Fighting corruption

In a conflict zone this practice is a threat to national interest

Srinagar, Publish Date: Dec 28 2018 9:42PM | Updated Date: Dec 28 2018 9:42PM
Fighting corruptionRepresentational Pic

Corruption is not a new phenomenon. But let’s not engage ourselves into turning of leaves of history to trace the origin of corruption. However, it’s this practice which has got itself adapted to the changing times. When technology has been integrated almost into every aspect of life to bring transparency and fairness in operations, it’s the same technology which has invented hi-tech routes of corruption which we are most of the times unable to track it down.  

Needless to mention that when corruption like a termite spreads in any state, it not only undermines the state institutions and their authority but also triggers widespread turmoil among the masses. Even as we have been seeing measures put in place to halt it from spreading its tentacles across societies and generations, prevailing unstable environment leading to disturbances around us shows failure of such actions to curb it.  This has led to the citizens losing the trust on the state institutions. In a conflict zones like ours, the uncontrolled corruption has been depriving most of the poor and vulnerable masses of essential services. The masses are subjected to constant fear and extortion, while the situation is exploited for their own gains by the influential and the elite belonging to different segments of the society. 

Let me quote an acquaintance, a sociologist by profession, who says,  “Corruption, when thus institutionalized in a conflict zone, contributes to and becomes a prominent factor in social unrest and insurgency, eventually becoming a tool in the hands of organised crime networks.”

Precisely, it is the corruption in J&K which has undermined the trust of the state subjects in democracy. This lack of trust has  been the major cause of failure of peace initiatives within the State. This lack of peace, which has seed in corruption, has resulted  in keeping the threat always alive to the national security. Notably, in January this year, the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) in its annual corruption study – CMS India Corruption Study 2017- has placed Jammu and Kashmir among the list of most corrupt states.

When we talk of corruption, money changing hands illegally or unethically comes to our mind. But this is not one and the only form of corruption. In fact it is blatant and exists in different forms other than clandestine flow of cash from one hand to another. Consider a situation where a person is selling his influence over the decision process involving a third party- be it a person or an institution. Isn’t this peddling of influence also a type of corruption?

Instances galore in our system when incompetent persons, as a payment for supporting the regime, are selected before more able and deserving ones. Can’t we define this kind of patronage corruption? Take the case of nepotism and cronyism. When an authority vested with certain powers use them injudiciously to pass on jobs and advantages to their friends, relatives and the likes he is basically committing an act of corruption. This mode is safe way of corruption. And of course, then there is practice of graft in which the official gains something of value, not part of his official pay, when doing his work.

Precisely, corruption is such a vast area and hugely networked that it can be described as a sector, which is deeply integrated into every economic sector. We can only just think of reducing it and not weeding it out.

As far as war on corruption in J&K State is concerned, the state is a disturbed area and armed forces special power act is in vogue for the past two decades. A dig at any corrupt practice will open the Pandora box. In such a situation, can any one afford to nail those who have been defending country’s interest.

(The views are of the author & not the institution he works for)


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