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Can the institution of Lokpal reduce corruption in India?

Amith Kaushik on Lokpal

 

 

 

Article by: Amith Kaushik, UPSC Aspirant
 Amith studied at Karunya University and works for Infosys Technologies.

Corruption has broken the back of this nation and slowed down its progress. It can slip us back into abyss if we fail to treat this rot in society. Corruption is defined as “Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery”. Corruption is a punishable offence in India under Indian penal code and anti corruption laws. Anti corruption law passed in 1988 made offering a bribe also a crime. Every citizen of this nation knows bribery is a punishable offence and with numerous laws passed, constitutional and non constitutional bodies we still failed to curb corruption. There are numerous reasons for growth of corruption but the root cause for all the reasons is “degradation of moral values in society”.
Proposal are brought in to create an ombudsman “ lokpal” to investigate corruption which covers all executive and government employees as early as 1969 but it could not be passed in parliament. Off late civil societies are aggressively advocating need to bring in lokpal to reduce the corruption. Can lokpal be a magic wand to reduce the corruption??
As The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) said “the Lokpal can remove the sense of injustice from the minds of deeply affected citizens but also necessary to instill public confidence in the efficiency of the bureaucracy “. Yes an effective Lokpal organization can reduce corruption. 

We have effective organization like CBI, CAG(its report revealed 2G scam) and CVC at central level and Anti corruption Bureau (ACB) at state to tackle these corruption. Even after having effective organization Corruption is rampant in India because of 

1. Snail paced judiciary process. 
2. Low conviction rate.
3. Lack of teeth for existing organizations.
4. Interference of politicians and bureaucrats in investigation. 

Most of aggrieved people are not approaching these organizations as they believe justice won’t be served to them. Creation a strong Ombudsman like lokpal can address all these issues. Institution like lokpal proved to be effective in Scandinavian countries and New Zealand and turned them into corruption free countries. 

But creation of lokpal without the following reforms can turn lokpal into a toothless tiger.

1. Red tapism is a major reason for corruption. Liberalizing government policies and relaxing the norms in non critical sectors can reduce Red Tape
2. As per the new public Admistration theory, government has to roll back from the areas of exercise. By doing this it will minimize the role of public servants.
3. Passing new laws to give teeth for existing organizations. Such as suo motu rights for investigation.
4. Setting up fast track courts to convict criminals as soon as possible. 
5. Society has to inculcate high moral values.

No one can predict whether lokpal can be right medicine for corruption. But its worth to give a try. The concrete solution for corruption is to morally elevate society to take an oath not to accept /offer a bribe. But institutes like lokpal can defiantly substantiate our efforts to reduce it.

 

 

The views in the article are solely of the author.