Wednesday, 6 July 2011


    Over last few months, we all have witnessed a huge support from Indians against corruption and on the inclusion of a strong Lokpal Bill. However it may not be complete solution to abolish the current issue of "corruption". This article makes an attempt to support not only the inclusion of Lokpal-Bill, but also on possible reforms needed to completely abolish it (both from Government and General Public).
    While going through the below article, request is not to get biased on any of the contents, rather provide your sincere comments on "corruption in India and possible reforms". The intent of this article is to share the views and get into a solid solution towards fighting against corruption, bringing reforms and building a stronger India which is now facing many such prominent issues.
    This article focuses only on the reforms expected from Government side. Expectations from General public will be posted in the next version of this article.

    There are thousands of discussions happening over the CORRUPTION issue. Most prominent one is to support Anna Hazare for his cause. This is completely agreed with this and am part of this fight. But there were some points (critics) which grabbed my attention and this is an attempt to rationalize such critics.

  1. What is inferred from the "movement of Anna Hazare and team (Jan-Lokpal Bill)".
  2. Response of political parties (Congress in particular) over the Lokpal Bill.
  3. Irrelevant critics on proposed Jan-Lokpal Bill.
  4. Possible reforms needed in addition to Jan-Lokpal Bill. (new ideas/modifications/suggestions from readers are always welcome)
  5. Last byte..

1. What is inferred from the "movement of Anna Hazare and team (Jan-Lokpal Bill)":
    India is tired of corruption. In other words it has become helpless on this issue. Jan-Lokpal bill is an attempt to form a strong law to fight against. It has to be noted that this bill is not drafted by Anna Hazare. It is a collaborative effort of several masterminds (which include retired judges, social activists, people suggestions etc..).
    Point of inference here is: This is a people movement. The support Anna received shows that people of India are desperate to see a better India.

2. Response of political parties (Congress in particular) over the Lokpal Bill:

    Though a political leader is a representative of people, however, political parties (especially Congress) don't seem to understand this basic meaning of democracy. Their act seems to be such that "they are trying to save democracy by cornering out the social activists who are now the actual voice of people "!!. Strange! but true.

3. Irrelevant critics on proposed Jan-Lokpal Bill:

     It is also witnessed that there are several statements by government chair persons to systematically bring down the movement against corruption. Below is list of few such things and my views on them:
  • PM and chief justice inclusion under Lokpal:
         This issue is being discussed over and over in all the news channels. But to be frank, this is not an issue to be hyped at all!!  Every citizen of India should be investigated "if" he is accused. (no matter if he is a PM, justice OR common man).
         This is just diverting the attention of public from the actual issue..
  • Destruction of democracy:
         Simple answer is, democracy is a system to represent people's view. Politicians should have done this, but now is being done by social activists.
  • Independent body running parallel to government and trying to threaten the whole system of democracy:
         It has been repeatedly confirmed by the social activists that, this committee is strictly restricted to "only look and prosecute the cases against corruption". Won't intervene in any other matters/decisions of government. Hence no question of a parallel body / threatening government of democracy.
  • etc..
4. Possible reforms needed in addition to Jan-Lokpal Bill:

    This is interesting and needs more attention. Jan-Lokpal Bill concentrates on formulating a "strong law" to prosecute and punish only the "accused person". At the present situation this law is a must. For the time being let us assume that government will pass the strong Lokpal bill. But does this solve the corruption issue which India is facing today? I have seen several people commenting on news channel forums saying : "Formulation of a law can't help in overcoming corruption". Practically this is true!! Just think of yourself going to a government office for a work getting done. You will always concentrate on completion of your work than going to file case on people who are asking bribe. Jan-Lokpal Bill won't help unless somebody is accused.
    This says we need something more to address corruption in addition to strong Lokpal Bill. Below discussion focuses on some of the probable solutions:
  1. Build a very strong software/database which will record all government activities (tenders,schemes etc..) and is accessible online. Except the defense secretes, which would harm National Integrity, everything else should be open to everyone.(RTI act has already given this right and this will allow everyone to use the facility without need of asking government for details).
            Ex: a road tender. All tender activities should be recorded and open to everybody. Whoever bids for it, should be available online instantly and when the last date is reached, whoever has submitted with the lowest bidding rate should be automatically allotted. This easily avoids the high level "influences". If I take the example of commonwealth games scam, it is now revealed that one of the tender was decided even before that company submitted it's bidding!
  2. As it is already started, every Indian citizen should be given with a "unique identity no." which should contain each and every details about him. The details should include, his address, his bank account no.s, his demat accounts, status of cylinders, driving license, PAN, passport details, family relations, thumb impression, retinal info etc... (everything which is needed for government while coming up with new schemes for people of India and can be openly published). The central database similar to mentioned above should store information of every citizen of India. Requirements for such a strong software should be:
    • Software should be so strong to detect any duplicate entries (this can easily be checked by cross verifying face detection, thumb impression and retinal info).
            - This easily avoids many people illegally having several ration cards in same name.
            - Misusing several government schemes.
    • Store all these information on a central database similar to mentioned in point 1.
    • The information stored in this database should be considered as golden from all government sectors, private sectors. Believe it or not, if we do this, many day today operations will become easy, transparent, speedy. (ex. applying a cylinder, taking loan, applying ration card, etc..).
    • This central database would greatly help in estimating how much will be the expense for any new scheme which government would be planning to bring. The software should also show who all (citizens) are the beneficiary of this scheme instantly.
            Now media people can handpick random no. of people in this list and ask them directly if they are beneficiaries or not. If any discrepancy, then the related government official can directly be sacked by the Strong Lokpal Bill and speedy court.
  3. The database/software should also store bank account no.s (if any) of each person against his name. "Any account which is not defined against any of the citizen, but exists in any Bank, should be declared as National Asset OR belongs to government". In addition to this, there should be a constant track foreign money exchange by any account.
    Direct advantages of such a system:
    • This would greatly reduce the "black money" issue!
    • This will also automatically bring all those businessmen and other people who are avoiding the tax by showing wrong no.s to come directly inside the tax liability.
    • It is very easy to estimate the tax of each person and I am sure, it would increase the revenue of tax dept.
    • Also if any new account is created in any of the BANK, it should be linked with one of the existing name in central data base. His signature, while creating the account should exactly match the one present in his details present in the central database. Now this would avoid creating accounts with "unanimous names, illegal addresses etc...".
  4. Every user should be given with a password (as given for any online Bank account). There should be a provision for submitting a request to any of the government dept. (ex: consider applying for a cylinder).
            This concept is exactly same as the complaint/request being received by any mobile operators for a service and completion of service within specified time.
  5. In case a user (common man) doesn't know about computer, then whenever he approaches a government office, his request should be entered against his database, assigned to corresponding officer and process status also should be updated regularly by an appointed government operator.
    • This is very equivalent to calling one customer care executive and he will take care of the rest.
    • Ideally to say, there should be a big screen in every government dept (taluk level) displaying all the requests made by people in that area and the processing status/probable date of completion of their request. (just projecting the results as is done in CET seat selection centers)
    • It is already known what all kind of work can be done by a office and how much time a task would take for an officer. Once the operator assigns the task to corresponding officers, software should be intelligent to decide the time required for completion of a work by looking at the category of work, workload on the corresponding officer, his leaves etc.. and automatically display in how many days the work should be completed.
    • If executed effectively, then officer sitting idle at remote office can also handle the request of another area. (boosts up the efficiency of government activities).
    • In case the work gets delayed by an officer, then the software should assign that officer's performance as degraded one and his % of completion of work should automatically get reflected in his salary.
      This would help in 3 ways:
             - deciding the performance of lazy government workers
             - avoid people running behind the offices/officers first to find out where their work can be done and then for getting their work done.
             - Avoid bribing the officers (because now it could be taken up by a remote officer also..)
5. Last byte..:

    The solutions provided above may seem hypothetical one. But just think for a while and observe that the solution offered above is not something which is not at all existing. It is already followed by several private sectors (like Banking, Mobile service etc..) for their effective, transparent and speedy execution. These sophisticated softwares and database are also already present and in use. Here the emphasis is just on bringing such services to the government sectors.These reforms in addition to the very strong "Lokpal Bill" and a speedy court will greatly help in avoiding several issues, not only corruption.
    To be very brief, all we need is a very sophisticated software, centralized storage system, syncing every sectors with this system, training for the government officials on this and an one time collection of details from every citizen.
    But following issues can effectively be addressed:
  • Corruption/bribing at different levels. (small or higher level)
  • Black money issue.
  • Reducing the effort of common man running behind officers/offices for getting even a small piece of info/work.
  • Avoiding high level influences/lobbies in getting contracts/tenders.
  • Proper tax estimation. (I am not aware where all it could help)
  • Avoid unanimous accounts in several Banks.
  • Effective execution of any government scheme. (Because in democracy, news channel have great deal of freedom and can access this database to see if the beneficiaries mentioned in these schemes are actually benefited OR simply no.s produced by government officials)
Expectations from General public will be posted in the next version of this article.... 
We request you to share your view on this topic...