Crusade against corruption cruel Joke, PDP-BJP govt going NC-Cong way

Ideologically apart, the two coalition partners PDP and BJP are facing several issues, ranging from Article 35-A to increasing terrorist attacks in Kashmir valley. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is on an advantageous position since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National President of BJP Amit Shah have both told her to go ahead with whatever she feels can bring permanent peace in Jammu and Kashmir. From reshuffle in the administration to revamping police set-up in the state, Mehbooba enjoys complete independence. Though this does not bode well for state BJP but with complete independence in taking decisions in issues pertaining to Jammu region, the party will have none but itself to blame if it fails to come up to the expectations of the electorate which voted for it. The two parties still have three years but people have begun talking about state government’s failure on sending out a strong message to the corrupt and nepotist elements. Those who were thrown out of the service by ex-Chief Minister Late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed have all come back, primarily because the exercise to declare them deadwood had been carried out without proper application of mind. Cases were weak and hence, the court directed state government to restore them to their respective positions with full monetary benefits. This came as a rude shock for the state government which was expecting a verdict in its favour. The judgement should have woken-up the state government but that did not happen. And now that, three years are left, PDP-BJP government should work overnight if it is serious in eradicating menace of corruption from the state. Dismissal of officers from the service for being involved in corruption is no answer. Answer lies in correcting system, making reforms permanent feature and ensuring that society as a whole develops intolerance towards corruption. There have to be serious disincentives to combat graft. Prevention of Corruption Act does provide for a jail-term ranging from six months to five years for both abetting and taking bribes. But, clearly, that does not seem to be a sufficient disincentive. Certainty of punishment should become a must and government should ensure that those indulging in corrupt practices get longer sentences. State should prepare water-tight cases so that the corrupt do not go scot free.
State can start by awarding all contracts through a transparent bidding process. Those bidders who are found involved in corrupt practice should be debarred. More importantly, anyone found lobbying or influencing an official should be given a jail term extending to five years, or a fine that may extend some percentage of the value of procurement, whichever is higher, or with both. The scope for sleaze could also shrink if e-governance is implemented rigorously and not the way it has been done in Jammu and Kashmir. Digitalization of all government records would bring in a lot of transparency. There is already Public Services Guarantee Act in place. Government should take effective steps to ensure that designated public officials deliver within a stipulated time frame. They should not be allowed to use deliberate delays as a means of extracting bribes. Government has made State Information Commission (SIC) fully functional and now, the second step should be to ensure that its performance is reviewed as is mandated by the act by Governor as well as Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Those who deny information to the seekers should not be spared at any cost. Strict punitive action should be initiated against them. Any corruption that is reported is properly investigated and guilty are prosecuted and sentenced accordingly.
Every information about corruption should be taken seriously and those found involved taken to task immediately. Why to give second chance to anyone who is found involved in scam or fraud? Why not remove him from the government services, the moment he is found involved. One needs to remind the government that a court recently observed that citizens should not pay taxes if government fails to curb corruption. It said that citizens should raise voice against menace of corruption and refuse to pay taxes by launching non-cooperation movement. People are in deep anguish. Let the government, as well as mandarins in corridors of power, understand their excruciating pain and anguish. They have been suffering for over two decades in the state. There is an onerous responsibility on those who govern to prove that eradication of corruption would not turn out to be forlorn hope for them. Corruption is a hydra-headed monster and it is high time, we start eradicating it with all seriousness.

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