EDITORIAL

Good beginning

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Well done. The government’s decision to sack over a hundred odd people who had allegedly made it to the jobs in KVIB through backdoor is a welcome development. It must be appreciated, at least for encouraging the government to continue this drive, which holds, for sure, some promise of delivering this state from the wicked clutches of institutional and officially patronized corruption. If the initiative is continued, one is sure that thousands of more officers and officials, who have made it to lucrative government jobs riding on their political connections with the high and mighty, or by paying their way to the top, will have to go who.

The policy could deliver desired results for two reasons. One, the unscrupulous and corrupt functionaries will know for sure that their sleazy and depraved practices won’t go unnoticed and unaccounted for. If caught they will have to face axe. Another major deterrent could be the ‘naming and blaming’ part of the initiative.

Unfortunate though that Jammu and Kashmir is yet to censure and denounce corruption as an unaccepted and immoral practice, but it also goes without saying that facing unceremonious and scornful exit from government service is not going to win badges of appreciation and achievement for the recipient, or for their mentors in the politics and bureaucracy. Those who are forced to say good-bye to their official positions and status for the sheer reason of their wrong-doings are not going to claim societal sympathy. This could prove a far more effective consideration and would certainly be of great help. However, the condition is that the government will have to sincerely sustain the initiative and ensure that it is not abused as a ploy for witch-hunting.

Jammu and Kashmir besides all other ills to its credit, has continued with the dubious distinction of being one of the most corrupt states in the entire subcontinent. Although successive governments have all along made many boastful claims of weeding out corruption, but thus far, practically speaking, nothing much has been done in this direction. Instead every single political dispensation here has brazenly violated the rules and norms to benefit their kin as also others who they wanted to. So the only inference one could deduce is that the governments themselves have not really been serious in their so-called fight against corruption. No wonder then that the corruption has been institutionalized here over the years under the visibly overt patronage of the political executive.

Taking this as hindsight, one is not sure if the latest initiative of forcing the unscrupulous to go home will continue for long, although it must and it should if the state has to progress and prosper and break loose from the conflict trap it has been caught up in for too long now.

No anti-corruption initiative is going to sustain for long leave aside it bearing fruit unless and until the higher echelons of politics and bureaucracy too are cleaned up. Success of any anti-corruption drive, as the common sense suggests, is embedded in its top-down orientation. Transparency and accountability have to percolate from top towards the bottom of the political and official hierarchy. One could expect the lower-rung politics and bureaucracy to be clean only if honesty is conspicuous at the top. But as of now, as the countless incidents involving senior government functionaries -– unprincipled practices springing from the politico-bureaucratic nexus -- the scenario at the top of the hierarchical ladder is far from being hopeful or encouraging. It is essential that the resolve of weeding out corrupt is not confined to the lower-rung officialdom alone. Today the state of Jammu and Kashmir is in dire need of examples and role-models. Honesty and sincerity has not been able to provide us same. So why not make an example out of those who are available – the corrupt and the crooked! Once a few big sharks of corruption from both politics and senior bureaucracy are caught and meted out the kind of punishments as deserved by their misdeeds, it would automatically make them into examples for others to draw necessary inferences from and learn important lessons.

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