For a country used to the usual ‘chalta hai’ attitude when it came to graft in public life, the last few years have seen a virtual onslaught against corruption never seen before in India. On the one hand, discretion in the process of allocation of resources has been done away with, while on the other, a distribution system, marred by the middlemen, too has been replaced with a direct, transparent and efficient process.
JAM as the Tool to Empower Masses
Without doubt, the Jan Dhan Yojana-Aadhar-Mobile or the JAM trinity has facilitated government’s objective of increasing transparency with Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). The biggest step towards financial inclusion, the Jan Dhan Yojana has helped create a potent system of distribution that curbs leakages in the process. The Jan Dhan – Aadhar – Mobile (JAM) trinity has been instrumental in minimizing the role of middlemen. With unique identification associated with every account, in the form of account number, there is no scope for duplication of accounts or ghost beneficiaries. As of Februrary 2019, 439 schemes across 55 ministries fall under the purview of DBT.
Imagine if there was no JAM, the historic PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana with the aim of providing Rs. 6,000 of yearly income to 12 crore marginal farmers would have been lost in the maze of graft-ridden delivery systems.
License-Inspector Raj a ‘real’ thing of the past
Although the 1991 reforms had sought to end the license-inspector raj, in reality things hadn’t changed so effectively on the ground. But now in addition to the path-breaking GST regime, leveraging technology to the fullest, the government has simply ‘shut down the shutters’ of the license inspector raj. No more can any government official harass a law-abiding businessman or a tax-paying citizen. For instance, the advent of GST has while brought down the effective tax rates on goods and services benefiting the end-consumers to a great extent, through GSTN’s uniform interface for the tax payer and a common and shared IT infrastructure between the Centre and States, the possible role of any real person compromising the system has been completely ruled out. The creation of Government e Marketplace (GeM) as a digital e-commerce portal to facilitate online procurement of common use Goods & Services required by various Government Departments/Organisations/PSUs is another landmark step with the aim of enhancing transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement.
Discretion-free allocation process
The government has taken all possible steps to enhance transparency in its day to day functioning. The non-transparent and discretionary allocation of public resources such as coal and spectrum of the earlier years has seen a complete reversal. Now, the government has outlined a clean and transparent system of allocation through public auction where every player, both private and public, gets a fair chance.
Discretion-free appointment process
The abolishing of interviews for all group C and D, and non-gazetted group B posts by the government has been another huge measure aimed at dealing with corruption.
It must be remembered that the last five years have not only seen a frontal assault on corruption of all kinds, there has even been an attempt to create a constructive discourse around the virtue of honesty itself. With technology, financial inclusion and a strong political will, the Modi government at the highest level has done everything possible to institutionalise and reward honesty.