International Day of Anti-Corruption: India needs to bridge the socio-economy gap to curtain corruption
The International Day of Anti-Corruption is marked by the United Nations every year on December 9 since 2003. This year the day is being marked by the organization all over the world on the following theme. This year the theme is ‘United against Corruption’.
Ending corruption is important to achieve Sustainable Development Goals(SDG) 16 and 17. The SDG 16 insists on “Promote peace, justice and strong institutions”. It insists on anti-corruption targets. the goal 16.4, insists on reducing illicit financial and arms flow. The Goal 16.5 insists on reducing bribery on all forms and 16.6 says that it is essential to create transparent institutions at all levels.
According to the United Nations, every year 1 trillion USD is paid as bribes and 2.6 trillion USD is stolen annually. It is more than 5% of global GDP. The United Nations Development Programme says that the funds lost to corruption are 10 times the amount spent in official development assistance.
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India’s liberalization that began in the 1980s should have curtailed corruption, but the opposite happened. Growth surged; that raised the value of natural resources and government contracts. So substantial was this increase that despite the reduction in powers, the economic rent at the government’s disposal grew strongly. It is estimated that corruption increases healthcare cost by about 25 per cent. What makes doctors and hospitals indulge in corrupt practices? It is because of greed, corporate pressure and huge fees in private medical colleges where teaching is generally poor.
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A study ranked India 81 out of 180 countries in its corruption index of 2017. The least corrupt nations were New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden, Canada, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the U.K. Just above India in the list were China, Serbia, Suriname, Trinidad, Tobago, and Ghana (less corrupt). And below India were Morocco, Turkey, Argentina, Benin, and Kosovo (as corrupt or more corrupt).
If you look at India and the countries around it on the index, and at the top 10 (least corrupt) countries, you realise that the former group contains nations with huge socio-economic inequalities, and the latter contains nations with a high degree of social and economic justice. In that sense, Singapore belongs with the European and European-settler countries ranked as the 10 least corrupt nations. In short, corruption is directly proportionate to the socio-economic gap in a nation. Cultural and historical factors add to or subtract from this, but the greater the socio-economic disparities, the greater the incentive towards corruption.
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