The noose, around corruption, is tightening. It’s no longer that easy. Handing the money ‘under the table’ is soon going to be a cliché. There is increased vigilance on all the usual routes of corruption. It has become very for a prospective bribe giver send the receiver behind the bars. All you need to call the CBI who will give the notes treated with a special powder which catches finger prints, making easy for the investigating agency to prove the incident in the court of law. Then there is e-tendering, online job interview, online form submission etc. Along with technological advancement, there is a decline trend of corruption at the lower level. Under CCTV surveillance, a peon can hardly ask money from visitors to fix an appointment with his boss! Recently, the Narendra Modi government took a historic step by abolishing oral interviews for candidates selected in written tests. Although controversial, the decision is set to crush corruption to a great extent across the country. States like Assam where the BJP came to power for the first time has already decided to emulate the Central model of doing away with interviews.

Another reason for corruption, most at the behest of government officials and lawmakers, is the enough loopholes to hide the illegally acquired assents. The main motive behind corruption is to convert the money into assets. House-wives and children of government officials having crores in their bank accounts is no wonder. In state like Meghalaya there are bigger loopholes as the majority local tribals, who are Scheduled Tribes, don’t have to pay income tax. Government officials, barring a few at the top, were in no need to declare assets in their names, let alone those in the names of all others in the family and outside. But, the recent government order, as required by the Lokayukta Act, made it mandatory for all government officials to declare the assets registered in their own and dependents’ names. While in Central government, the norm was in vogue for long, its implementation in the state government is expected to clean the system to a great extent. When officials would have little room to stash the illegal money, they are likely to opt for the honest route! It is true that ‘if there is a will there is a way’, but that ‘will’ (to corrupt) might lose its strength if there are few ways (to convert money into assets) left!

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on June 10, 2016)

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