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Has Lokpal been effective in curbing corruption in India? What changes are needed?

Has Lokpal been effective in curbing corruption in India? What changes are needed?

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  • GS 2 || Governance & Social Justice || Other Aspects of Governance || Corruption

Why in the news?

Lokpal been effective in curbing corruption in India

Legal Steps taken to combat corruption:

  • Prevention of corruption Act 1988:
    • Provides a definition for corruption as well as a list of behaviors that qualify as corruption, such as bribes, presents in exchange for favours, and so on.
    • Attempts to strike a balance between the need to bring corrupt officers to justice and the need to safeguard honest officers. The government must approve the prosecution of an officer.
    • Employees of the federal government and union territories, as well as employees of public enterprises and nationalised banks, are included.
    • Special judges are appointed for trials under the act, and in appropriate instances, they might order a summary trial.
  • Benami property Act 1988:
    • Recent modifications have broadened the scope of benami property, allowing the government to seize them without the need for court approval.
  • Central Vigilance commission Act 2003:
    • CVC is given statutory status. On the proposal of a Committee consisting of the PM, MHA, and LoP in LS, the President will designate a Central Vigilance Commissioner.
    • Covers AIS officers, center-gazetted officers, and senior members of PSB banks, among others.
    • While conducting the investigation, the Commission has all of the powers of a civil court.
  • Right to Information Act 2005
    • Makes disclosure of information a legal right of the public to promote transparency Section 4 requires proactive disclosure of information and digitization of records Many RTI activists have utilised it to expose flaws in government functioning, such as the MP Vyapam scandal.
  • Whistleblower protection Act 2014:
    • Due to a lack of protection, more than 60 RTI activists have been killed, and many more have been assaulted.
    • People who expose government malfeasance are afforded particular protection under the WPA. Provides anonymity and immunity from prosecution under statutes like the Official Secrets Act of 1923.
  • Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013
    • Appoints an independent authority, the Lokpal at the federal level and the Lokayukta at the state level, to investigate charges of wrongdoing by public workers.
    • A committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chief Justice, the Speaker, and a renowned jurist shall appoint the Lokpal.

Way forward:

  • Bureaucratic reforms:
    • The Civil Service Board was established to rein in excessive political control over the administration.
    • Governments’ hierarchy levels should be reduced.
    • Conducting sensitivity training for civil servants on a regular basis.
  • Reforms to the electoral system:
    • By altering the RPA, criminals will be barred from entering legislatures.
    • Cash donations to political parties are prohibited, and the total expenditure of political parties is limited.
  • Changes in governance:
    • To promote transparency and awareness about rules, the Economic Survey recommends enacting the Transparency of the Rules Act (TORA).
    • Giving citizen charters and social audits legal status and establishing GRMs at all levels to ensure their implementation. Empowering local governments to make them a powerful weapon for direct democracy.

Mains oriented question:

Corruption results in the misappropriation of government funds, administrative inefficiency, and roadblocks to national development. Discuss Kautilya’s point of view. (200 words)