Abdul Kalam for Hong Kong model to root out corruption

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OUTLINING THE APPROACH: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam with CBI Director Vijay Shanker at the inauguration of a conference of the CBI and State Anti-Corruption Bureaux in New Delhi on Thursday.
OUTLINING THE APPROACH: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam with CBI Director Vijay Shanker at the inauguration of a conference of the CBI and State Anti-Corruption Bureaux in New Delhi on Thursday.

Vinay Kumar

"The malady has permeated all walks of life, and does not seem to abate as years go by"

  • Dishonesty, corruption eat up life of society
  • Favours e-governance for transparent administration

    NEW DELHI:Describing corruption as the concern of "our society, our youth and the Government," President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said on Thursday that a powerful independent commission on the lines of the one in Hong Kong could weed out the menace from India.

    He outlined a three-pronged approach strict enforcement of stringent laws, prevention of corruption, and community participation through continuous education.

    "This has resulted in the virtual elimination of corruption from Hong Kong in less than 10 years. I am studying this example and its suitability for application in the Indian environment," he said, inaugurating the two-day 16th biennial conference of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the State Anti-Corruption Bureaux.

    "Dreadful malady"

    Terming corruption one of the most "dreadful maladies afflicting our society," Mr. Kalam said: "It should pain every citizen's heart when he reads his country's name included in the list of those blackened by the existence of this evil. Unfortunately, corruption has permeated all walks of life in our society, and what is more disconcerting is the fact that it does not seem to abate as the years go by, and worse still, to a large extent, it has been taken for granted as a fact of life.''

    Favouring e-governance for transparent administration, he said the police, land administration, special services, municipal services and income tax were found to be the key problem areas. Stressing the need for training personnel on the importance of providing hassle-free services, Mr. Kalam said they should become accountable for the services provided to the citizens and also be penalised for wrong decisions.

    Transparent society

    He said the components of a transparent society included corruption detection, fast police action, court proceedings with minimal adjournments, and fast judgments. "All these processes should be completed within a prescribed time frame, and all the pending cases in court, particularly pertaining to corruption, special crimes, and economic offences should be cleared in a time-bound manner by setting up more special courts throughout the country."

    Growth in the post-liberalisation period was slow. This could be attributed to the administrative system, the large accumulation of court cases, the number of government controls and the government-run economic activities.

    "In spite of severe constraints, our youth have excelled in the knowledge domain and shown phenomenal growth in the information, communication and technology sectors, employing over one million people, and have achieved the revenue target of $36 billion in 2005. This gives us an idea that wherever there is independence to perform, we have performed well whereas wherever we have created a large amount of dependency through complex policies, procedures and subsidies, our performance has been stunted and transparency diminishes," Mr. Kalam said.

    All-round reforms

    CBI Director Vijay Shanker said corruption could not be tackled through law enforcement alone. "We have to bring about all-round reforms in the areas of governance, industry, trade, education, services and formulate sound public policies."

    New threats

    Minister of State for Personnel Suresh Pachauri said technological advancements and reforms had spawned a whole new range of criminal acts. "New threats and new challenges call for redefining of strategies and methodologies. Continuous upgrading of investigative methods, tools and technologies is an absolute necessity."

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