Corruption a national security threat: Ansari

April 23rd, 2008 - 11:00 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) Terming corruption as a national security threat, Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari Wednesday warned that if not weeded out, it would shake the “legitimacy of the Indian state”. Ansari, while speaking at the annual D.P. Kohli Memorial lecture here, pointed out that a majority of Indians believe that corruption in the country was endemic and not just “hearsay”.

“According to the Transparency International’s India Corruption Study 2005, at least 62 percent of citizens think that corruption is not hearsay, but they in fact had first-hand experience of paying bribes or using a contact to get a job done in a public office,” he said.

The lecture on “The Enemy within - Corruption, Development and Governance”, held at Vigyan Bhawan, was attended by National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Vijay Shanker, the agency’s staff and former directors.

Ansari, a former Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, said the evil had an adverse impact on governance and, therefore, on development. He stressed that good governance is participatory, transparent, inclusive, accountable and effective, and the country faired poorly in this regard.

“The creeping assault of corruption on the national fabric has shaken the legitimacy of the indian state,” the vice president said.

“The Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2007 ranks India at 72, bracketed with China, Brazil, Mexico, Morocco, Peru and Surinam and with a score of 3.5 out of 10,” Ansari noted

He also took note of the rampant corruption in politics and the constant pressure on the CBI to circumvent the law in favour of the high and mighty.

“A former director of the CBI had written last week about the near unanimity among political parties that the agency should succeed only against minor players and not against major perpetrators of the crime of bribery,” Ansari said.

“However, to restore and enhance public confidence in the investigation agency, its work in corruption cases should be immunized from political considerations,” he added.

Ansari said that at the moment the impediment in the social psyche and behaviour were an unavoidable fact of life.

“Legal structures are necessary to confront breaches of law. Experience highlights their inadequacy. It has been noted that the conviction rate in our courts is only six percent,” Ansari said.

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