31 October, 2020

A Pail Of Piety Against An Augean Stable

There are structural aspects to a problem as complex as corruption. These cannot be tackled through punishment alone.

J.S. Adhikari
A Pail Of Piety Against An Augean Stable
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Just as our society tends to latch on to holy men for miracle cures, in recent weeks, the urban middle classes have placed great hopes on an anti-corruption movement led by a pious man in a Gandhi cap. (The other claim on leadership by a holy man in red robes did not quite pan out as intended.) The Anna Hazare movement wants to fight corruption with a new bureaucracy that will have drastic monitoring and prosecuting powers over politicians and officials. I’ll not comment here on the methods it has used to put the issue on the public agenda (including regular disparagement by Team Anna of institutions and practices of representative government), nor shall I comment on the wisdom of imposing a new super-agency (Jan Lokpal) on top of current institutions like the Central Vigilance Commission or laws like the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988, without looking into the reasons why the latter have been relatively ineffective. I shall instead largely confine myself to the structural reasons for corruption which are not being dealt with and why...

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