Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Kaushik Basu on Tuesday advocated the need for a professional blueprint to tackle corruption while noting that the initiative should not be a bureaucratic exercise as that would lead to further corruption.
Talking about ways to deal with corruption – even as Team Anna’s activism continues - at his last press conference here at North Block as his contract term as CEA came to an end on July 31, Dr. Basu said: “I like civil society pressure because it becomes a useful rallying point even for those within the government to do something. But blueprint [to combat] needs a lot of professionalism.”
Dr. Basu pointed out that although it would not be possible to totally eradicate corruption, a “vast decrease in the level of corruption is possible and we have to work towards that.” However, he indicated that this exercise will have to be carried out without adding another layer of bureaucracy.
“I have great sympathy with activists and people who get very upset about corruption in India,” Dr. Basu said while noting that eradication of corruption is not just a matter of determination and passion because “if you create another layer of bureaucracy to get rid of corruption, you create another layer of corruption.”
Asked what should be done to bring back the illicit funds stashed abroad, Dr. Basu viewed that the government will have to be careful in this regard as a number of Indians keep funds in foreign shores for legitimate business activities. “If you begin fear mongering [to] bring illegal money stashed abroad, you will bring legitimate business to a halt... growth will come to halt if you with ham-handed instrument try to control corruption,” he said.
Governance reforms and corruption control should be major agenda and there is a need to come up with a blueprint for that, he said.