Vol: 47 No: 01
15 August 2000
The 1993 Bombay blasts resulted in 300 innocent people losing their lives and that was made possible because RDX was smuggled by bribing certain Customs officials for 20 lakhs of rupees. Corruption therefore is anti-national.
The Prime Minister, in his address to the nation on 16th October 1999, called for zero tolerance to corruption. As the Central Vigilance Commissioner, it is my responsibility to ensure that this mission of the PM is translated into reality. I prepared a paper called Towards Zero Tolerance to Corruption where I have analysed the state of corruption in India today and indicated steps by which corruption can be fought.
The approach to corruption-free service is to draw a lesson from Gandhiji’s Salt Satyagraha. Gandhiji identified that salt was a common man’s requirement and it should not be taxed. He led the fight against the British with that focus on salt in 1930.
So far the approach to corruption including even the Prevention of Corruption Act, has been that corruption is misuse of public office for private profit. But in the context of consumer protection movement and deriving our inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi, why not we say that corruption is in a way violation of the fundamental rights of every Indian citizen who has a right to get corruption-free service from every Government organisation, department, ministry, public sector undertaking or public sector bank?
Most important element in fighting corruption is effective corruption punishment. Our judicial system is such that the punishment is only six per cent and therefore when we pursue the case in the court, though we are continuously chasing with the concerned court, we will have to think an alternative method by which the effective punishment can be achieved.
My dream is that India must become an economic super power and this century must become the Indian century. We cannot achieve it unless we are able to overcome the AIDS of the body politic, which is corruption.
15 August 2000
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