New Delhi: Do the governments succumb to pressure in such a manner? When was the last time one found the agenda of taking tough measures against corruption in any political party’s manifesto? Is there any example that government has ever taken a concrete step to maintain transparency in the system? Why would any government officer vouch for a complete transparency when it hinders the selfish interests of bureaucrats?

Fighting against corruption in a democratic set up is quite tough where the elected government tries to impede transparency and the Opposition which has eyes set on coming to power is constantly involved in mudslinging.

World is a witness that all fights against corruption have been initiated and led by NGOs and the citizens of the respective nations. The governments have felt the pressure only after international financial institutions like World Bank and Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OECD) and organizations like United Nations have taken the charge of anti-corruption crusade.

However, we have indulged into a stubborn war and should not stay in a negligent state.

New fighters for tough battle

The crusade against corruption across the world is barely 20-year-old. In the backdrop of Global Economic Liberalisation and East-West Europe integration, NGOs in 1990 had flagged off the crusade against graft.

The campaign had kicked off without any involvement of established political parties.

The World Social Forum formed in 2001 in Porto Alegri by NGOs from across the globe became the biggest watchdog of transparency. The Indian crusaders are also among them.

Following the negligent attitude of the World Bank, another anti-graft body, Transparency International, was formed in 1993. It reviews corrupt nations and issues indices and review reports.

The International Association of Prosecutors and International Chambers of Commerce stepped up the anti-graft campaign. The World Bank in 1997 led the campaign and the United Nations in 2003 came up with an Anti-Corruption Treaty and formed a UN anti-corruption compact under which thousands of NGOs across the globe are fighting against corruption.

The Berne Declaration (Swiss NGO) gave another meaning to the crusade against corruption after it helped loot of the Nigerian and Angola governments to reach their respective nations.

Likewise, African NGO Sherpa had helped recover loot of Congo, Sierra Leone, Gabon (African nations) from French banks. Every mass movement in the world is not politically motivated.

Old methods of power

The attitude of various governments towards maintaining transparency is not new. Transparency engulfs the breeding ground of corruption in a democratic set up. The efforts by the government have always remained aggressive in this regard.

The famous investigating agency Scorpion Commission of South Africa was dissolved two-year back. It had named South African President Jacob Zuma in one of its reports.

Not only this, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had also proposed for dissolving the anti-corruption commission under the cover of cost cutting.

Governments have always taken steps against corruption only after a mass movement. For instance, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe also recently formed an anti-corruption committee.

The anti-graft commissions work only after the NGOs and citizens monitor the system themselves else the governments would not let them even function.

The battle goes on

The country is still in the initial phase of struggle against corruption and still there are several obstacles to overcome. However, it has become mandatory to put an end to the practice which has evolved as social cancer.

Companies in developing nations every year give 20-40 billion dollars as bribe which goes directly into the pockets of Ministers and officers.

A survey conducted on 2,700 officials from private firms across the world by Transparency International revealed that around 60 percent of the companies from India, Pakistan, Egypt and Nigeria give bribes.

Executives of multi-national companies believe that corruption increases the cost of several projects by 10-25 percent.

Ethisphere, which scans clean firms in the world, has no Indian firm in its list. It had concluded that companies having a transparent approach performed well in share market during 2007 to 2011 as compared to others.

Meanwhile, Europe and US have started to tighten the noose around those who give bribes. The war against corruption is tougher than the freedom struggle as people of the same nation fight for their rights.

Often, the public mandate to a government for 5 years becomes a guarantee for it to use the Constitution according to its convenience.

To prevent transparency in the system, the governments have misused their constitutional rights. However, the Indians should be proud of the fact that the country has woken up on the issue well before others.

JPN/Anshuman Tiwari