Corruption in the bureaucracy-be it civil or police-is once again under sharp focus in the wake of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s assertion that no corrupt would be tolerated. She has made it clear that she would be tough to deal with. Seeking implementation of Public Service Guarantee Act (PSGA) 2011 in letter and spirit, Mehbooba has underlined need for adhering to deadlines for service delivery.
Ironically, Jammu and Kashmir has not paid as much attention to the corrupt bureaucrat as much as to politicians even though the corrupt bureaucrat whether he is from the IAS, IPS or any other service — is far more insidious than the corrupt politician. He is the bigger looter of the state exchequer. The sooner people of Jammu and Kashmir realise this truth, and do something about it, the better it would be for the nation in its battle against corruption.
Unlike the politician who is always under the public glare and has many enemies and competitors within and outside his party, the corrupt bureaucrat stays hidden from the limelight. He lies embedded in the system, spreading the rot like a cancerous tissue, till some scam erupts and brings him out in the open.
It makes no difference which party is in power, it’s always win-win for the corrupt bureaucrat because he is sought out by his new political master who knows that he has a limited term to make quick money. At his master’s bidding, such bureaucrats efficiently do the paperwork and move the administrative machinery to favour vested interests. This is the story of big ticket corruption in India driven by the double-faced monster.
While all the accused are innocent until proven guilty, what scams magnify is the role of top bureaucrats in facilitating corruption. Examples from the past clearly indicate that just as corrupt bureaucrats are often favoured and given plum postings, upright ones are hounded and harassed with transfers and cannibalised by their own cadre. They are traumatised and forced to follow a line which they do not wish to follow at all.
The corrupt bureaucrat is more insidious than the corrupt politician because he exists in multiples and does far greater damage while remaining largely undetected. The indictment, suspension and arrest of IAS officers and other bureaucrats in corruption-related scams will go a long way in cleaning up the system in Jammu and Kashmir. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti should not tolerate corrupt and inefficient bureaucrats.
She should seek list of all those officials who have serious cases of corruption and embezzlement registered against them, ask the GAD to prepare a strong case for showing them door and then, strengthen Public Service Commission (PSC) to such an extent that whosoever gets through the examination remains under scrutiny throughout his life. She should not allow the corrupt and nepotist officers to remain part of her team.