The war cry sent reverberating by Anna Hazare is only a small step towards eliminating the menace of corruption that has attained monstrous proportions in almost all domains of public life in India. The enthusiastic reciprocation which Hazare’s campaign elicited from the common man underscores the level of despondency the people of India have been subjected to by pervasive corrupt practices.
Corruption has been the biggest hurdle in the realization of democratic ideals at the grass roots level, especially in developing countries like India which is witnessing lopsided development, with the rich becoming richer at the cost of less privileged. For the benefits of development to trickle down to the underdogs of society, transparent and corruption free institutions of governance are as mandatory as the developmental efforts themselves. The developmental initiatives by governments lose their significance in the wake of widespread corruption that acts as the ultimate bottleneck in the channels that connect institutions of governance with the common man.
Corruption, has become an accepted part of public life in India, however Jammu and Kashmir has surpassed every other state, given the magnitude of corruption prevalent in the state.
A survey conducted by Centre for Media studies in collaboration with Transparency International India, in 2005 rated J&K as the second most corrupt state in India and another survey in 2008 by the same agency with focus on BPL families across India, revealed the tremendous increase in the corrupt practices in the state; ironically J&K has been put in the category of ‘alarmingly corrupt’ states.
The constitution of State Accountability Commission, by the Mufti regime was seen by many as a deterrent, which could constrain the corruption and the corrupt. Unfortunately in the functional realm, the institution never took off. The government found it hard to even find a suitable candidate for the position of chairperson. Over the years the institution has degenerated to the level of extinction, incidentally the institution has been headless for the past many years.
Human virtues of morality, ethics and honesty are things of yore and these carry little meaning in the present days of greed and self interest. What we need are stringent anti-corruption laws enforced through strong institutions. The State Accountability Commission that in reality exists on papers only needs to be revived without any further dillydallying. The state should also explore the possibility of drafting an anticorruption bill, on the lines of the Lok Jan Pal bill being contemplated by the centre.