Planning Commission to work on mechanism to prevent corruption

MUMBAI, January 2 (PTI): In the season of scams, the Planning Commission is mulling to place some intervention mechanisms in the upcoming 12th Plan to help enable transparent functioning of the government machinery, its Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has said. “I think we will be looking at that (corruption arising from arbitrary decisions of Government machinery) at the Planning Commission…what are the systemic interventions or restructurings that would make Government decision-making much more transparent,” Ahluwalia said at a public lecture here recently.
“Too often the government has too much discretionary powers that leads to scams and corruption,” he pointed out. He said people are “getting away with huge unfair advantage” and described the problem (corruption) as a “legitimate issue” in public economics which is a “not so nice side effect” of the de-regulation process. “How do you make sure that you transit to a market-based, much more liberal economy…an economy which cannot be manipulated,” Ahluwalia asked.
The malaise, Ahluwalia said, is “the non-transparent access to preferential decision-making” and added that the phenomenon is widely observed in real estate deals, selection of infrastructure contractors and mining licences, while urban land deals being the biggest problem. Ahluwalia’s comments come in the wake of Rs 1.76-lakh 2G spectrum scam which led to the resignation of telecom minister A Raja last month and the debate over Nira Radia tapes which point to how corporate lobbyist are having a field day at the corridors of power and thus getting favourable policy decisions, courtesy arbitrary functioning of the certain wings of the official machinery.
It is alleged that during allotment of 2G spectrum in 2008, the telecom ministry shifted goal posts and went by an old policy resulting in revenue losses of over Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the national exchequer. The case is being monitored by the Supreme Court. Similarly, the Adarsh housing scam in Mumbai exposed how some public officials allegedly made their way through a system in connivance to construct a high-rise on defence land in the plush south Mumbai area. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had to resign as a fallout of the scam.