Eradicating Corruption in Government offices

One has to bow to corrupt employees to get one’s work done in a government department. This malaise is found in every country particularly in third world countries where its level has reached alarming proportion. In India Anna Hazare began a movement to curb corruption by pressurizing the government to appoint an independent Lok Pal with wide powers even to prosecute the highest authority in the legislature and judicial wing of the government. But we know that in states like Karnataka where an anti-corruption body called Lokayuktha exists, the rate of prosecution of the corrupt officials is very low. In spite of raiding the houses of corrupt officials and seizing their ill-gotten wealth, it has not created fear in the hearts of the corrupt and many a times they even get promoted though their cases are pending in the Lokayuktha court.

The present system of recruitment to various government posts is undemocratic as only a small percentage of the population gets several privileges like perks and pension. They get regular salary even for dereliction to duties. The higher officials are given vast powers in deciding the fate of the common people but are not held accountable for lapses. The common people who visit government offices are harassed and forced to pay bribe to get their work done. This state of affairs in government offices is a legacy left by the British who ruled India for 200 years as they needed a bureaucracy which would carry out its order without questioning.

A peep into history shows that till the firm establishment of British rule in India there was no clamour for government jobs among our youths. Due to British economic policies Indian agriculture and industries were ruined. This led to unemployment among farmers, skilled artisans and manufacturers and for livelihood they began to look for government jobs, then the only major source for their employment. Competition for jobs led to demand for reservation of jobs on the basis of castes and communities causing fissure in the Indian society. Just for the sake of government jobs many historically and culturally rich communities declared themselves backward. In the long run, this stunned the growth of self confidence and self-esteem among its youth.

But eradicating corruption in government offices is not that difficult and we only have to change the rules and regulation regarding the recruitment of personnel in government departments. Some of the changes which could be made are –

  • The entire bureaucracy should be divided into two categories; class one (the present I.A.S., I.P.S. officers) and class two. For appointment to class two posts any graduate or PUC should be the minimum qualification prescribed. As in the present form, reservation to people of different castes/religion and states (in case of employment in central government services) should be provided. For class one, posts should be reserved in the following manner.
  1. One third for persons who come up with innovative ideas like how to save energy, generate revenue without burdening the common man, how to plug revenue leakage, unique poverty alleviation program, flood control measures, solving drinking water shortages, etc.
  2. One third of posts should be reserved for those who have done a stint in the military as short term Commissioned Officer or those who had worked in private companies and have good work experience.
  3. The remaining one-third of posts in class one should be given to those who are working in class two and had successively received good feedback from the public for four consecutive times.
  • Instead of appointing personnel permanently for a post, appoint them for a term of three years and based on the positive feedback given by citizens who have to interact with the personnel to avail various government services, the contract of the personnel should be renewed for three more years. This process should continue till the retirement age which should be fixed at 60.
  • Government employees should not be given pensions but only fixed salary able to lead a decent life.
  • Government employees should not be allowed to form unions as government departments are meant to serve people and not make profit. There is no need for the employees to form unions to fight/negotiate for a share in profit? Those who want higher salaries/perks should either join private companies or start their own business.
  • All services provided by the various departments of the government should be within a stipulated time frame, failing which the concerned employee should be penalized with a hefty fine.
  • For demanding bribe and embezzlement of public money severe punishment like hefty fines, lengthy prison terms and in very serious cases even death penalty should be given and these cases should be tried by special courts constituted for this purpose within a time frame (say three months). There should be no recourse for appeal to higher courts.
  • Government offices frequented by public should be opened for twelve hours at a stretch, six days in a week to help the public access services quickly. These offices should work in two shifts of six hours each. As employees are allowed to work in only one shift, this move would result in generating more employment and also less stress to employees.
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Kaleidoscope of Indian civilization

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