Involving citizens in fight against corruption

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While asserting to end the culture of corruption in Jammu and Kashmir, the UT government, the other day called for “discouraging the culture of anonymous or pseudonymous complaints” and issued a slew of instructions for lodging and disposal of the complaints against a public servant. In a circular issued about the subject, the government said that in order to eradicate corruption for providing robust service delivery mechanism and increase participation of citizens in governance at various levels, citizens can draw attention of appropriate authority by making formal complaints regarding any action/inaction on part of public servant in writing or through other specified means for which complaint redressal mechanism has already been put in place in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The circular however reiterated that anonymous or pseudonymous complaints or complaints “containing vague, frivolous, non-specific allegations should not be taken cognizance of”.

The guidelines made public are very important as the culture of anonymous complainants impact the seriousness of the 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. The UT administration has been, time and again, asserting that it has waged a full-fledged war against corruption 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.

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