IMPHAL, October 29: The Imphal branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) organised a workshop at its office in Lamphelpat in connection with the observance of the Vigilance Awareness Week which began on October 27 and will continue till November 1.
The workshop conducted under the theme “Combating Corruption – Technology as an enabler” was graced by CBI ACB Headquarter, head of bureau additional SP Balasubramony, additional SP, L Hangshing; inspector Gaurav and Inspector W Ashok Kumar.
Speaking to media persons, Add SP Balasubramony said “corruption in India is a major issue that adversely affects its economy. A study conducted by Transparency International in 2008 found that more than 40% of Indians had firsthand experience of paying bribes or influence peddling to get jobs done in public offices successfully”.
In 2012 India was ranked 94th out of 176 countries in Transparency International`s Corruption Perceptions Index, tied with Benin, Colombia, Djibouti, Greece, Moldova, Mongolia, and Senegal. If corruption levels in India are reduced to the levels of developed economies such as Singapore or the United Kingdom, India`s GDP growth rate could increase at a higher rate.
Studies pegged the loss caused by corruption, in terms of investment, growth and jobs for India at over US$50 billion a year, he said.
He further said that to combat corruption, technology can act as an enabler such as in the case of e-governance which offers full potential to help harness transparency and reducing the drain on development caused by corruption.
Secondly, digitisation is the first step towards the use of technology and innovative models in an e-governance environment. Digitisation is a central database and the ability to get an authenticated printout of ownership from multiple points together made the process easy and corruption-free, he added.
He continued that corruption in schemes like MGNREGA can be minimised by using the unique identity (Aadhaar) to transfer funds to the beneficiary and to match worker and recipient. It can also be used in providing food (PDS) and other subsidy schemes to ensure minimal misuse, as also in transitioning, to cash transfer of subsidies.
Thirdly, e-procurement and e-auctions can be collusive in rooting out corruption. The prime target for corruption is public procurement, where corruption is most pervasive and also has more negative consequences, he said.
Public procurement may account for 45% of government expenditure and up to 20% of the Gross Domestic Product for any country. Setting aside government salaries and social service payments, public procurement accounts for the largest share of public expenditures for all levels of government, he adds.
Balasubramani continued that mobile phones and social media also play a vital role in dissemination of information. Mobile and social media can be used as an effective tool, for instant access to information about government financed projects, as well as a means of instantly reporting concerns of fraud and corruption, he adds.
He stated that India’s Right to Information movement had tremendous success in making strategic use of transparency for securing government accountability. Demanding and disseminating information are among the most used tools in the work of activist organisations in the country. Public records are typically demanded on paper and disseminated manually, making the process costly and slow, he added.
Corruption has destroyed the very moral fabric of the society as even education and Health care are not free from the disease of corruption, he laments.