Fighting corruption through awareness
Dr. Daleep Pandita
Recently central and state vigilance commission issued instructions to their departments to celebrate vigilance week with full enthusiasm. This mere symbolic tokenism for such a short period has been continuing for the past several years without sustained efforts all along the remaining year. Does this short period exercise, produce the desired effects at the ground level and yield appreciable results palpable by the common man, still remains a fact to be pondered with?
People of the country gave mandate to the present central government on important issue of eradication of corruption menace from our society. Addressing this vital issue seriously that is actively eating our nation at all levels assume utmost and urgent importance. Counting on accountable governance, public at large expect concrete steps, at least to have mass awareness against this evil that produces more importantly at least deterrent effect rather than punitive results.
Prevention of corruption mainly by creating sustained public awareness campaign is an effort where not only government departments and their employees are to be involved but people en mass need to play their responsible role for ending up this exercise with a great success. Zero tolerance policy towards corruption is the need of hour which must be fully activated at all levels. Government need to be serious in its commitment towards implementation of anti corruption measures by regularly sensitising their employees continuously throughout the year. Commissions associated with vigilance must be equipped with complete infrastructure and provided with well trained and honest manpower, who are dedicated towards the cause. Stress must be laid on granting them more legal powers and adequate judicial authority rather than empowering them with vast administrative jurisdiction. They need to be more accountable and result oriented so that people have faith and develop confidence in such institutions. There is equally need to have proper check and balance on their functioning, so as not to misuse such agencies for settling personal scores and taking political vendetta.
Media in particular has tremendous responsibility to deliver anti corruption message to all classes of people. Both electronic and print sections must not only act as a watchdog over the functioning of government departments but also need to encourage sustained result oriented efforts by creating wide spread awareness campaign against corrupt practices, those are prevalent at all levels of our society in our day to day activities.
All related agencies must identify the seriousness of this malignancy and establish a connect with the people for not only to expose it completely but to generate sufficient knowledge about its consequences especially among the uneducated and rural poor. Voluntary citizens and Non governmental organisations, who work with limited resources and strive for creating awareness against corruption need to be recognised and encouraged.
Role and responsibility of a common man to create vigilance awareness for eradication of corruption menace must not be undermined. It need to be activated and channelized properly with the co operation of government, particularly educational institutions and law enforcing authorities.
Before we deal with this evil, we need to understand the types and genesis of corruption in order to tackle it more specifically rather than accordingly. Normally corruption in our society is perceived by the financial fraud or economic crime. Actually corruption is much more broader term having wide ambit and different ramifications. It ranges from intellectual corruption to physical corruption, to sexual corruption, to moral corruption, to social corruption, to religious corruption, to ethnic corruption and very many types of corruption, and all such types have negative implications on our growth and development. Basically corruption comes in to existence either by need or by greed and both these modes are directly related with the mindset of an individual. It is fundamentally linked the with moral and ethical values of an individual, those develop during its upbringing.
Vigilance has two arms in dealing with the fight against corruption. One aspect is punitive vigilance that deals with creating much needed awareness so as follow thumb rule of ” prevention is better than cure “. It not only creates fear in the mind of corrupt due to horrible end results of corruption but also builds morale against unfair and illegal practices that ultimately lead to self satisfaction of a person. All actions under this exercise are aimed to create deterrent effect in the mind of a common man that creates sense of discipline and responsibility in him. This approach is purely educative, informative and propulsive in nature.
The other part of vigilance activity is punitive vigilance that provides punishment after committing the crime or acts of commission or omission. It is reformative that corrects human aberrations and serves lesson for others. Having major drawback that it can be used as a tool for victimisation and vindication, so in practice it is less encouraged to preventive vigilance.
Conclusively, together with the government, we need to change our mindset, feel consciously responsible and fight for our rights by creating much needed vigilance awareness to fight against corruption menace prevalent in our society. Compromising with our moral and ethical values by succumbing to this evil for our petty gains, destroy us and our nation, which we can not afford at any cost.
(Author is an Insurance official)