The President said that while there has been no let up in the fight against corruption, it has to be acknowledged that only a limited success has been achieved in this regard. (Agencies)
"Corruption remains a major stumbling block in the progress of our nation," he said inaugurating a seminar organized on the occasion of golden jubilee celebrations of Central Vigilance Commission
Pranab said that corruption has increased transaction costs, reduced efficiency of public services, distorted decision making processes and undermined the moral fibre of the society.
"Corruption has reinforced inequities and limited access to public services by the common man, especially the poor," he said.
Asking the CVC to lead the way in cleansing the government and contribute to reversing the cynicism of public towards government functionaries, the President said that he is confident that the CVC will continue to function as a strong and an effective body, making useful contribution to enhancing probity in governance and checking corruption as well as mal-administration.
Referring to the civil society's ‘huge public outcry’ over corruption in recent times, the President said, "The air is thick with despair and cynicism. There is an urgent need to restore the faith of our people in our governance system and the credibility of our institutions.”
The President said that the CVC must expeditiously investigate all allegations of corruption without fear or favour and it must, at the same time ensure that vilification campaigns to destroy reputations and careers are not carried out in the name of checking corruption.
"The CVC should be an ally to good governance and facilitate speedy, responsible and bold decision making in the interests of the country. Members of the CVC and its staff must also set an example by maintaining the highest standards of probity in the discharge of their functions," he said.
Describing corruption as a cancer which erodes democracy and weakens the foundations of the state, Mukherjee said that the solutions which are found must complement and strengthen existing institutions.
"A large number of opinion polls and surveys reveal that corruption is among the foremost concerns of our citizens. We must engage in serious introspection on how both, 'petty' corruption which affects the public at large and 'grand' corruption involving the higher echelons of government can be eliminated," he said.
The President said that corruption is a global phenomenon and rapidly growing developing countries like India face a particularly difficult challenge.
"Ensuring sustainable growth, eliminating poverty, raising the quality of life, promoting industrialization, providing jobs etc. require quick decision making by the Executive,” the President said.
"If the Executive has to deliver results and demonstrate efficient governance, it needs to have substantial financial powers. At the same time, provision of such financial powers and administrative discretion in governance gives rise to opportunities for nepotism and corruption," he said.
The President said that while there has been no let up in the fight against corruption, it has to be acknowledged that only a limited success has been achieved in this regard.