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Corruption in Public Life

GS Paper 4

Syllabus: Challenges of Corruption

Source: Indian Express

Context: The CBI has registered an FIR against former finance secretary Arvind Mayaram for alleged cheating, criminal conspiracy, and corruption.

  • Previously, Jharkhand IAS officer Pooja Singhal was suspended for misappropriation of funds in MGNREGA

What is the case agains Mayaram?

He is accused of extending undue favours to the UK-based company De La Rue by giving a three-year extension to its “expired contract” for the supply of exclusive colour shift security thread for Indian currency notes when he was finance secretary.



What is Corruption?

Corruption refers to unethical behaviour, which is characterized by misuse of public or organizational power, causing harm not only to organizations but also to society.

  • The word corrupt is from the Latin word ‘corruptus’ meaning to break or destroy
  • Corruption is an important manifestation of the failure of ethics
  • Corruption misuse of entrusted power for private gain




The Wheel of corruption:

In India, corruption, and abuse of office are aggravated by the following factors:

  • The colonial legacy of unchallenged authority, the propensity to exercise power arbitrarily – easy to deviate from ethical conduct
  • Enormous asymmetry of power – eco, social inequalities, caste legacy, 90% workforce in unorganized sector
  • Policies after independence– e.g. State subsidies, and beneficiary-oriented programmes in the situation of asymmetry of power converted public servants into patrons, citizens into mendicant
  • Over-centralization increases corruption – a large number of functionaries b/w citizens and decision-makers diffuses accountability
  • Quality of politics – criminal-politician nexus
  • Politicians secure votes through money, and muscle power & criminals enter politics to interfere in crime investigation, monetary gain creates “acceptance” for criminals to enter politics



Impact of Corruption:


Two approaches to deal with corruption and abuse of office

  • Overemphasis on values, and character – assume values must be restored to fight Corruption
  • Have the belief that most humans are fundamentally decent but a small proportion cannot reconcile individual goals with the goals of society. For such persons, we must deal with them firmly
  • The creation of institutions and the designing of incentives are crucial for promoting the ethical conduct of civil servants
  • Need systemic reform Holistic approach
  • Punitive measures as a deterrent
  • Preventive measures to reduce opportunities



Related News:

UK-based company De La Rue kickbacks to Indian bureaucrats were revealed through Panama Paper leaks (2016). Hence it becomes important to know the different paper leaks




About Printing of Currency notes

Bank notes are printed at four currency presses, two of which are owned by the Government of India through its Corporation, Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd. (SPMCIL) and two are owned by the Reserve Bank, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Ltd


Insta Links

A step towards fighting corruption


Mains Links

Q. Fighting corruption is often seen as a crucial step towards building better public institutions and improving the quality-of-service delivery. Comment. (10M)