J&K vying for the ?honour? for corruption
By Rattan Singh Gill
How about filing a writ petition by Dr. Farooq Abdullah challenging the findings of Transparency International, India?the local chapter of a Berlin-based NGO?and Centre for Media Studies (CMS) for depriving J&K State of its well-deserved first position in the list of the most corrupt states in India? The ?honour? has been stolen by Bihar leaving J&K as a runner up. The survey in 356 villages spread across 151 districts in 20 States reveals that the common citizens pay bribes amounting to Rs. 21,068 crore every year.
The highly literate Kerala has been found the least corrupt State in the country, according to the first ever State-wise survey of corruption in Indian bureaucracy. Of the 11 public services focussed in the survey, the police department tops the list for being the most corrupt with 80 per cent of the respondents saying that they had paid a bribe to register a case or for initiating an action in a registered case.
Our politicians of all shades must be laughing up their sleeves as they leave no stone unturned for sharing such an ?honour?. While congratulating one another and celebrating over the recent ?achievement?, they must also be having a grouse against TI and its chapter in India for ignoring the fact of enormous size of Bihar population as compared to that of J&K and the special status it enjoys to boot. Perhaps, TI has ignored and underestimated the capacity of J&K'spolity governing 14 districts having one crore odd population contesting the claim of Bihar with a population of over 8.29 crore in 37 districts. Thus principle of moderation is not given appropriate weightage by the surveyors while making comparison.
J&K is the top most state of India geographically. The corrupt attitude at high altitude has become the bane of State polity. Money has become the first and last reality. The phrase of fighting militancy has become biggest solvent of all misdeeds of our politicians, police and bureaucrats.
All ruling coalition partners were in the forefront in criticising the then Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, for rampant corruption in the State. But after coming to power the Mufti-led government is doing an ?action replay?. Now the charge of drum beating against corruption has been taken over by Dr. Farooq and Omer Abdullah. In power all politicians become corruption blind and in opposition they start decrying their ruling counterparts.
We had a daring and flamboyant Chief Minister in Dr. Farooq Abdullah, who openly declared his cabinet and bureaucracy as most corrupt and still continued with the same cabinet and obliged the same bureaucracy with impunity.
The menace is perceived here as high-profit low-risk business, which needs all-risk and no-profit to fight it. The anti-corruption agencies have lost their credibility and are considered more corrupt. Cases registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act are seldom taken to their logical conclusion, while inept and corrupt investigators suppress investigations.
J&K has the distinction of having the biggest begging bowl before the Centre with 90 per cent alms and 10 per cent loan and still crying for more. The State has all along maintained a track record of diverting main chunk of funds meant for development to personal pockets, luxuries and consumptions without accounting for it. On pinpointing, the State government does not hesitate in arm-twisting of the knee-jerking Centre to oblige.
In spite of tall claims of stemming out corruption by the successive governments, J&K'sPower Development Department miserably failed to stop electricity theft and recovery of electricity tariff has resulted in the arrears crossing the Rs 1,000-crore mark.
So, look! Transparency International, India?do not be discriminatory with J&K as it has a legitimate right to grace the throne of corruption. Do not favour Bihar as it has nothing to offer except from its stolen fodder.
(The author is Freelance Journalist and formerly Associate Editor, The Northlines, and Dehat Sandesh, Jammu.)