Can India Build a Corruption-Free Society?

The Vigilance Commissioners, Central Vigilance Commission, T.M. Bhasin and Sharad Kumar, calling on a Minister for Prime Minister’s Office Dr. Jitendra Singh, to hand over the CVC Analysis Report on "Top 100 Bank Frauds", in New Delhi on October 17, 2018. (file photo). Courtesy: PIB
The Vigilance Commissioners, Central Vigilance Commission, T.M. Bhasin and Sharad Kumar, calling on a Minister for Prime Minister’s Office Dr. Jitendra Singh, to hand over the CVC Analysis Report on “Top 100 Bank Frauds”, in New Delhi on October 17, 2018. (file photo). Courtesy: PIB

While India continues to be the biggest corrupt country in the world, India’s top anti-corruption department Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) observes the Vigilance Awareness Week from 28th October to 2nd November, 2019.

With the theme “Integrity- A Way of Life,” the campaign during the week aims to promote integrity and probity in public life through citizen participation.

According to CVC, combating corruption is not just a matter of making laws and creating institutions, but it is deeply rooted in human values and morals of individuals.

The Commission says it believes that this theme would help draw the attention of all sections of society especially the youth to the significance of ethical conduct in the building of an honest, non discriminatory, and corruption-free society.

The Commission has urged all government ministries and organizations to conduct activities relevant to the theme both within their organization, and outreach activities for public and citizens.

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Activities to be conducted within the organization include taking of the Integrity Pledge by all employees, distribution of pamphlets on preventive vigilance activities, whistleblower mechanism and other anti-corruption measures, conducting workshops and sensitization programs for employees and other stakeholders on policies and procedures of the organization and preventive vigilance measures.

Effects of Corruption in India. Photo: RMN News Service
Effects of Corruption in India. Photo: RMN News Service

Other activities include publication of journals / newsletters on vigilance issues, systemic improvements and good practices adopted for wider dissemination and awareness, conducting various competitions such as debates, quiz contests, etc. for the employees and their families on issues relating to anti-corruption, and the use of organizational websites for dissemination of information.

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In order to create awareness on the harmful effects of corruption amongst school and college students, various activities are being organized in schools and colleges across the country. These include lectures, panel discussions, debates, quiz contests, essay writing, slogan writing, and poster competitions on moral values, ethics, good governance practices, and so on.

In 2018, according to CVC, such activities were organized in over 19,333 schools and over 5,120 colleges with the participation of more than 22 lakh (2.2 million) children across the country.

The Commission says that the establishment of ‘Integrity Clubs’ in schools and colleges is an initiative to cultivate ethical values in the leaders of tomorrow.

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“Awareness Gram Sabhas” are organized for dissemination of awareness in Gram Panchayats (in rural and semi-urban areas) to sensitize the rural citizens about the ill effects of corruption. In 2018 year, 73,655 such Gram Sabhas were organized during the Vigilance Awareness Week.

Seminars, discussions, and other outreach events are being organized involving the private sector, professional associations, trade unions and associations for wider participation of all sections of civil society.

According to CVC, organizations conduct activities with high visibility and public appeal such as walkathons, marathons, cycle rallies, human chains, street plays, and other public functions in various cities and towns across the country.

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Rakesh Raman