Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam: Paper - III (General Studies – II) - 28 March 2019


Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam


UPSC Syllabus:

  • Paper-III: General Studies -II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

Q. “There are many institutional and legal frameworks to deal with corruption in India.” Recently appointed Lokpal is one more addition in this league. Will Lokpal be more effective institution to deal with corruption?

Model Answer:

  • Introduction
  • Institution and Legal framework
  • How Lokpal will be more helpful?
  • Conclusion

Introduction:

Corruption has precisely been defined as a deviant human behaviour, associated with the motivation of private gain at public expense and, as such, has persisted for centuries. Corruption promotes illegality, unethicalism, subjectivity, inequity, injustice, waste, inefficiency and inconsistency in administrative conduct and behaviour. It destroys the moral fabric of society and erodes the faith of the common man in the legitimacy of the politico-administrative set up.         

India endorsed the ADB-OECD Anti-Corruption Action Plan in 2001 and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC) recently in May 2011.

The institutional measures to deal with corruption in India are:

  • At the federal level, key institutions include the Supreme Court, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Office of the Controller & Auditor General (C&AG), the Chief Information Commission (CIC) and Lokpal. At the State level, there are local anti-corruption bureaus such as the Anti-corruption Bureau, Lokayukta
  • In recent years, the Supreme Court has taken a stronger stance against corruption. It has challenged the powers of states in several instances. Judges have taken on a stronger role in responding to public interest litigation over official corruption and environmental issues.
  • The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is the apex watchdog agency which oversees and supervises vigilance and anticorruption work in all central government ministries, departments and PSUs. All group A officers (joint secretary and above) come under its ambit.
  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the prime investigating agency of the central government and is generally referred to as a credible and respected institution in the country. It investigates offences by central government and PSU employees. States too can seek help. Also probes criminal cases.
  • The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C & AG) is the apex auditing body. The C &AG has produced several reports on state departments such as railways, public sector enterprise, and tax administration. These reports have revealed many financial irregularities, suggesting a lack of monitoring of public expenses, poor targeting and corrupt practices in many branches of government.

The legal framework to deal with corruption in India is:

  • Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (POCA)
    • It is India’s principal legislation against corruption.
    • Its main thrust is to prohibit public servants from accepting or soliciting illegal gratification in the discharge of their official functions.
    • In addition, bribe-givers and intermediaries maybe held liable under POCA for bribing public officials.
    • However, prosecution under POCA requires prior approval of high authorities which severely limits its usefulness particularly where there is collusive activity within government branches.
  • The Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002:
    • It seeks to prevent money laundering including laundering of property through corruption and provides for confiscation of such a property.
    • It mainly targets banks, financial institutions and intermediaries such stock market intermediaries.
    • They must maintain records of all transactions exceeding Rs 10 lakhs.
    • Later amendment has also brought non-profit organizations under PMLA.
    • They have been the typical conduits for terror organizations.
  • Right to Information (RTI) Act (2005)
    • It represents one of the country’s most critical achievements in the fight against corruption.
    • Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen may request information from a “public authority” which is required to reply within 30 days.
    • The Act also requires every public authority to computerize its records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information for easy citizen access.
    • This act provides citizens with a mechanism to control public spending.
    • Many anti-corruption activists have been using the RTI to expose corruption.
    • Lack of legal protection against whistleblowers, however, puts them in risky situation and many RTI activists have lost their lives in last six years.

How Lokpal will be more helpful?

  • Jurisdiction of Lokpal: A Lokpal can enquire into offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PCA) committed by:
  • The PM with specified safeguards,
  • Current and former Union Ministers,
  • Current and former MPs,
  • Group A, B, C, D officers,
  • Employees of a company, society or a trust set up by an Act of Parliament, or financed or controlled by the central government.
  • Employees of association of persons that (i) have received funding from the government and have an annual income above a specified amount; or (ii) have received public donation and have an annual income above a specified amount or received foreign funding above Rs 10 lakh a year. 
  • An inquiry against the PM has to be held in-camera and approved by a 2/3rd majority of the full bench of the Lokpal.  The PM cannot be investigated if the complaint is related to international relations, external and internal security, public order, atomic energy and space. 
  • The Lokayuktas shall have jurisdiction over the CM, Ministers, MLAs, all state government employees and certain private entities (including religious institutions).
  • The motive behind decades of struggle to implement the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 is to provide a forum to the citizenrywhere they can raise their voice against corruption without any fear.
  • Looking at the low ranking of India in Corruption on global level, there is a need to check the corruption by strong institutions. Creation of the institution of Lokpal and Lokayukts by forming its members to function has come up as a welcome step.
  • The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) recommended the enacting of the Office of a Lokpal, convinced that such an institution was justified, not only for removing the sense of injustice from the minds of citizens, but also to instill public confidence in the efficiency of the administrative machinery.
  • But it shall function independent from any political influence so that a proper system of checks-and -balance is maintained in the federal and democratic system of India.

 Conclusion:

The assessment of the legal and institutional anticorruption framework points to a combination of robust institutions and lack of accountability in key areas. Despite these emerging trends, however, the institutional anti-corruption framework generally suffers from a lack of coordination, and overlapping and conflicting mandates between institutions addressing corruption.

Therefore, there is a need for a mechanism that provides for simple, independent, speedy means of delivering justice by redressing the grievances of the people without succumbing to the clutches of the executive.

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