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Corruption: An Imperceptible Issue Of Modern India

Even after 75 years of independence, India still struggles with or fails to address the growing corruption issue in the country. Corruption is a behaviour that is pervasive in the country's roots that allows people to accomplish tasks illegally or informally while also functioning as a step backward in the development or progress of the country. For emerging nations like India, the practice of corruption is considered an impediment and a significant hurdle to progress.

It is a difficult and demanding task to regulate or manage behaviour that is against the law in India since the country has a large and expanding population. Every developing or expanding country in the modern world deals with issues related to the corruption practices that are practiced there.

India is not the only country dealing with this issue. At first, the government significantly downplayed or ignored this issue because it believed that these corrupt practices wouldn't pose a serious threat to the country. However, after reviewing and closely examining these practices, the government realized that it should implement laws, policies, and regulations that are specifically structured to address the issue of corruption. Therefore, the government decided to create or organize laws, rules, and regulations that can significantly control the problem of corruption.

Understanding The Concept Of Corruption

"Corruption" is defined as "the unlawful use of governmental authority for private gain." Corruption is a practice that weakens the trust between two or more parties and misuse of this power destroys democracy. Furthermore, corruption can hinder a nation's potential to develop economically while escalating poverty and inequality.

To expose corruption and hold the dishonest responsible for creating a corrupt system, it is essential to understand how it functions. Its aftermath has a detrimental effect on the country's development and prevents the country from making methodical, ongoing progress.

Reason For Rising Corruption In India

  1. Government employee low pay scale - Due to the security of the jobs it offers and other perks, it provides to its employees, there is now a significant surge in demand for government jobs in India. There is an increasing need for government jobs as everyone is unable to find employment in the private sector due to the large and growing population. A candidate who diligently studies for a government job in India may be chosen, but he or she may not get any financial benefit from the labor-intensive preparation process. So, to get more money faster, he selects an immoral strategy.
  2. Lack of Accountability - A government employee is not required to report his or her duties, activities, or any work completed on a particular day. As a result, he believes that he is free to act in a way that violates morality or behavior. The government started keeping an eye on the criminal practice of corruption after several laws and regulations were passed.
  3. Lack of Stick and Fast Punishments - One of the most important aspects of working for the government is that employees are not subject to harsh penalties for engaging in corruption. If he is suspected of being involved in corruption, actions are taken against him that don't produce any results, and the employee is moved about or just suspended for a set amount of time.
  4. Greed and the desire to get wealthy overnight - One of the key factors contributing to the rise in corruption is the mentality of those employed in the public sector. Another motivation driving such horrible action is the urge and ambition to succeed and get wealthy.
  5. People's tolerance of corruption - In the modern world, when everyone is preoccupied with carrying out their daily tasks in the best and most efficient manner possible, nobody wants to waste their time on pointless pursuits that do not result in financial benefit. As a result, to complete their work quickly, they try to adopt dishonest techniques when they visit any government agency.

Implications Or Results Of Corruption

  1. Poor quality of services - If someone engages in corrupt behavior, the quality of services suffers significantly because they make no effort to provide services and do so in the simplest way possible, which lowers the standard of services that the government must uphold.
  2. Inadequate justice - Corruption in any department of the legal system or any department with the authority to offer essential services to the general public would have a significant negative impact on society.
  3. Low rate of economic growth - Any government employee's engagement will undoubtedly have an impact on the country's growth rate as it will impede the movement of money inside the economy. Money is being hoarded in the form of cash, assets, and stocks, and this directly inhibits the development of the country's economy.
  4. Low Foreign Direct Investment - Foreign investors will be reluctant to invest in a country if there is corruption in the government sector because they know that their money won't be used in the best and most efficient way possible.

History Of Corruption In India

Understanding India's history is necessary to comprehend the emergence of corruption in India as well as its impact on society as a whole. India was a developing nation when Britishers arrived in India. The East India Company brought the British to India, and throughout the years they realized that neither India's geography nor its cultures were uniform. An already varied region was further polarized by the combined effects of a change in emphasis from trade to territory and from business to political and military power, both of which were replete with private shareholder corruption.

After losing its capacity and might in the Second World War, and the challenges faced by the British Empire by the Indians and INC they departed India in 1947. After being ruled by the British for 200 years, it finally attained independence in 1947.

After India gained Independence the economy of India was shattered as there was a complete drain of wealth from India to the UK. When the elections were first time held in the year of 1951 Jawahar Lal Nehru was elected to be the Prime Minister of India. After seeing the pathetic and wretched condition of the economy of the nation he decided to ignore and not adopt the Western concept of Capitalism and adopted the socialist approach so that the poverty-stricken and impoverished condition of the citizen and nation can be progressed.

The setting up of the Socialist economy made the government control every sector which was impossible to maintain and deal with at the same time. This made the government sector inefficient and ineffective resulting in the slow growth rate of the nation. The reduced economic prospects were the effect of tighter government regulations. It was the time when India was facing the problem of a high level of widespread poverty which resulted in an increase in poverty and declined per capita income.

The low pay for public employees (such as government officials and police), increased working hours, pitiable working environment, bloated regulatory structure, convoluted tax and licensing laws, secretive bureaucracy, a lack of prospects, unchecked authority, a monopoly by the government, and an outdated legal system with translucent laws and procedures all served to exacerbate an already flawed and corrupt system.

According to the last report of the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index India stands out at the position of 85 out of 180 counties participating in the survey. These stats show how the nation is still affected by the corruption practices occurring throughout India.

Government Response

After seeing the condition of the nation the government decided to formulate and structure policies that should regulate the illicit and illegal practices of corruption in India. Many legislations were passed by the government in India and we will discuss some of the notable legislations passed by the Government.

Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988
To tackle corruption in Indian government organizations and public sector firms, the Indian Parliament passed the Prevention of Corruption Act, of 1988 (PCA, 1988)[i]. To make it easier to execute, the PCA 1988 has undergone several revisions. The Act particularly deals with the corruption practices by government officials while discharging their duty such as taking pleasure outside of what is required by law, taking pleasure with the intent to influence a public official via unethical or dishonest methods, taking pleasure to exert personal influence over a public official and Criminal behaviour by the public servant. The Act completely says by whom the cases are triable, and mentions the period within which proceedings should be completed, punishments, and all other relevant sections related to corruption.

Amendments of 2013
  1. Bribery was declared a criminal offense and the offense must be reported within 7 days to the law enforcement authority.
  2. If a case is handled by a special judge, the Trial Limit for cases under PCA was set at two years. It should only take four years to complete the experiment as a whole.
  3. The modified criminal misbehaviour law addressed two different sorts of offenses. Illegal enrichment, which is defined as accumulating money that is out of proportion to one's sources of income, and fraudulent property misappropriation are the offenses.

Amendments of 2018:
  1. Bribery is a particular and explicit offense.
  2. Anyone who accepts bribes faces a fine and a jail sentence of three to seven years.
  3. Bribe-givers may additionally face a fine and a sentence of up to 7 years in jail.
  4. In the case that the incident is reported to law enforcement within 7 days, the 2018 amendment adds a provision to safeguard persons who have been coerced to pay a bribe.
  5. It redefines criminal behavior to just include property theft and having an excessive amount of assets.
  6. By requiring that investigative agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation obtain prior clearance from a competent authority before starting an inquiry into them, it proposes a "shield" to protect government employees, including those who have retired, from punishment.
  7. However, it specifies that such authorizations are not required in situations when a person is immediately detained on suspicion of taking or attempting to accept an unfair benefit for himself or another person.
  8. The concept of "undue advantage" must be proven in every case of corruption involving a public employee.
  9. Within two years, the trial in instances involving the payment of bribes and corruption must be concluded. Furthermore, the trial cannot be longer than four years, even with justifiable delays.
  10. It includes the potential for business organizations that provide bribes to face sanctions or legal action. However, they don't apply to nonprofit organizations.
  11. It outlines the authority and processes for seizing and forfeiting the property of a public official suspected of corruption.

Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act, 1988
The Act was particularly set up to control the unlawful transfer of property which is owned by or given to a person, yet it was paid for or provided by another person. The owner of the property denies knowledge of its ownership, the transaction is performed in a false name, and the individual considering the property cannot be located.

If a person is found guilty of the Benami transaction offense by the appropriate court, they will be sentenced to a term of harsh imprisonment that must not be less than one year but may not exceed seven years.

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2003
The Act was passed to control unlawful funds, sometimes known as black money, to be covered up with legal currency before being misrepresented as white currency. The money is sent through many routes to achieve this. To generate a false sense of legitimacy, the money is transferred via several conversion and transfer processes.

Any person who violates Section 4 of the PMLA[ii] and is found guilty of money laundering is subject to a sentence of harsh imprisonment for up to three years, which may be increased to seven years, as well as a fine.

Commission Set Up The Government

  1. Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003
    The Central Vigilance Commission is the leading vigilance organization and is independent of all executive authorities. It is responsible for supervising all vigilance activity conducted by the Central Government and providing guidance to various authorities within Central Government organizations on how to plan, carry out, evaluate, and reform their vigilance work. There is no Ministry or Department in charge of the CVC. It is a separate entity with just the Parliament as its primary accountability.

    It is not a law enforcement organization. Either the CBI or chief vigilance officers (CVO) at government offices handle the investigation for the CVC.

    The CVC Act, 2003[iii] has been changed by Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, giving the Commission the authority to investigate complaints that Lokpal has sent.

    Structure of CVC

    A central vigilance commissioner serves as the chair of a multi-member commission, which can have up to two other vigilance commissioners as members.

    The Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners have a four-year tenure starting on the day they take office and ending when they turn 65, whichever comes first.
  2. Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013
    This Act formed a committee with the motive of resolving the corruption at centre and state levels. Before the formation of the committee corruption cases were dealt with under the guidance of the CBI but after seeing the condition and justice provided by CBI the government decided to set up a separate committee that would specifically deal with the cases of corruption. This led to the passing of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013 for better governance of the illicit practices occurring in India.

Structure of the Committee

The Lokpal is a multi-member body with a maximum of 8 members and a chairperson. The former Chief Justice of India, a former Supreme Court judge, or a distinguished individual with unwavering integrity and exceptional talent should serve as the Lokpal's chair. They should also have at least 25 years of experience in the fields of law, management, insurance, banking, and anti-corruption policy.

The non-judicial member should be a distinguished individual with unblemished integrity and exceptional talent who has at least 25 years of experience in the fields of anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, and finance, including insurance and banking, law, and management. The chairman and members of the Lokpal have a five-year tenure in office, or until they turn 70.

Integrity, openness, and the struggle against corruption must be ingrained in the culture. They need to be viewed as the guiding principles of the society we live in. Corruption shouldn't be viewed as a cancer that needs to be eradicated from stem to stern right now.

An effective strategy would be to treat it as an obsession. An issue that is approached gradually will result in more realistic goals being set and a quicker resolution. People need to understand that the system is changeable. There must be ongoing inspections regarding corrupt practices in order to make Indian system more productive and efficient.

  1. Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (Act No 49 of 1988)
  2. The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2003 (Act No 15 of 2003)
  3. Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 (Act No 45 of 2003)

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