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Can India do a Hong Kong against corruption?
Mon, 8 Aug Pre-Open

India is reeling under a wave of corruption scandals. Corruption is nothing new to the people of India. They face this everyday in their life in one way or another. In recent times, our country witnessed a spate of big scams in a short span of time. 2G scam , commonwealth game scam, several land scams, Intelligence scam, Adarsh Housing scam, Indian Premier League scam, LIC Housing Finance scam are just to name a few. And the list is definitely not going to end here.

A question that we ask ourselves is what is giving rise to such a situation. And the answers are many. The first and the most important is the lack of deterrence. Our existing judicial system is filled with so many loopholes that most of the high profile people manage to get away with their wrongdoings without appropriate punishments. Besides deterrence, there are other factors which help increase the level of corruption. One is the lack of stigma. Corruption hardly leads to any disgrace or dishonour in our society. Therefore, people involved in corruption hardly feel any shame for their wrong deeds

Additionally, our existing systems fail to have a complete independent body against corruption. No doubt, we have the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). But the irony is that if it needs to investigate the Prime Minister, it has no choice but to work under him/her.

What India can do now in this hopeless situation? Are we standing at the end of the road? Definitely not! We can learn lessons from other countries where corruption is at very lower levels. A very apt example is that of Hong Kong. This country was facing a pretty similar situation like ours' during the 1960-70s. But now, this country can boast of a great level of transparency. The manifestation of this is the fact that it is attracting lots of investments from multinational and Chinese companies. What happened so differently in Hong Kong? There, a great public outcry forced the government to set up an anti-corruption agency, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) which successfully rooted out corruption to a great extent. We are witnessing a similar outcry today in our country. The movement against corruption by Anna Hazare and other such activists, which has the great public support, is rooting for a strong Jan Lokpal Bill .

But things are going on different paths here. The political parties again don't seem quite serious against corruption for obvious reasons. They are just debating a Lokpal Bill, prepared by the government, which seems to be toothless. Looking at the different views on the bill, taken conveniently by different political parties to avoid the bill, it does not look we are going to have even that weaker Lokpal bill soon.

Now it is time for all Indians to learn a lesson from Hong Kong where people of the country spearheaded the implementation of strong commission against corruption. If not, then the run rate of scam per day will keep rising. And in the long run, not only we but also the other part of the world will lose confidence in our system. That would definitely hamper the future growth prospects of the country.

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Feb 23, 2018 (Close)