Pervasive corruption tarnishing India's image: PM
Wednesday, 26 August 2009, 10:18 Hrs | 11 Comments
"The urgent need to combat this menace cannot be over emphasized. Corruption distorts the rule of law and weakens institutions. It hurts our economic growth in a variety of ways, apart from hindering our efforts to build a just, fair and equitable society," the prime minister said at the biennial conference of the Central Bureau of Investigation and its anti-corruption bureau.
"The poor are disproportionately hurt because of corruption. We have some of the most ambitious and wide ranging programmes in place to help the poor and the deprived sections of the society," he said referring to the grand social sector programmes costing millions of rupees.
"However, there is a constant refrain in public discourse that much of what the government provides never reaches the intended beneficiaries -- whether it is subsidized foodgrains for the poor, loans, fertilizers or seeds on concessional terms for small and marginal farmers or the benefit of employment programmes for the unemployed," he added.
"This should be a matter of serious concern for all of us collectively."
In an impassioned speech that delved extensively on corruption, Manmohan Singh underlined a multi-pronged approach for fighting sleaze.
While maintaining that the country was commended for its secular values, independent judiciary, a free press and the pursuit of inclusive growth, Manmohan Singh said: "Pervasive corruption in our country tarnishes our image".
"It also discourages investors, who expect fair treatment and transparent dealings. As the country grows and integrates with the world economy, corruption continues to be an impediment to harnessing the best of technology and resources.
"The malaise of corruption, so sapping our efforts to march ahead as a nation, should be treated immediately and effectively. And all of you present here today can contribute substantially in this war against corruption," he said.
Highlighting a roadmap for weeding out corruption, the prime minister said the battle had to be fought at many levels and called for systemic improvement.
"The design of development programmes should provide for more transparency and accountability. Systems and procedures which are opaque, complicated, centralized and discretionary are a fertile breeding ground for the evil of corruption," he said.
The prime minister exhorted CBI officers to pursue high-level corruption aggressively and urged them not to let "the big fish" get away easily.
"There is a pervasive feeling that while petty cases get tackled quickly, the big fish escape punishment. This has to change. Rapid, fair and accurate investigation of allegations of corruption in high places should remain your utmost priority."
Pointing out that people reposed immense trust in the CBI, especially when big crimes take place, the prime minister also pointed to the partiality of the investigating agency on some occasions.
"I would say that the people have great faith and expectations from you. This is evident from the frequent public demand for a CBI investigation especially when a serious crime takes place. I urge the officers of the CBI to do their utmost to live up to this expectation. There have been occasions in the recent past when the conduct of the bureau has come in for severe public criticism," he said.
"I would like the CBI to have a critical look at itself and introspect deeply with an end to further improve its functioning."
Post your Comment
All form fields are required.