Renthungo C Humtsoe
Assistant professor, St. Joseph’s College Jakhama
Corruption is one of the biggest threats to the well being of our society. Corruption degrades the quality of the services and ruins the life of the common man. We are all aware of the term corruption and have had lot of discussion on how to control it. It may need defined as the misuse of the public office for one’s own advantages or for the purpose of any other illegal benefits by a public servant.
According to sec. 2 (C) (VII) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, a public servant is “any person who hold an office by virtue of which he is authorised or required to performed any public duty.” But in reality this has been seen to be abused in all departments in our state. Every person has their own dignity and Fundamental Rights. Corruption also affects the Fundamental Rights. How? It has been seen that any citizen fears to go to the police station even when their rights is violated. Why?? Because they do not want a series of questioning of the police and they know how rich and influential person are favoured etc… Etc.
As per Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 Sec. 13 (1) D (ii) of Prevention of corruption Act “And public servant is said to commit the offence of criminal misconduct, if he, by abusing his position as a public servant, obtains for himself or for any other person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage.” This seems to be omnipresent be it in police department, medical, education or in all government departments and even in Judiciary.
To my observation of our present society, the following factors are found responsible for the rise of corruption in our State.
1. Low pay/wages scales in public and private sector
Most of the employees in public and private sector are paid low wages and salaries. Hence, some employees revert to corruption for more financial Benefits. The III and IV grade employees in almost Government Departments are underpaid. The case is same with private employees.
2. Unemployment/low job opportunities
One major causes of corruption is unemployment. Due to lack of job opportunities at will there are many people who like to go for corruption made to get the job offer. They will be ready to sale their property or take loan with high interest to pay lump amount for the job offered to the higher department officials or politicians.
3. Lack of strict and fast punishment agency
Even if some are found guilty or even caught red-handed by people or media, the convict get less or liberal punishment. First they will be suspended for few days or weeks or even a month and reposted to another location with same job grade and pay. So this means the officials who did the corrupt practice is given a free license to continue his corrupt practice.
If the government is so strict that any such corrupt incidents will lead to permanent removal from job and also punishment like several years imprisonment then, the corruption will come down to a large extent.
4. Lack of ill fame
If a person is found to be corrupt or has done some unacceptable misconduct, he or she has to be avoided and not be respected. But in present context of our society such a corrupt people are considered as Smart, Efficient and Capable. And so they are the most respected and deserving people in our church, departments or in any public domain.
5. Lack of unity among the people/public
Public openly criticize corruption but interestingly there is none Unity among the people to stop corruption. If a person wants to get his work done, he gets it done by corruption means if Possible and then later criticises the corrupt officials. If the public stands United against corruption in such is a way that no one is ready to offer bribes to get their work done, and then the corrupt office also would have no other option but to work in corruption free manner.
6. No independent detective agency in the State
Nagaland state has no independent detective agency which can investigate with full power and freedom to expose the corrupt individuals. The Vigilance Commission exists for namesake, if not acts as a Parrot which indicates how free these agencies to work. Hence, anyone who commits offences will be so afraid of the investigation as they can escape from it by taking help of higher ups- officials or Politicians.
7. Lack of transparency and professional accountability
In government there is a big trend of corruption. This is because of lack of transparency and accountability. The employees in government offices do not perform to their par- excellence. If they received 100 files to be cleared in a week, they may not even clear 50 or 25 of them in that week. They tend to postpone the clearance of the files. So those who are in urgency of the clearance have to get them done by rewarding /bribes the officials involved in the clearance office. This lack of accountability government office is chief cause of corruption.
8. Encouragement of unhealthy competition
Competition in business is a good sign for quality of services to be delivered but in Nagaland there is encouragement of unhealthy competition. When there is a tender, you can notice that only few contractors Bid for it. This is because the contractor having political relations have higher chances of winning while others do not. Therefore, contractors or firm with no political backing or influence will not bid for the tender, in spite of being an efficient and techno-how.
If these causes of Corruption have to be eliminated for better and just growth of the state, we should be Honest ourselves. If each of us is honest towards our professions, we need to pay attention towards professional accountability i.e. how much we are faithful and truthful towards our profession. Corruption may be controlled to a great extent if the government handles carefully and strictly the five major professions: 1. Education 2. Medical 3. Revenue 4. Police & 5. Judiciary.
“Corruption is measured not just in the billions of dollars of squandered of stolen government resources, but most Poignantly in the absence of the Hospital, Schools, Clean water, roads and Bridges that would have changed families and communities,” Ban Ki Moon.