Corruption is the greatest stumbling block to infrastructure development in India
India has not improved it’s image where corruption is concerned, not if one goes by the recent survey by Transparency International. The TI corruption index is calculated by taking into account people’s perceptions. This year India fared worse than last year, having scored 3.4 as against 3.5 in 2007 (marks are out of 10, with 10 being the highest score meaning the least corrupt). The scores for all countries for 2008 are given here. There is no major difference in the scores of various countries from the previous year, which you can read about here, and not surprisingly the poor countries tend to be the most corrupt.
There is also a state-wise survey for India, again based on perceptions. Indian states have been ranked on a scale of Alarmingly Corrupt, Very Highly Corrupt, Highly Corrupt to Moderately Corrupt. The poorer states fare badly and nor surprisingly, Bihar is perceived to suffer from the most corruption followed by J&K.
However no state in India is free from corruption and here’s a small list of projects all over the country which are riddled with corruption. The list covers some of the recent charge-sheets or recent revelations and not all states/projects are listed. In this sense the list is not comprehensive. Also, older cases are not listed. The corrupt deals listed here in any case are just the tip of the iceberg as no government-run project anywhere in India is squeaky clean, whether it’s infrastructure building, dispersal of aid or giving permissions for any works. And as the nexus between the politicians, the criminals and the police tends to cover up a lot of scams, the public will never really what is the real extent of the rot. This list just gives an idea of some of the corrupt projects in the country and reminds us why the infrastructure/health in our country is not up to the mark, despite money being earmarked for it.
So here is the list, with the states being listed alphabetically:
There is corruption here in all government departments. The state government’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has said that only 10 per cent of the 14-lakh state government employees are scrupulously honest. Others range between the totally corrupt to the fence sitters.
There are anomalies in the public distribution system (PDS) in Assam and this involves hundreds of crores of rupees.
Janata Dal (U) MLA Neeraj Kumar Singh, alias Babloo, was accused by an official of the construction company, Gammon India (working on the East -West Corridor road project) for trying to extort money from him. The East-West Corridor road project seeks to
connect Silchar in the east to Porbandar in the west of the country through an expressway. Elected representatives of the state demanding money from companies engaged in developmental projects in Bihar is not something new and happens on a regular basis.
The Delhi police faces the maximum number of bribery cases from amongst all the state departments (of Delhi).
Stalin K uncovered how relief money meant to aid victims of the Gujarat earthquake was misused (a few years ago).
The CBI has finally charge-sheeted 62 people, including Chautala (ex-CM) as well as his son in the now infamous JBT scam dating back to 1999. Lakhs of rupees were paid as bribes for selection of teachers by the Education department.
Jammu & Kashmir
Bribery charges have tainted a Jammu and Kashmir Education Minister and PCC chief Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed. An Independent MLA Shohaib Lone (whose father and PDP minister Ghulam Nabi Lone was assassinated two years ago) has accused the minister of taking a bribe of Rs 40,000 to sanction a school.
Investigations have brought to light some irregularities in purchase of equipment by the Jharkhand government. When the state government wanted to buy portable solar powered vaccine carriers, deep freezers, caps, ties, they purchased all these items from one place….one flat in Vasant Kunj in Delhi!
A recent survey has shown that more than 50 per cent of the poor find the Land Records and Registration service in Karnataka the most corrupt department in the state.
Communication Minister A Raja has been accused of some irregularities on the issuance of new telecom licenses at throw away prices that allegedly cost the exchequer a whopping Rs 1,00,000 crores. Investigations are still on. Then there is another controversy about the sale of 70 acres of land by public sector undertaking Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) to Mumbai-based Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) to build Rs.40 billion ($1 billion) Cyber City in Kochi.
Madhya Pradesh lawmaker and member of a state tiger conservation body Darbu Singh Uike has alleged that officials have siphoned off millions of rupees meant for the conservation of tigers in the state’s Kanha National Park.
Another scam: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) EOW is conducting an inquiry into a land scam where the Bhopal Nawab and his family members have been accused of unauthorised occupation of land worth hundreds of crores.
In Maharashtra the corruption is far more than is being perceived. The fact that corruption deals are being covered up means that the rot has sunk in very deep indeed. For example a lottery scam was reported (a nexus between Finance Department officials and lottery operators) but no one has been indicted so far. It had been discovered that the list of winners was predetermined.
Other scams: The Maharashtra government however has not been able to escape the censure of the World Bank. The bank has found out that funds given for aid have been misappropriated, either for poor quality material or for bribes. This involves a National Aids Control Project and Maharashtra has been seen to been the worst state when it came to irregularities in this project which ran from 1999 to March 2006.
There are various land scams involving forest land in Mumbai and Pune which haven’t yet been exposed but cases have been filed.
The CBI is probing allegations against several top officials of the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), including its former chairman and managing director SC Sharma and executive director PK Deka for their involvement in a Rs 35 million insurance scam. An insurance deal with the Bajaj Allianz for a gas-based power plant at Dibrugarh in upper Assam is under the scanner.
A probe into a World Bank funded health project has been ordered, including the one in Orissa. In the Orissa Health System Development Project (OHSDP), the state government has been accused of procuring of substandard and outdated medical equipment, being responsible for poor construction works, excess payment of professional fees and other irregularities.
A survey conducted by the Institute for Development and Communication (IDC) for the Department of Planning, Punjab Government by it has found out that 76.5 per cent of people pay bribes to officials in the various municipal bodies of the state to get their work done.
In Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, around 59 per cent of the BPL (Below Poverty Line) households, which had interacted with 11 basic government services, reported that they had paid bribe during the past one year (2007). On an average, about Rs.477 as bribes were paid by the poor during this one year. Other states in India were also indicted by this study.
There is a also reportedly a land scam allegedly involving former Tamil Nadu minister N.K.K.P. Raja which has come to light recently. Investigations are on.
Recently the CBI caught some Noida land scam suspects in Lucknow, Noida, Meerut and Ghaziabad for their involvment in a scam that took place in 2004-2005. What had happened was that officials of Noida, UPDESCO and the State Government (allegedly) allotted residential plots by falsifying electronic records.
Another scam: A CBI inquiry into a police recruitment scam that took place in the Mulayam Singh regime in the state is being pushed through by Mayawati. She has found large-scale irregularities in the recruitment process.
A social audit of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) has revealed large-scale fraud in material supplies, extortion of money for job cards, dead people registered on muster rolls, and a lack of transparency in the execution of the project. In fact the implementation of the NREG has been plagued with allegation of corruption in other states as well, with nearly 10 lakh poor households having been forced to pay bribes to get benefits under the “flagship” scheme.
The state government requested a CBI probe alleged irregularities in a planned hydroelectric project but the centre has not been forthcoming. The state now is conducting investigations on its own into this. This project has been delayed for over two decades now and costs are climbing. Initially the cost was estimated to be Rs 300 crore, but already Rs 2000 crore has been spent on it. Sadly, while all this wheeling dealing is on the state is facing an acute shortage of power.
A “cartel” at the government-run Indian Museum in Kolkata, one of the biggest and best museums in the country, has been involved misappropriation of funds running into crores. This has been happening since 2004 and the money was siphoned off under the pretext of preserving priceless artifacts. A central government team, which has unearthed the scam has said that the alloted funds were meant not just for Indian Museum, National Library, Rabindra Bharati University Library and Guru Saday Museum in West Bengal, but also for the improvement of the state museums of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Assam.
(Photo copywrited to me and the map is from the Economist)
Note: Many of the words used to list the corruption in various projects/departments are not mine but taken from news reports.
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