Corruption; A major setback for development

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Kezhokhoto Savi, Advocate & President NVCO
Our political and public leaders talk about development of all kinds in every public gathering, speeches were hurled, promises made especially during election time. Bureaucrats, govt. officers/officials, businessmen give assurances to the general public that they will be provided with this etc….but still all these seemed to be a far cry than achieving it. If there is a strong commitment on the part of the state and central govts to root out corruption in the country, will it not be possible? Or is it so deep rooted that it is impossible to do away with this social menace? India is one of the highest states in the world in term of corruption. Isn’t it high time that India is a developed country by now and all its states in the union a smart city? Inspite of its huge manpower, resources and skill-development, why is it not happening even after 72 years of its independent? What about North Eastern Region? –what stops NE from growing into a developed region?
Corruption in the North Eastern Region is a matter of serious concern. From school days till now we are reading books that India is a developing country our parents has also read the same in their school days in textbook you know one of the major loophole which is stopping India from becoming a developing country is the Corruption. Corruption is the abuse of public power for private gain and the main two(2) keys are greediness and selfishness. India faces the problem of corruption at various levels. In top level, the corruption is in the form of scams and in the bottom level the corruption is in the form of bribes. We often said that politicians are corrupt but that is not the only arena where corruption lies. Corruption lies in every sector and it is ruining our country which is a major setback for development.
Corruption is the greatest enemy for development. Lack of infrastructure development in the state of Nagaland is due to corruption, violation of ethics of technicality, illegal practices in the infrastructure development sector and another reason is almost all the projects were never completed within the stipulated time. Despite of spending huge crores of rupees on infrastructural development works especially in roads, bridges and government buildings. However, due to poor workmanship and poor quality of works the road condition remains deplorable, bridges are falling apart, government building especially schools and offices are in bad condition and moreover maintenance is nil. The answer is all because of corruption contributed by the so called public servants, technocrats, bureaucrats, politicians and contractors with exorbitant rates without following the norms of Nagaland Public Works Department & CPWD Code and the commission deducted from the project funds in the name of ‘Party Fund’, department charges & several other groups, etc. The accountability and transparency in the transaction of funds meant for infrastructural projects is almost failed on the part of government. And the most illegal practices are without following any tender norms the politicians and the ministers grab contract and supply work by way of manipulating and awarding it to their own relatives and people of their own choice, government employees and other non-registered contractors involved in contract and supply work, deduction and collection of abnormal commission, supply of sub-standard goods/material, using of poor quality of materials in the construction works, drawing the project/work amount without doing the work. Another factor is some few contractors were allowed to work with abnormal rates above the NPWD Schedule of Rates plus escalation to the extent that the cost of ten(10) buildings which can be build by other contractors are awarded to these few contractors and they never finish their projects within the stipulated time, the reason being, they continue to inflate the project cost, increase the area of work, make full use of the escalation clauses and completely fleece every possible avenues from a single project, thereby, bringing huge financial burdens to the government every year. To cite an example, the construction of present Nagaland Legislative Assembly Complex at the state capital, wherein, the original estimated cost was Rs.26.87 crores for a stipulated completion period of five(5) years(w.e.f March 1995 to March 2000). Expenditures of the projects upto 31st March 2003 was Rs.66.13 crores and in the early 2004 the revised cost has gone up to Rs. 73.57 crores. Within 9(nine) years tine (i.e. upto March 2004 the contractor could complete only 50% of the project. Till November 2012 the project i.e Assembly complex has escalated to Rs.159.50 crores. And because of this kind of corrupt practices it is putting state government to service huge debts in the subsequent years. Budgets deficits and overspending becomes a yearly affair, thereby bringing untold misery to the society as the economic situation of the entire state gets disrupted. Therefore, corruption is a major setback for development in Nagaland. The Central Government has been sending CBI to several departments to investigates the corrupt practices in recent times but what about the Northeastern states of India particularly Nagaland. The Govt. of India is well aware that Nagaland is one very corrupted state and not sending CBI to curb corruption in Nagaland is nor fair. Every year the Comptroller and Auditor General(CAG) report tabled before the session of Nagaland Legislative Assembly detecting huge crores of rupees been misappropriated by several departments but no action and just got disappeared in the court of Accounts Committee. At present the only scam which CBI is investigating in Nagaland is the construction of Nagaland New High Court complex following the direction of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court. The Government of Nagaland has set up Lokayukta in the state with a retired Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court as Lokayukta and another person who was one of the defeated candidates in the last State General Legislative Assembly Election(Nagaland) with NDPP ticket as Upa-Lokayukta.
Corruption is an issue which adversely affects our economy. Not only has it held the economy back from reaching new heights, but rampant corruption has stunted the country’s development. The largest contributors to corruption are entitlement programs and social spending schemes enacted by the India government. Examples include the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the National Rural Health Mission, the National Food Security Act, etc. Other areas of corruption include to pay billions of rupees in bribes annually to numerous regulatory and police stops on interstate highway. The corruption flourishes from top to bottom level and as a result of this the poor innocent people are becoming victim of this corruption.
(This is a topic of Radio Bridge Programme LIVE interactive discussion, North Eastern Service of All India Radio, Shillong on 6th Sept, 2019 with Panelists – Mr. Samudra Gupta Kashyap, Sr. Journalist from Assam, Mr. Yumnam Rupachandra, Editor-in-Chief, Imphal T.V from Manipur, Advocate Kezhokhoto Savi, President NVCO & Asst. Prof. Kohima Law College from Nagaland and Prof. Biswambhara Mishra, Head of Department of Economics, NEHU from Meghalaya).

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