Major reasons for corruption to flourish are public apathy and ignorance
We do have laws against the menace of corruption. We have some institutions to fight it like the Vigilance Organisation, Crime Branch and Courts. However, instead of a decline, we see a steady growth of corruption in the institutions of the State of Jammu Kashmir.
National Crime Records Bureau data places Jammu Kashmir at the second place in the corruption index.
According to the data released by the Jammu Kashmir State Vigilance Organizationfrom 2013 about 172 cases of FIR were registered and 151 cases are still under investigation with no conclusion and cases are going at low speed and many are awaiting justice.
In about 95 percent cases, complaints were filed against low rank officials for their getting bribe of Rs 1000 to Rs 5000.Not a single case was filed against top ranking officials who have been corrupting the system.A big reason is power of the official.
Agreed that the state is not the worst case as corruption exists everywhere around the world. For corruption to flourish, two big requirements are a willingness of an individual to accept a gratification and the possession of some powers by the individual to attract people.
An example, a revenue official is the custodian of land records of people. The official can do havoc with the records. He/she in order to deliver service to people can easily accept gratification from them.
Major reasons for corruption to flourish are public apathy and ignorance. Under apathy, people show no zeal in stopping this social menace. It seems that they have accepted as a harmless part of life.
Under ignorance, people hardly understand the impact of corruption on their economy, progress and prosperity.
As a result, corruption gains social sanction only to push them into further trouble. Corruption leads to poor economy. Poor economy leads to weak institutions. Weak institutions lead to low or no accountability of officials. Consequently, poverty prevails.
The most unfortunate aspect of corruption is that the people who indulge in corrupt practices point fingers at others, forgetting that they themselves have dirty hands. A pot calls a kettle black.
Unfortunately, in most cases, the anti-corruption departments are the hot beds of corruption. If they are free of corruption, political interference comes in not only to protect the corrupt but to indirectly encourage corruption by shielding the corrupt.
Sometimes, the departments catch the small fish in the sea of corruption just to send a signal that they work freely and honestly. Interestingly from the net, the big fish are conveniently dropped or are allowed to slip through. If caught, the big fish get off lightly.
It must be admitted that no government office can claim transparency and clean handedness in respect of corruption in the state. Corruption takes place in different forms here. The forms include cheating, dishonesty, bribery, favouritism, nepotism, cronyism, blackmail, dereliction of duty and delay in the delivery of service. The list is long.
The evil practice is so deep and wide spread that we see it everywhere in one or the other form. Common people also enjoy it. For example, no labourer, no mason (state or non-state subject) starts a piece of job without saying “bismillah”.
By Bismillah, they mean some hundred rupee notes in addition to their usual wages. Some call it a “khushi” (joy). Sadly, you cannot deny it because that will label you a cheap fellow! On the other hand, if you provide all sorts of comforts to these manual workers, you are not generous: you still are a miser.
To stop corruption, various commissions and committees have been used. But all in vain. The manner and speed of working of these bodies are never effective. Even if they may possess judicial and action taking powers, the cases under them consume a lot of time and energy. People are sick of them.
The successive governments have talked enough against corruption both before and after the elections. In fact, taking on the corrupt people, remains a pet issue of their campaigning. In power, some political parties try to stop the corrupt hands.
The coalition government of BJP and PDP under late CM Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, showed an exit door to about 60 corrupt officials. However, then the good work stopped somewhere.
Sitting in cosy and air condition chambers, condemning corruption will not help. In fact, such an attitude at the official level encourages corrupt practices. That we see in everyday life.
Under this and that excuse, the public funds are spent to please those in authority. The influential and the moneyed people are getting benefits as they demand.
With political interference away right now, it is a big responsibility of the governor administration to deliver well. A delay and blame game will mean inability or unwillingness or denial.
Whatever good the government may do for people, it will not happen so long as the corrupt hands are in the way. When private interests influence public affairs, progress slows and corruption grows.
A detailed study by experts on corruption, its causes, its effects and its possible elimination is worth to note. The experts have noted these causes of corruption: low pay, low job opportunities, no strict, proper and fast punishment, no public unity, no transparency in affairs and deals, no independent and trustworthy investigating hands, no accountability of the executing hands in the government.
All these things are present in Jammu Kashmir. To remove them is a difficult task for government. Corruption is a deadly social disease and its elimination needs a social cooperation. Just blaming this or that person is an escape from the responsibility.
Though corruption affects the entire society, it is the lower class people who suffer the most. An ordinary citizen suffer. They work always to feed and educate their children. If the children get a degree or two, they do not get a job because they lack resources to finance the corrupt authorities. We have over six lakh educated unemployed people. Most of them because of corrupt officials.
The Right to Information act can prove very effective in stopping corruption. However, that needs support from media, government and judiciary. Even CCTV cameras can prove useful.
People with a spirit of dedication should come forward to replace the unclean admistrators for a cleaner administration. Someone has rightly said that not coming forward keeps us backward.
And then, the function of politicians and officials should be separated. If they do their respective jobs without interference, corruption may begin to reduce.
Most importantly, both the state and society need to cooperate to end corruption. If they take on it separately, they may end up in chaos and confusion.