Corruption and lokpal

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  • Why this classification? In some cases, bribe giver is the victim and in some cases an active participant in the crime
  • It took me some time to realize that having the longest constitution in the world was not a matter of pride. It was a matter of concern.The NPC suggested a model act in 1981 which has not been implemented by any State
  • In UttamNakate case, the Bombay High Court held that dismissing an employee for repeated sleeping on the factory floor was illegal - a decision which was overturned by the Supreme Court of India. Moreover, it took two decades to complete the legal process
  • If an bureaucrat by his/her action or inaction has caused loss to an Individual or business, there is no compensation. Say a false allegation is made, you fight and clear the allegation, causing huge losses. No compensation is paid, nor any action is taken against bureaucrat responsible
  • Ministers control transfers within Government departments and even PSU’s right upto middle and even junior levels. No fixed tenure for any officer. No reason has to be given for any transfer. Many obscure, powerless punishment postings are available for inconvenient bureaucrats
  • Public servants cannot be prosecuted without the sanction of the respective governments.
  • Deemed approval if not acted upon in a specified time frame.
  • Al Capone notorious Gangster was convicted for Tax evasion. Tax evasion, unaccounted wealth is far easier to prove than corruption.
  • ICAC transformed Hong Kong from a graft ridden city to one of the cleanest in the world
  • Currently complaints against Lower bureaucracy go to the departmental head of the same department for internal enquiry which is largely a sham. Appeals can go to Public Grievances Committee at State Capitals. As per government lower Bureaucracy corruption will be go to CVC which is government controlled rather than Lokpal
  • Inclusion of NGO’s is a deliberate attempt to try and muzzle NGOs which have been at forefront of anti corruption or other anti government protests. Lokpal cannot do everything, But, Whistleblower protection and rewards is critical to conviction of the corrupt. Lokpal as investigator and prosecutor should have a way of protecting its witnesses. Govt proposes to give power to CVC
  • While there is strong need to have good Lok Ayukta’s at state level, the constitution makes it difficult to push a central law onto the states, so state assembly has to pass its only laws.

Transcript

  • 1. + Corruption and Lokpal Nishant Priyadarshi Co-Founder & Director VistaMind
  • 2. + Corruption  Misuse of official position for personal gain  Types of Corruption  Toll Tax  Government services and benefits  Example: Approvals, Pensions, Welfare benefits  Protection from Law  Evasion of civil and criminal penalties  Traffic violations, Tax fraud, Drug trafficking etc  Undue benefits  Special licenses, allocation of resources, contracts etc  Jobs  Diversion of welfare benefits  Subsidies and government schemes  Development and infrastructure work
  • 3. + Politician Bureaucrat Nexus  Political parties  Massive fund requirements  Cadre, Infrastructure and Events  Election campaigning expenses  Donations – Non transparent
  • 4. + Politician Bureaucrat Nexus  Bureaucrats  Have realized the financial impact of their powers  Active partners in Political corruption  Thorough knowledge of policies and rules  Relatively underpaid  Advance premium – Selections and postings
  • 5. + Laws and Policies  Over regulated country  Too many laws  Complex and Often ambiguous  Left open for Bureaucratic interpretation  Review of Administrative laws  Recommended repeal of 1382 out of 2500 laws  Only 33 laws repealed so far  Old and outdated  Police Act 1861  National Police commission model act 1981
  • 6. + Laws and Policies  Telecom Industry is governed by  Indian Telegraph act 1885  Indian wireless telegraphy act 1938  Labor Law  55 Central laws and 100 State labor laws  Workmen’s Compensation act 1923  Trade Unions act 1926
  • 7. + Discretionary Power  Unduly favor a particular person/Entity  Vaguely defined – “In public interest”  No accountability  No time frame on decision making  Protection/Immunity from prosecution  No Compensation to affected parties  Acts of omission/commission
  • 8. + Opportunities for Corruption  Want to set up a Mfg Unit  Need 48 Licenses/Permits/Clearances  48 opportunities for corruption  No specified time frame for these Licenses  Index of Economic Freedom  India ranked 119 Between Malawi and Nigeria  173/185 Ease of starting a business (World Bank)
  • 9. + No Executive Independence  Political control of bureaucracy  Appointments and transfers  Appraisals & Promotions  Interference in all aspects of Administration  Recruitment and postings  Implementation of laws  Allocation of contracts etc
  • 10. + Scale of Corruption  Transparency International 2012  72 out of 180 countries  Perception is bad for Foreign Trade & Investment  Areas of Max corruption  Government Procurement – Defense, etc  Allocation of Natural resources  Implementation of Welfare Schemes  Police and Justice system
  • 11. + Bureaucrat’s Dilemma  No Reward for honesty and Diligence  Transfers to insignificant postings  Denial of promotions to Senior positions  No punishment for corruption  Very few have been convicted so far  Sanction for prosecution shields the corrupt  Central government sitting on 236 requests  Over 66% pending for over 3 months  Appeals and Stay orders add further delay
  • 12. + Big carrot & Invisible stick  Central Vigilance Commission  13061 cases given departmental penalties (94%)  846 Cases given sanction for prosecution  4895 cases of Major penalties  Dismissal, loss of rank, reduction in pension  Minor punishments for rest of them  Censure, Transfers etc  Slow Judiciary  50% of CBI cases pending for > 5 Years  23% pending for > 10 Years
  • 13. + A sense of despair  Endemic Corruption  A resigned acceptance  Belief that corruption cannot be ended  Highest level to petty corruption  Middle class distrust of politics  Apathy on voting day  Discouraged from entering political fray  Believes all Parties and all politicians to be corrupt
  • 14. + What can be done?  It is fight worth fighting and can be won  Revamp laws to reduce ambiguity  Simple laws creating a level playing field  No Discretionary power  Simplify complex procedures, scrap inessential  Create bureaucratic accountability  Targets, Incentives and punishments  Clear Time frames for procedures  Penalties for non performance  Reduce government interface  Automate processes, take online
  • 15. + Administrative Reforms  Free Executive from Legislature  Time bound tenure, no arbitrary transfers  Close down/downgrade punishment posts  Ministers limited to policy making and review  Police reforms - Accountability  Low conviction rates, False cases & Wrongful arrests, neglect of duty, etc  To be investigated by a independent special police  Reporting to judiciary
  • 16. + Reform Judicial system  Independence for CBI/CVC and Lokpal  Set up special anti corruption fast track courts  Target higher Conviction rates  Target black money  Provide whistle blower protection  Reward people who expose corruption  Witness protection program
  • 17. + Lokpal  Is no magic bullet  Part of a comprehensive solution  An Ombudsman for complaints of corruption  Independence from Politicians/Executive  Appointment, supervision and removal  Specific to government corruption  Should not extend to Pvt sector, NGO’s  Powers to investigate and prosecute  Cases tried in special courts
  • 18. + Lokpal  Pending since 1968  Bill Introduced 8 earlier times  Jan Lokpal  Inspired by ICAC Hong Kong  Drafted by IAC through public consultations  Public agitation led by Anna Hazare  All powerful body with concentrated powers  Legislature, Executive and Judiciary under ambit
  • 19. + Key Differences  Immunity for PM  Prosecution after PM demits office  Exclusion of Judiciary  To be covered under Judicial Accountability bill  Exclusion of MPs for acts inside parliament  To be dealt with by the speaker  Exclusion of lower bureaucracy  Only Senior officers included
  • 20. + Key Differences  Exclusion of NGO’s  Included in government bill  Protection of whistleblowers  Under separate bill  Bringing CBI and CVC under Lokpal  CBI reports to Lokpal on corruption cases  No independent investigative/prosecutor powers
  • 21. + Key Differences  Appointment & Removal of Lokpal  Government controls 3/5  PM, Speaker, Presidents Nominee  Leader of Opposition and CJI or nominee  Jan Lokpal proposes CVC, CEC, CAG etc  7 member search committee Govt controlled  Government can suspend, move Supreme court for removal
  • 22. + Key Differences  Dismissal of public servant  Decision taking by Minister  Advise of Lokpal not binding  Lok Ayuktas  To be set up by the states  Other Points  Old cases kept out of Lokpal purview  Prosecution controlled by Government
  • 23. + Success of ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption)  Three pronged strategy  Deterrence, prevention and education  Enforcement Led  Professional Staff  Effective strategies for deterrence, prevention and education  Adequate Law  Review Mechanism
  • 24. + Success of ICAC…  Equal emphasis on public and private sector corruption  Partnership approach  Top political will, independence and adequate resources
  • 25. + Thank You !!