

According to the [inside]India Corruption Study 2007[/inside], conducted by Transparency India International and Centre for Media Studies, http://www.cmsindia.org/cms/highlights.pdf:

 

 This round of TII-CMS India Corruption Study 2007 confirms a wide gap between perception and actual experience about corruption in public services – irrespective of recent measures to improve service delivery and curb corruption.

 About one-third of BPL households, across the country paid bribes in the last one year to avail one or more of the 11 public services covered in the study, which shows the poor are not spared even in the case of targeted programmes.

 In the last couple of years, several initiatives have been taken in the country to improve delivery of public services. Citizens’ Charters, RTI Act, Social Audit, e-governance measures including the massive computerization, etc. are among some of these. The benefits of these measures have not substantially percolated down to the poor as yet.

 The percentage of BPL households who paid bribes, out of those who are availing the services covered in the last one year ranges from 3.4 percent in the case of School Education to as high as 48 percent in the case of Police Service.

 About four percent of BPL households used “a contact” in the previous year to avail such services as PDS, School Education, Banking Services; and as high as 10 percent in the case of Housing and Land Records/Registration.

 Nearly two percent of BPL households could not avail PDS, School Education and Electricity, as they could not pay bribe or had no contact or influence to get access to services. In fact, in the last one year, more than four percent of BPL households could not avail Land Records/Registration, NREGS, Housing and Police Service for the same reason.

 The fact that most of the poor who claimed to have paid bribe - did so directly to one or the other functionary within the delivery set up, is a revelation, particularly because quite often the reasons for repeat visits were absence of staff and/or their apathetic attitude. This lends strength to the perception that the poor are not a priority even in the case of some of the programmes designed for them.

 Procedural delays are the other reasons that make BPL households vulnerable to paying bribe or depriving them from availing the service. There is hardly any evidence in this study that IT or e-governance initiatives taken on a large scale in different States, involving some of the services, made much difference in the levels of perception about corruption or even actual experience.

 Police and Land Records/ Registration services stand out for their “alarming level” of corruption involving BPL households among the 11 services covered in this study. Whereas, School Education (up to class XII) and Banking Service (including postal service) comes out with “moderate level” of corruption, this also implies that even these services are not free from corruption.

 As regards the relative position of States on corruption in availing the 11 public services by BPL households, Assam, J & K, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have an “alarming level” of corruption, while Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Delhi and Punjab have “moderate level”

 The important fact is that the poor deserve better attention in getting access to public services particularly some of the targeted programmes meant specially for them, than they seem to be getting now.

 Despite claims and some initiatives for redressal of complaints in services like Police, they have not helped either in reducing perceptions nor experiences of BPL households. However, in the case of Schools and Banking Services some dent seems to have been made.

 Overall, in the case of Police, Land Records Registration and Housing Services in particular, a higher percentage of BPL households who tried to avail these services found that corruption had increased in the last one year.

 The percent of households with BPL income not having a “BPL card” was relatively high in North-East states, West Bengal and Delhi.

 The study estimated that Rs. 8,830 million, in all, was paid as bribe by BPL households in the last one year, in availing 11 public services. It is estimated that the poorest households of our country paid Rs. 2,148 million to police as bribe.

 

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State-level highlights

Kerala: All 11 public services* considered for the study are ranked as the least corrupt in the country.
Himachal Pradesh: Most services in the State are ranked as relatively lower corrupt in the country.
Gujarat: Overall the State is ranked as less corrupt in comparison to other States. However certain services like Education, Land Administration and Judiciary are relatively ranked as more corrupt in comparison to others services in the State.
Andhra Pradesh: Govt Hospital and Water Supply services are ranked more corrupt in comparison to other services in the State.
Maharashtra: Municpal services in the State rank among the top five corrupt in the country.
Chattisgarh: On the corruption index all the services in the State are much better ranked than the parent State Madhya Pradesh
Punjab: PDS, Police, Judiciary and Municipal services are ranked more corrupt in comparison to other services in the State.
West Bengal: Water Supply service in the State is ranked as the most corrupt in the country.
Orissa: Judiciary ranks among the top four corrupt in the country
Uttar Pradesh: Electricity, Schools and Income Tax figure high in the corruption rankings.
Delhi: PDS in Delhi is ranked as the second most corrupt in the country
Tamil Nadu: While over all the State ranks 12th on the Corruption Index, Schools, Hospital, Income Tax and Municipalities rank among the top corrupt in the country. This is surprising given that the State has one of the best health infrastructure and also ranks quite high on the Education Development Index.
Haryana: Schools, Land Administration and Police figure among the top corrupt in the country.
Jharkhand: On the corruption index all the services in the State are much better ranked than the parent State Bihar.
Assam: Police is the most corrupt in the country. Electricity figures among the top corrupt.
Rajasthan: Judiciary ranks among the less corrupt in the country
Karnataka: The state ranks fourth on the corruption index because key services like Income Tax, Judiciary, Municipalities & RFI figure among the top corrupt services in the country. However, Electricity & Schools rank among the least corrupt in the country.
Madhya Pradesh: Despite initiating reforms in service delivery, the State still ranks as third most corrupt among States included in the survey. Only Municipal services are ranked relatively better than other services.
J&K: Except Hospital & RFI, most other services rank among most corrupt in the country. Not surprising that it is the second most corrupt State.
Bihar: All the services are ranked among the most corrupt in the country.

Note:
*The eleven public services are: Police (Crime/Traffic), Judiciary, Land Administration, Municipal Services, Govt. Hospitals, Electricity (Consumers) PDS (Ration Card/Supplies), Income Tax (Individual Assesses), Water Supply, Schools (upto 12th) and Rural Finacial Institutions (Farmers).

Source:
India Corruption Study–2005, Transparency India International (TII) and Centre for Media Studies (CMS)

State of the affairs 2005


According to the [inside]India Corruption Study–2005[/inside], carried out by Transparency India International (TII) and Centre for Media Studies (CMS), with a sample of 14,405 respondents spread across 20 states,

http://www.prajanet.org/newsroom/internal/tii/ICS2k5_Vol1.pdf:

 


 One-third of citizens think that “both the officials concerned and the users” of these eleven services know how much to be paid as “extra” to get a job done or attended to. The eleven public services are: Police (Crime/Traffic), Judiciary, Land Administration, Municipal Services, Govt. Hospitals, Electricity (Consumers) PDS (Ration Card/Supplies), Income Tax (Individual Assesses), Water Supply, Schools (upto 12th) and Rural Finacial Institutions (Farmers).

 Police stands out high on the corruption index. Judiciary (lower Courts) and Land Administration are rated next only to Police. The corruption in Government Hospitals is mostly to do with non-availability of medicines, getting admission, consultations with doctors and availing diagnostic services. Despite reforms, electricity service figure high on corruption index. PDS figures lower in the corruption index score because the problem of common man dealing with services is more to do with leakages in the system rather than direct monetary corruption.

 Kerala stands out as the least corrupt State in India. Bihar, on the other, is the most corrupt State. Jammu & Kashmir is next only to Bihar. In the context of all the eleven services, Bihar stands out far-ahead as the most corrupt State. Himachal Pradesh perhaps is less corrupt – even compared to States like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or Gujarat. Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Assam, on the other, also are on the top of corruption.

 Three fourths of those who had interacted with Police department in the last one year are not happy with the services. 88 percent perceive the police department to be corrupt

 In Judiciary, of those who paid bribe, 41 % had paid to influence judgment, 31 % to speed up or delay judgment, 28 percent to get routine jobs like listing of case or to get copy of documents

 

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According to the [inside]Vision Foundation's (2005) Social Audit-Gram Sabha and Panchayati Raj-document[/inside], submitted to the Planning Commission, GoI, October,
http://planningcommission.nic.in/reports/sereport/ser/stdy_sagspr.pdf  


• "Social Audit is a process in which, details of the resource, both financial and non-financial, used by public agencies for development initiatives are shared with the people, often through a public platform. Social Audits allow people to enforce accountability and transparency, providing the ultimate users an opportunity to scrutinize development initiatives.”

• In the Panchayati Raj set up, the Gram Sabha, the general assembly of villagers, has a key role for effective functioning of Panchayats. In the Gram Sabha meeting, the rural poor, the women and the marginalised people would now get an opportunity to join in decision making on matters affecting their lives.

• Active functioning of the Gram Sabha would ensure a participatory democracy with transparency, accountability and achievement. Gram Sabha has been given  ‘watchdog’ powers and responsibilities by the Panchayati Raj Acts in most States to supervise and monitor the functioning of  panchayat elected representatives and government functionaries, and examine the annual statement of accounts and audit reports.

• These are implied powers indirectly empowering Gram Sabhas to carry out social audits in addition to other functions. Members of the Gram Sabha and the village panchayat, intermediate panchayat and district panchayat through their representatives, can raise issues of social concern and public interest and demand an explanation.

• In order to supplement the Panchayati Raj Act, the Government of India, in 1996, passed another Act known as Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, which extended the provisions of the Constitution (73 Amendment) Act of 1992 to the tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan. This came into force on 24 December 1996.

• Social Audits are mandatory as per the 73rd Constitutional Amendment in 1993, through which the Village communities are empowered to conduct social audit of all development work in their respective villages and the concerned authorities are duty bound to facilitate them. The social audits are expected to contribute to the process of empowerment of the beneficiaries and generate demand for the effective delivery of programmes. The instructions require that special Gram Sabhas be arranged to conduct Social Audits in every ward and that Social Audits of all ongoing development works be included as an item of discussion in every Gram Sabha meeting.

• The provisions of Panchayats (extension to scheduled areas) Act 1996 lays down that the completion certificate for all villages development works can only be accorded by the Gram Sabha. 

• Rajasthan (India) Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act 2000 vested on the Ward Sabha on “getting information on the detailed estimates of works prepared to be taken in the area of the Ward Sabha, exercising “Social Audit” in all works implemented in the area of Ward Sabha and awarding utilization and completion certificate for such work  

• In the state of Madhya Pradesh (India) the process of Social Audit has been specified in the order No. 18069/22/JRY/vi - 7/96 dev. October 30th 1996.

• In the state of Orissa the Social Audit in rural development works has been mandatory with the issuance of Govt. order in the month of September 2002. 

 

What the government has to say?



According to the [inside]11th Five Year Plan[/inside]

http://www.planningcommission.nic.in/plans/planrel/fiveyr/11th/11_v1/11th_vol1.pdf:


 One of the biggest challenges in improving governance is to act against corruption, which is widely seen as having seeped into the administrative fabric.

 Some international agencies have rated India among nations with a high degree corruption. For example, the Transparency International Index for 2006 ranks India at 70th position along with Brazil, China, Egypt, and Mexico.

 Corruption in public services has today assumed serious dimensions. In the last few decades, its scale, growth and spread have significantly increased. Different levels of governments have become implicated in corrupt practices in mutually enforcing ways. At each of these levels, corruption has tarnished the image of government functionaries.

 Corruption not only undermines the moral fabric of the society but can have serious and irreversible practical consequences for politics, economic development and governance. In an overwhelmingly corrupt society, value-based politics loses its meaning. The legitimacy of government based on impartial application of the rule of law no longer holds.

 Resources, which ought to be available to the exchequer for welfare and development, are diverted into the private coffers of certain individuals. Honest public servants are demoralized while the corrupt are rewarded. Corruption is a major factor in the wastefulness, inefficiency and inequities we find in public administration today.

 It particularly affects the poor who cannot afford to pay. The burden of corruption saddles the private sector, and ultimately the consumer, with high costs and an inefficient infrastructure. Many more ramifications of corruption can be identified, but what is important to appreciate is that as corruption intensifies and accelerates, it tends to perpetuate itself in even widening and deeper forms. No time can, therefore, be lost in efforts to arrest and roll back this pernicious process.

 There is widespread concern in India about the scale, spread and consequences of corruption. However, the daunting nature of the problem has generated a feeling of helplessness and apathy in the public mind, resulting in cynicism, fatalism or in arguments that rationalize corruption.

 Alternatively, escape is sought in sweeping solutions such as, for example, radical constitutional changes, wholesale deregulation and privatization of the   economy and decentralization of most governmental activities. An agenda for removing corruption will thus far have to be worked upon in the Plan.

Some suggestions, which need to be seriously worked upon are:

 The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and other related laws need to be reviewed with an effective role assured for the Central and State Vigilance Commissions.

 Strengthening the ‘watch dog’ role of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India and its establishment in order to ensure probity, transparency and accountability in all public financial transactions.

 Tackling corruption in public utilities and in municipal and other services provided by the State and its agencies

 Formulation and enforcement of a code of conduct to regulate relations between government and private enterprises, domestic and multi-national.

 Appropriate self-policing arrangements should be developed by independent authorities and professions such as the judiciary, lawyers, doctors, media persons,chartered accountants, architects and contractors.