Is Bribery In The Society A Cause Of Concern For The Industry?
There is no Lokpal yet in the country as the technical lacuna are being exploited by few interested parties to keep it at bay
Photo Credit : PTI
Bribery in any form or nature is detrimental to growth. This corruption of values and conduct seeps through layers of society like cancerous cells. As per the Transparency International index, corruption is still rampant in many countries, especially so in the Asia-Pacific region. Philippines, India and the Maldives are among the worst impacted by corruption in this region. As per the latest survey, India has slid to 81 in a ranking of 180 countries on the corruption index. Though the Government has taken various initiatives to combat the menace, corruption in the society is still rampant and shows no sign of abating. Slowly this cancer is permeating deeper and its negative impact on the industry is growing.
The ground realities of these impacts are far too serious to be ignored, especially for companies with direct dealings with the Government. Unless they grease the palms of babus at various levels, they do not get a fair deal of a hearing/ contract. Theoretically, the Lokpal bill is an antidote to the menace and is a step in the right direction. Some important features of the bill are: to establish a central Govt anti-corruption institution called Lokpal, supported by Lokayukta at the state level. In its true spirit, it is envisaged to be completely independent of the government and free from ministerial influence in its investigations. But, is it so? Today the bill needs to be seen with a pinch of salt. A case in point is of the corruption case against the Lokayukta of Karnataka itself. However, the stark reality is that there is no Lokpal yet in the country as the technical lacuna are being exploited by few interested parties to keep it at bay.
Many western countries have since identified corruption to be an impediment to the growth of their nation in the long run. Hence most of them have enacted special laws to deal with corruption cases in their country and for those businesses which are operating elsewhere in the world. Notable mentions may be made of strong laws such as the FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practice Act), UK Bribery Act, etc. Incidentally, the UK Bribery Act has made bribery in private organization a punishable act for the first time. Hence, bribery in the private sector is being recognized as well. The sooner we come to this realization, the better it is for all of us in the long run. What we need is strong legislation, a strong monitoring organization, bringing in total transparency in businesses, exemplary punishments to people who violate the law, etc. Though there is an Act- Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), which is very strong in letters but there is much to be desired as far as implementation is concerned.
If we are looking for robust growth and development on the back of a thriving economy, then we have no option but to match the anti-corruption standards of the west at the very least.
Private organizations also need to fall in line. They need to ensure that their organizations are free from this dangerous cancer. They need to get their corruption health check-up done by experts in this domain frequently to be reassured that their organization is free from this strong growth impediment. This will help in building a strong foundation for their organization in the long run. Whatever investments that go into fighting this impediment will, in the long run, yield many positive results.
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