Empower anti-graft bodies

Published at September 05, 2018 12:33 AM 0Comment(s)2733views

Empower anti-graft bodies

With the growing number of complaints and allegations against various government departments and state institutions, there is a need to take stock of the existing mechanisms, laws and the enforcement agencies that are meant to get rid of the graft cases in a speedy manner. Transparency and accountability have hit the bottom with different anti-graft bodies suffering from inherent weaknesses. As has been observed in the past, the institutions on which was fixed the responsibility of ensuring accountability and transparency, functioned as headless for a long time and therefore headed in no definite direction. In an institution like the State Accountability Commission, it was the government itself that put the shackles and limited the scope of its powers. The fate of State Information Commission and Right to Information also seems to be sealed as departments have been discouraging the applications on one pretext or the other. The government in the last few years has not tried to empower the anti-graft bodies or even grant them enough freedom so that political pressures do not apply or affect their functioning. Recently, the vigilance inquired about the assets of a top official and the news was widely circulated through local press and social media. Yesterday the vigilance lodged an FIR against revenue officials in Kishtwar district. But in a year how many cases are investigated, especially in the backdrop of mounting allegations against both officials and legislators for amassing wealth and assets. While the government action can offer some relief, there is a need to evaluate the deterrent value due to the existing institutional remedies. More stringent laws are perhaps needed to nip the corruption in the bud. Governments come and go, hold sessions and legislators tend to behave more clerical than visionaries by giving details and accounts of all that is achieved in any year or during the term. Reforms in the governance are very much needed. To prevent the state from slipping further on the corruption index, more robust anti-graft institutions must either replace the existing ones or complement them. It is time the state improves its grade and set new benchmark in governance. If the elected government couldn’t ensure it, Governor SP Malik must ensure that reforms in the governance, particularly those that can improve transparency and accountability, are at least initiated.                       


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