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Emporium Current Essays

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How to Root out Corruption
Corruption has been around for so long and has grown no wild and widespread that
society has started to accept it as normal and those involved in it do not feel any sense of
guilt.

According to a belief: "Corruption is like an inverted tres1 with roots, in the upper
formations of society," Botanically, one strengthen the roots and Irunks of tree by merely
pruning the weak branches.

The effect of corruption and mismanagement is, perpetually increasing poverty,


disparities amongst various regions and society, murder of justice and disrespect for the
law. The poor law and order situation in the country is the outcome of persistent
corruption.

The menace of corruption in Pakistan has extended into disciplines and segments of
society which in the past, wenconsidered to be sacred. Corruption has become so
common that it has started to receive legitimacy, respect and recognition from those who
were supposed to check and control it

There is a general tendency on the part of the politicians as weli as the bureaucracy to
overlook merit This encouragescorruption in society. Disrespect for merit, once started,
is self propagating and it takes a greater degree of effort to restore u.

Unspecified and unlimited discretionary powers coupled with tendency of the


bureaucracy to be indecisive, lethargic^ inefficient and corrupt add to the frustration and
distrust of people in the system. While the public would generally prefer honesty and
accuracy, inefficiency in public business and endless delays of procedures without
effective accountability, tend to make the pubiit accept speedy disposal at the cost of
honesty.

The corruption in Pakistan exists in numerous forms, Is invisible as the stealing of


public* funds, nepotism, favouritism, redtape, lethargy, exploitation of the poor, injustice,
living beyond means, indifferent attitude towards the genuine towards the genuine
towards the genuine problems of the masses and poor, misuse oi474

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power, etc. Every organisation and sub-system has its own modality (Tariqa-i-Wardat) of
corruption. These modalities have almost becomes standard and are well known to even
kids. This makes the attack on corruption possible though difficult. The power and unity
of "corruption culture" can only be broken if leadership decides to do it with missionary
spirit.
According to an estimate, about 10 to 25 per cent of the development programme budget
of Pakistan is wasted, misused or misappropriated. One Finance Minister estimated that
the size of corruption in Pakistan is Rs. 5 billion. Son he corrected himself and declared
that Rs. 20 billion was a more accurate figure. This amounts to about 3 per cent of the
GDP. A nation which howsoever US S36.6 billion (about Rs. 800 billion) as foreign debt
and pays about 2.8 per cent of the GDP for debt-servicing can ill-afford such a huge
leakage due to poor administration and resource management.

Corruption cannot be combated by a half-hearted approach. Understanding of the issues,


committed leadership with an action plan and aggressive approach, are the essential
prerequisites for eradication of ever-growing menace of corruption. Following are the
excuses of offered by the corrupt when asked about their corruption. The arguments,
when critically analysed, show that these are only partially true.

/. Wages and salaries not compatible with the cost of living:

It is a primary duty of the employer to meet the cost of respectable living of the
employees. It is, therefore, imperative to determine the cost of living by making
appropriate family budgets. Indexation of salaries with inflation should be dolie so that an
employees does not indulge in corruption.

According to an estimate, the cost to economy of a "functional" Grade 21/22 officer in


the government is between Rs.
50,000 to Rs 100,000 per- month against the "take home" salary of Rs. 9,000. Whereas,
Grade 5 to 16 officials generally live within the salary ranges between Rs. 1,200 to 5,000
with or without housing and their real cost to economy is not a big multiplier of their
actual *ages. The undue privileges are not classified as corruption by the senior-ranking
officials and are, therefore, not a part of the earlier
20 billion corruption estimate. Limits have, therefore, to be determined expenditures and
leakages can be controlled. One of the

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measures to reduce the additional costs is to strictly enforce austerity in the system.

2. Incongruity between power and responsibility:

This results in perpetual wastage and loss of huge resources. For example, a Secretary to
the government may authorise the execution of a project worth millions of Rupees but he
is not responsible whether the investment yields the stipulated benefits. The performance
of an individual must be continuously gauged by introducing a system of
"performance/work audit". The system is different from the prevailing system of "Annual
Confidential Reports" (ACRs) or Public Accounts Committees. The work audit should be
done by external agencies or the public representatives at various levels.
3. Lack or absence of job security:

The employer must cultivate confidence in the employee. A system should be evolved to
ensure that if a staff member is performing duties as per expectations, he should not have
to worry about job security. This system is not easy to install, particularly in the Asian
culture. In Islam, there is not easy to install, particularly in the Asian culture. In Islam,
there is a well-defined code of ethics for the employee as well as employer. This code is
based OJH recognition and respect for mutual rights and it does not allow whims and
emotions to interference in the relationship. The famous story of a Khalifa arriving in a.
foreign city towing the camel with servant riding, as it happened to be the servant's turn
to ride, gives a marvellous illustration of the relationship.

4. Unbalanced economy and variation in the quality of life:

•There arc three types of classes in a normal society. A society is stable and peace in
ensured where the middle class is in majority. The efforts of a welfare and a popular
democratic state should be to reduce the size of upper and lower classes and increase the
size of middle class. This calls for the economic policies for better wealth distribution.

5. Opportunities for making extra money through corruption:

Low literacy rate of the general public and lax attitude of the political leadership play a
major role in giving the means and476

Emporium Current Essays

manoeuvrability to the corrupt. Government should announce and quickly implement


exemplary punishment to those context of educating the public and public servants about
mutual relationship and duties, it is suggested to administer the oath on every public at
the time of recruitment and posting. The people may object about anybody's appointment
on the basis of proof and/or information. A committee should oversee the proceeding?.
Any objection about any person shouTd be promptly investigated and the corrupt be
punished immediately. *

6. There are no effective checks to control corruption:

The present institutional framework for the control of corruption in Pakistan comprises of
many organisations like:

I) Anti-Corruption Organisations,

II) Prime Minister's and Chief Minister's Inspection Teams.

In) Federal Investigating Agency,


IV) Ombudsman, etc.

**

AH these organisations generally response to complaints about corruption and take


appropriate measures to check and punish the. corrupt. Due to top heavy organisation,
antiquated procedures and the passive attitude towards corruption, these organisations are
not able to check the officials of higher ranks and have, therefore, lost their effectiveness.

7. Wtien everybody is corrupt, why should we be honest:

A myth about the growing menace of corruption is that: "We are an integral part of this
(corrupt) society. How can we isolate and protect ourselves from the good or bad effects
of society." This argument works as a tranquilliser for the nation and people start to
expect everybody else to change before themselves. A method for resolving this
syndrome includes creation of general public awareness about -the effects of corruption
on society and common man, using media campaign and adoption of policy of general
condemnation of the menace and severe punishments for the corrupt.

8. There is no incentive for not being corrupt:

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In an otherwise corrupt environment, an honest person is reckoned as odd and


undesirable. Taken by individuals to stay honest are generally not encouraged and the
corrupt create numerous socio-economic, administrative and operational problems for
them. There are many politicians who. support officials with poor reputation. Politicians
generally tend to get the posting of such "favourites" for getting the jobs done according
to their choice instead of merit of justice,

9. Superiors and subordinates shall not tolerate, if one stops accepting bribes:

The above fear is generally true and an honest individual ends up in the position where he
is either important or is not expected to do anything important. They are kept away from
the mainstream of activity. A system of work audit coupled with just, vigilant and active
system of accountability as well as austerity induced from the top shall certainly
discourage the temptations of becoming corrupt.

10. Tendencies and pressures to accumulate wealth:

The most important task now is to control the monster that has come out of cage. The
formulation of the public opinion and modification of the thought process of present and
future leadership, planners and well-wishing citizens is one of the primary steps in one of
the primary steps in the positive direction. This will not only strengthen Pakistan but also
certainly help to improve the lot of the poor. A major reason for the persistent poverty in
our country is inability of the leadership to control corruption.