Herald News

Is the common man not responsible for corruption?

16 May 2017 04:23am IST
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16 May 2017 04:23am IST

Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte and the current government are making strong efforts to implement the Goa (Right of Citizens to Time-bound Delivery of Public Services) Act, 2013 – following legislation by the Centre – in a bid to deliver public services in a time bound, decentralized and citizen friendly manner.

Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte and the current government are making strong efforts to implement the Goa (Right of Citizens to Time-bound Delivery of Public Services) Act, 2013 – following legislation by the Centre – in a bid to deliver public services in a time bound, decentralized and citizen friendly manner. This, the minister says, will eliminate corruption in government departments to a large extent. 

The law, that would have given citizens legal entitlement to get government to deliver on time, thus bringing in vigilance, has till date failed to bring even one service under it. The Act is landmark legislation for Goa as it not only promises to provide citizens with time-bound services from government departments and public authorities, but will come down hard on government officials failing to meet the requirements.

However, the irony is, except for the Revenue Department – that is gearing up to launch the concept this week – other departments dealing with different public services like the Town & Country Planning, Transport, Tourism, Municipal Councils, Electricity, Public Works Department, etc are  yet to get moving on it. While some departments ensure delivery of efficient public service, albeit partially; they have largely failed to fully implement the Act.

But what has led to delay in implementation of this Act so far? The Laxmikant Parsekar government made no efforts to implement the same. So one assumes it suits the politicians and bureaucrats equally to not have such an act. However, the question arises, how many anti-corruption crusaders have spoken or complained against this government attitude? Also, when the Act already exists, why has the general public not questioned it not being implemented for the last four years?

Is it only because we all want our works to be done without any hassle – by paying bribes? If we do not pay bribes, government employees, politicians would be forced to do the work they are paid for through our taxes, without expecting anything in return. But the general perception is that most politicians, bureaucrats and government employees at all levels are corrupt, with some exceptions.

However, one needs to keep in mind that a large percentage of the people who are not ministers, politicians, bureaucrats or government employees are at some level corrupt.

While the anti-corruption movement is targeted largely against ministers and politicians, which is right, the fact is that amongst citizens, a large percentage has indulged in corrupt practices at one time or the other. They have been ignored by the anti-corruption agitators. This is the problem.  

The unfortunate fact is that most of the anti-corruption supporters will not be able to swear that they have never benefited from corruption. In purchasing a plot or selling a house, how many can say that they have never paid part of the money in cash to avoid tax? How many can say that they have refused to bribe a policeman when caught for a traffic violation and instead of paying the bribe, opted to go to the police station and pay the fine which could be much higher? How many can say that they have not paid the “school fees and donation” to educational institutions for their children’s admission, in cash as demanded by the management of some educational institutions and then silently moved away without insisting on proper receipts? How many can say they have not paid bribes to get ration cards, driving licences or residence certificates? One can keep on pointing out such instances. Such citizens should also be held equally held responsible for corruption just as ministers and politicians.

While the government is delaying in implementing the Act, it is for people to stand up and demand an explanation from the government employees on delays in services. While the Act can be formulated, corruption can be eliminated, only if the fight against corruption takes place in the minds and hearts of the citizens. It requires quality crusaders.

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