War against corruption
Corruption is the menace that hampers the progress and development of any society in the world. When the corrupt practices become a normal, the society as a whole is destined to fail economically and rot morally. Deserving get neglected and those not deserving are benefitted thus disturbing the equilibrium of the society. Corruption breeds injustice and injustices triggers unrest which in no way is good for any healthy society. This menace, unfortunately is wide-spread all over the country, Jammu and Kashmir being no exception. In this backdrop, the decision of the UT administration to observe 5th August as “Day of Resolution for Freedom from Corruption” in Jammu and Kashmir every year is a welcome development. The General Administration Department (GAD) has issued an order in this regard saying that 5th of August every year shall be celebrated as “Day of Resolution for Freedom from Corruption” in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the occasion shall be marked with pledge taking ceremonies in all public offices wherein all employees shall take an oath for eradicating corruption from public life and offices while as the week following 5th of August, every year shall be celebrated as “Vigilance Awareness Week” by conducting seminars and workshops on initiatives undertaken by various offices/officers/institutions with regard to eradicating corruption and increasing public accountability and service delivery, besides promotion of activities related to digital governance and reduction of human interface in delivery of public services. The order read that the IEC activities on increasing accountability and transparency in public offices shall also be conducted at all District/HoD/Administrative offices during the celebrations. The government has also decided that on the occasion, employees who have made remarkable contributions in eradication of corruption for the preceding years shall be felicitated and awarded.
The decision made by the government is praiseworthy but there will always remain some ifs and buts which the administration needs to take care of. Corruption has all along been rampant in Jammu and Kashmir, so rampant that unfortunately it has, by and large been accepted by the populace as something inevitable. This acceptance has, in a way, provided a social sanctity to this menace. Gone are the days that arrest of any government official on the charges of corruption would shake people and arrested would feel the shame of public rejection. The situation has reached a stage where the most corrupt are the most respected ones. It feels good to read that the UT administration has made such major decisions to curb the menace but goes without saying that the task is not so easy. The main organization that deals with the menace – Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) – needs to be strengthened. The administration should identify the upright and honest officials with integrity to run this organization. The administrations needs to have ample circles of checks and balances to ensure the organization that is assigned to fight corruption, doesn’t have any scope for any corrupt practices within.
Secondly, corruption is a disease that needs to be tackled from the top. Targeting small fries is not going to make any huge difference. Yes, it may help the administrations PR exercise a bit but will not help fighting the corruption. Need is to widen the dragnet and catch the sharks who actually are the main culprits and use the small fry to do their dirty job. That said, the society, as a whole, should raise its voice against corruption in public life and offices. The religious leaders during Friday prayer sermons should talk about these kind of issues and make people aware that how Islam looks down upon corruption and the corrupt.