Stocks
Sonata Software : Reasonably Valued
The software sector has been reporting muted performance, over the past few years. One of the...
Premium Content
Monthly Digital Access

Subscribe

Already A Subscriber?
Login
Yearly Digital+Print Access

Subscribe

Moneylife Magazine Subscriber or MSSN member?
Login

Yearly Subscriber Login

Enter the mail id that you want to use & click on Go. We will send you a link to your email for verficiation
Fortnightly Market View: The Ifs and Buts of Rate Cuts
Last fortnight, when I wrote my piece, the Sensex was at 28,668. A fortnight later, at the...
Premium Content
Monthly Digital Access

Subscribe

Already A Subscriber?
Login
Yearly Digital+Print Access

Subscribe

Moneylife Magazine Subscriber or MSSN member?
Login

Yearly Subscriber Login

Enter the mail id that you want to use & click on Go. We will send you a link to your email for verficiation
How To Bring a Culture of Honesty and Transparency
Deeply-entrenched corruption, unless tackled urgently, can kill the best of intentions of the government and judiciary. In a landmark judgement in March 2016, the Supreme Court of India (SC) approved specific guidelines to ensure that ‘good Samaritans’ who help accident victims are not harassed by the police or the government. Switch on any FM channel or All India Radio and you will notice that the government is faithfully following SC’s orders to publicise the fact that good Samaritans will not even have to disclose their identity or be detained and harassed in a hospital or police station. The apex court’s guidelines want hospitals to go a step further and award a ‘certificate of appreciation’ to such good citizens who help save lives. This is both necessary and heart-warming. 
 
Now listen to a story from real life. Moneylife Foundation’s 12-part series called Police & You had a session on the functioning of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). Vilas Tupe, a retired assistant commissioner of police (ACP) who conducted a session, narrated this scary incident. A patient who was rushed to a private nursing home with excessive bleeding could not be saved. It was no reflection on the quality of medical treatment, but, as is required, the body was sent for a post-mortem to a government hospital in Mumbai. 
 
 
The private clinic, says Mr Tupe, soon received a call from the doctor conducting the post-mortem demanding a bribe of Rs1 lakh for writing a correct report. ‘Your entire career is in my hands’, he allegedly threatened. The intended victim wasn’t a pushover. She managed to rally other doctor colleagues and a group of them went over to the ACB to seek help. There are, often, rogue elements in the ACB itself who are in cahoots with the corrupt. But, with a zealous Mr Tupe in charge, a trap was laid and the corrupt doctor extorting money was arrested. 
 
Was this an isolated case? Apparently not; and that is frightening. A few days later, while chatting with Hemant and Sangeeta Pikle, two ethical and conscientious doctors who run a small hospital in Mumbai, I was shocked to hear that they too had faced such an extortion attempt. Hemant Pikle is a doctor who hasn’t hesitated to save a life by stitching up a riot victim, slashed by a chopper, under local anaesthesia. A badly hurt accident victim, brought in by his very poor father, died despite every attempt to save his life. The father had no complaint against the hospital and its efforts; but an unconnected doctor, in charge of the post-mortem, saw an opportunity to extort money. The attempt fizzled out when the extortionist realised that Dr Pikle’s father-in-law, the renowned former Dean of LTN Hospital (Sion Hospital), Dr Sadanand Nadkarni, had been consulted on the case. 
 
If doctors conducting a post-mortem can stoop to such low extortion from fellow professionals, one can only imagine how easy it must be to fix the evidence in case of rape, murder and abuse. The SC’s order may attempt to protect good Samaritans, but who will protect doctors, or us, the ordinary people, from the scourge of monumental corruption? If we cannot fix corruption in matters pertaining to life and death, should we even expect good governance and ethical behaviour from businesses and services that have profit as their primary motive?
 
Are policy-makers and concerned citizens giving any thought to the larger issue of changing behaviour and attitudes for the better? Even critics of prime minister Narendra Modi concede that he is serious about curbing corruption at the top. There are also some signals that the grip of old-style crony capitalism has loosened. Consider some recent examples. One is the strategy employed to make the income declaration scheme a success. Another example is the cancellation of Essar Power’s coal mining lease in Jharkhand, which sent it scurrying to pay its dues and comply.
 
Even with the all-powerful Reliance Industries, there is a slow, but inexorable move to fine the company after Justice AP Shah’s panel concluded that it benefited from the migration of gas from the adjacent ONGC block leading to ‘unjust enrichment’. Despite our cynicism, there is no doubt that the directorate general of hydrocarbons will have to quantify the penalty sometime soon. Another example is CBI’s action and corruption case registered against Archana Bhargava, former chairman & managing director of United Bank of India (UBI) long after she suddenly quit the post citing health reasons. The ouster of Sushil Muhnot, chairman and managing director of Bank of Maharashtra, just days before his retirement, may be another such action, but with some political angles to it. 
 
However, a handful of positive signals, in a vast country like India, are neither a deterrent nor enough. One needs relentless, multi-pronged action to change our culture, attitude and behaviour. We need to signal that ‘chalta hai’ is no longer acceptable; jugaad is not a substitute for systems and precision; accountability and adherence to the rule of law are virtues to be admired, rather than power and money amassed by hook or by crook. We need a movement for transparency in public life, which will go hand-in-hand with the government’s programme to digitise information and facilitate online transactions, to improve ease of doing business. 
 
The Right to Information Act (RTI) and the Right to Service Delivery, {which has been introduced in Maharashtra}, are two effective tools in ensuring effective governance through better accountability and more transparency. Unfortunately, prime minister Modi and his government are no fans of RTI, or at least its universal applicability. That is probably because the RTI Act, if applied correctly, will not allow the government, or even the judiciary, to control it—they can only be governed by it.
 
What Is the Alternative? 
 
One way is for organisations and regulators to permit open forum discussions and act on the information that is crowd-sourced or, in this case, sourced from users/affected persons. At a Moneylife Foundation seminar, Dr Pradnya Sarvade, additional director  general of the Maharashtra police, spoke about her recent effort on this at CIDCO (City Industrial Development Corporation), a huge public sector undertaking notorious for a high level of corruption. Dr Sarvade was CIDCO’s first-ever vigilance chief. 
 
 “At CIDCO, we took some measures to reduce the rampant corruption by changing the ethos of the organisation and bringing in more transparency and accountability. This included, making processes simple, fixing timelines for delivery, creating a vigilance website that used to publish verified complaints by masking names of the complainant and giving an exit option to the accused. We also focused on supply-side corruption by signing an integrity pact with Transparency International and made it a part of tenders and other processes. On the demand side, we focused on education and preventive measures,” she said.
While the effort met with some resistance, the fact that the complaints were monitored and verified at the very top provided a strong deterrent to corruption, that was probably more effective than investigating and acting on dozens of complaints after the deed was done. 
 
Large organisations, ministries, government departments and regulators can effectively adopt this strategy if there is a buy-in at the top. At the very least, it can be used to source market intelligence early enough. Unfortunately, regulators are also uninterested. On 4th August, Dr Raghuram Rajan, the then governor of the Reserve Bank of India, and capital market regulator, UK Sinha launched Sachet (sachet.rbi.org.in), a joint forum of multiple regulators to tackle fraud and provide a single point for registering complaints on financial issues. The Sachet site has a specific forum for public interaction and reporting of fraudulent practices. Such is the commitment and seriousness of our regulators, that in the two months since its launch, not a single discussion has been initiated nor any effort made to publicise it. Sachet has not moved an inch after the press briefing. Unless the prime minister takes personal interest, transparency, accountability and a change in culture is a distant dream; mere economic growth without this change will make for an ugly nation.

User

COMMENTS

shadi katyal

4 months ago

We can talk this issue till cows come home but we are unwilling to accept that since TRUTH is an enigma to us and thus we ignore Laws and have not learned
yet to stand in a Q so how can any justice is possible. The fact is that we are corrupt and feel that we can ignore and bend the laws and if all fails can buy it.A nation like ours where everyone thinks is a Law to himself cannot change.
We hide behind wordlike Dharma but unwilling to face that we are one of the most corrupt nation and why? Is it in our blood or culture????

sundararaman gopalakrishnan

4 months ago

Good article..Monumental corruption plagues India.It shows a lack of character and lack of fear of law..Even many in the judiciary are corrupt..Only solution is to put the fear of low/jail time in the minds of government officials that harass the common man

Deepak Narain

4 months ago

Unless the top is honest and well-meaning, all superficial attempts will be useless.

Sudhansu Mohanty

4 months ago

To me, it appears, the answer to getting rid of these cancers lies in an arm's length system and complete transparency. It auto-corrects wrong human impulses and as ombudsman, telegraphs clandestine motivations. Transparency strips authorities of their (perceived) authority, and complete transparency strips authority completely! And what’s there without authority in a feudal set up like ours – the power to help and reward, to punish and chastise with no reasons cited! As a corollary, the transparency architecture discourages subordinates to cozy up to the powers-that-be – and massaging their uncertain egos and uneasy vanities – for the spoils and favours to befall them. Transparency has a potential to write finis to the way of life the networked and street-smarts have crafted out, who through manipulation/machinations and by telling yarns, tall and magnificent, have kept going up and up the totem pole without any self-worth. So entrenched and so insidious are they that, let alone eliminating them, even a surgical strike at these networkers’ camps is harder than striking the Pak terrorists in their launch pads. I call them klepto-terrorists – they steal and ransack, they plunder and pillage the system! I’ve seen how culprits (because they are ace schemers and networked) manipulate the system to get away scot-free in typical insider trade and how innocents (because they are naïve and un-networked) are pilloried. The system is so infested with this networking instinct that its busting is dire.

Networkers, because of the nature of activity, breed all ills: nepotism, corruption, shenanigan and every evil that we, as common men, confront in our day to day life. Given the obstinate grip of the nepotistic past, we must shout at the deceit of it. And transparency is the way to go in a democracy. It’s time to demand transparency as one of our basic rights. A small beginning has been made in the RTI Act 2005. But it demands more, a whole lot more. It needs muscle, it needs the sun to shine brightly – to disinfect and cleanse putrefaction. Complete transparency is the GPS for fairness, equity, honesty and justice! We must download this app and switch it on – for a better tomorrow.

Mahesh S Bhatt

4 months ago

We have taken 500+ programs on Corporate Governance & Values for Wealth ( youtube.com ) Vision & Mission. Corruption is like Malignancy it kills good cells & turns them bad.We need systems/awards to recognise instantly as corrupt get rewarded honest are evaluated. Mahesh Bhatt

Anil Parikh

4 months ago

it is not relevant to appeal to group conscious-each one has to decide his un -flinching commitment to right of issues.

Kumar Swamy

4 months ago

Keep up the good work. There is significant reduction in top-level in the center. We need to bring same kind of transparency in state and local levels. It is for us, the ordinary citizens who must refuse to pay bribes to anyone and fight to end corruption at all levels.

shadi katyal

4 months ago

The fact which we fail to recognise is simple. As truth is an engima to us so is honesty.Our Laws were given to us by British when we had some respect for Law and Order though we never been honest with ourselves. It is a drawback in our envoirnment and religion. Over the years with all kind of new income tax laws and some arbitrary demands byIAS officers, people had to become street smart.
Our Judges are not honest and are impotent as being sold to fruling party. How is any one dare to quesion Reliance whose foundation is on bribery and greasing the right palms. We see corruption in every aspect of Indian life.
Look at our Parliament where now there are more MP belonging to RSS/BJP party than before. The very fact that we have lost the vdery word called honesty is fact of life and we are not ashamed to be corrupt beczude our true God has always been money. Look around all these temeples who are nbothing but full of greed and Gold and yet they wish more and nothing is spent for the welfare of pople.
Can our nbation bring honesty and transperation ??One dount that . One can refuse to obey any Law ir can bend those and if all faikls can buy it.
No nation on earth has floursihed without Law and Order and we are a good exmple of it

B. Yerram Raju

5 months ago

Transparency and accountability are consigned to cupboards fixed with unbreakable locks. Unlocking requires that they are broken without treating it as punishable offence.
Not a single offence over which the present government cried foul when it was in opposition has been booked and more than two years lapsed!! Most of them are economic offences of huge magnitude. While these do not discount the other reforms that are being brought in the economic and financial sectors, systems do not threaten the breakers of rule of law with punishment and that too fast!

Shrikant Dattatraya Sahasrabuddhe

5 months ago

Your comment on post mortem's that how easy it must be to fix evidence in case of rape, murder and abuse.Now there is every reason to suspect the veracity of charges on Asaram Bapu, suspects of Dr.Dabholkar's murder case etc.(In the latter case court has passed adverse comments on investigation.)

Shrikant Dattatraya Sahasrabuddhe

5 months ago

Your comment on post mortem's that how easy it must be to fix evidence in case of rape, murder and abuse.Now there is every reason to suspect the veracity of charges on Asaram Bapu, suspects of Dr.Dabholkar's murder case etc.(In the latter case court has passed adverse comments on investigation.)

Vinod Kumar Agarwal

5 months ago

With No Offence to anybody - There is but no Alternative to bring back Culture of Honesty and Transparency. The Regulators come only after the corrupt event has occurred or deemed to have happened. To prove this, another set up or group of agencies get involved and the probability of quid pro quo gets seeded.

In the society when the day begins with probably adulterated Milk and unclean tap Water and all the King's Men /(women) collectively fail to put a check and the time limit to set it right what do we expect by that person when the day draws out. The Day begins with CHALTA HAI answer left out behind with the Mother or the Home Maker. The establishment in the Urban areas which we know as Municipal Bodies must deliver non corrupt services, which is where our day begins and ends. This is followed by Energy resources the Electricity and the Fuel for Public Transport. And Hello Read this from here who will bell the Spectrum Owners the telecom companies for all possible known frauds that can happen both in PrePaid and PostPaid. The common persons failure to address such corruption makes him dare and go out and take revenge and multiply that. You have rich South Mumbai Cooperative Society defying the Transfer Charges diktat from Registrar of Co-op Societies and the Police. What do we expect from our Security Guards? There is but No Alternative. One day born child if fed with Pure unadulterated Milk and unadulterated Baby Powder/Products may create a hope things may change in the next generation about 20 years from Now. Pardon Me for my unsavory examples.

suneel kumar gupta

5 months ago

I strongly feel that immediate need is to improve judiciary for real time justice so people will not accept wrong doing. Secondly character building shd be main objective of education in early years which will make them different citizen

SuchindranathAiyerS

5 months ago

We had the Karrinayithikka Lok Ayuktha (a distinguished and typical member of India's judiciary) taking a cut from all who came before him.

Corruption has its roots in centuries of rule by alien oppressors who looted. plundered and raped India. This left India hopeless and bereft of self esteem in progressive steps of devolution. As a result there is no collective revulsion or revolt against State Extortion which is over ridden by the imperative of self preservation. India's grotesque Constitution plagiarized from the Colonial Government of India Act (1935) and George Orwell's "Animal Farm" that enshrines inequality under law, exceptions to the rule of law, "The many Nations Theory", and the non accountability of the State and its pampered, over empowered ,unproductive employees has exacerbated the situation.

This has nothing to do with the Dharmic religions except in the fantasy of alien religions who, having already exterminated the hereditary religious priesthood and confiscated the temples, religious freedoms, educational institutions, lands water bodies and commonwealth of the People of Dharma in 1921-23, set the stage for the Indian Republic to follow through in 1949 when it turned the People of Dharma into Third Class citizens and, in 1959 confiscated the religious freedoms and the Commonwealth of the People of Dharma in 1959 in formerly prosperous, and well governed Dharmic Princely States where corruption was a rarity until they fell into the maws of the Nouveau Kleptocracy of the Indian Republic..

For example, the Vijayanagar Empire was bereft of corruption and corruption, when discovered, was met with capital punishment. There is the famous incident where Purandara Dasa (The Carnatic Composer) as a Tax Officer collected money through extra legal means to build a temple that the Empire was famous for. His sentence was commuted from death to imprisonment because he used his money for Temple construction rather than for himself.

In recent times, former Vijayanagar Viceregalities such as the Princely States of Mysore and Travancore were notably devoid of corruption and evidenced a scale of prosperity, human, social and industrial development far in advance of the unfortunate British subjects and the even more unfortunate Dhimmies of Caliphate in India until they fell into the maws of the Quota-Extortion Raj established for the Indian Republic by the Cambridge, Columbia, St Stephen's, Madras Christian, Elphinstone and Presidency indoctrinated PANGOLIN* WOGs.

Today, India has collapsed to 135 out of 172 countries in Human and Social Development and 143 out 0f 172 countries in internal peace and stability (UNDP 2015) because of India's vicious anti National Quota-Extortion Constitution that condemned India to perpetual Civil War for the benefit of alien rulers who were replaced by their PANGOLIN* successors. The dream of every Indian boy and girl is to become an alien. A Judge, a Bureaucrat, a Policeman, a Journalist or a Crony Kleptocrat and shake the Pagoda Tree. It is the ambition of every Tribe and British made “Caste” to achieve Constitutional Backwardness so that their progeny may become aliens with the greatest of ease and sans merit. .This is the Indian Constitution and laws, and the manner in which the British stooges have modified it since 1949 to plunder wealth, opportunities and the future from the weak and helpless for preferred alien religions, castes, tribes and the kleptocracy at work.

*Note: PANGOLIN: An enemy of India who believes in inequality under law, exceptions to the rule of law and persecution of some for the benefit of others. At present, the sole purpose of the Indian Republic, Constitutional or otherwise, is to pamper and provide for certain constitutionally preferred sections of society who the British found useful to hold and exploit India at the cost of those who the British hated and persecuted. The Pangolin is a creature that is unique to India and feeds on ants that are known in nature to be industrious and hard working if not quite as fruitful as bees who flee to better climes. (PANGOLIN is an acronym for the Periyar-Ambedkar-Nehru-Gandhi-Other (alien) Religions-Communist Consensus that usurped the British Mantle and has worn it with elan to loot, plunder, and rape India since 1921 and re write History and laws to their exclusive benefit since 1947)

Mehernosh Dordi

5 months ago

It will take time to curb corruption. Give Modi time.

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)