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Mayhem of Corruption in Manipur

Transforming corruption control and consolidation of good governance into public policy and institutional reforms in Manipur is still a herculean challenge.

BySanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Updated 27 Mar 2022, 6:32 pm

(Representational Image: Pixabay)
(Representational Image: Pixabay)

 

Is the Manipur government serious about tackling corruption that is eating into every system of the state? Despite the growing problem of widespread corruption in the state, there is lack of concerted efforts or campaign to fight against the menace of corruption in the state. Is the government truly anti-corruption? How can corruption be controlled in Manipur?

Corruption is a form of dishonesty or a criminal offense which is undertaken by a person or an organisation which is entrusted with a position of authority in order to acquire illicit benefits or abuse power for one’s personal gain.

Corruption may involve many activities which include bribery and embezzlement and it may also involve practices which are legal in many countries.

Political corruption occurs when an office-holder or other government employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain.

Corruption is most common in kleptocracies, oligarchies, nacro-state and mafia states.

Corruption and crime are endemic sociological occurrences which appear with regular frequency in virtually all countries on a global scale in varying degrees and proportions.

Each individual nation allocates domestic resources for the control and regulation of corruption and the deterrence of crime.

Strategies which are undertaken in order to counter corruption are often summarized under the umbrella term “anti-corruption”.

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Stephen D Morris, a Professor of politics, writes that political corruption is the illegitimate use of public power to benefit a private interest.

Economist Ian Senior defined corruption as an action to secretly provide goods or a service to a third party to influence certain actions which benefit the corrupt, a third party or both in which the corrupt agent has authority.

World Bank economist Daniel Kaufmann extended the concept to include '' legal corruption’’ in which power is abused within the confines of the law-as those with power often have the ability to make laws for their protection.

The effect of corruption in infrastructure is to increase costs and construction time, lower the quality and decrease the benefit.

Corruption can occur on different scales.

Corruption ranges from small favour between a small number of people ( petty corruption) to corruption that affects the government on a large scale (grand corruption) and the corruption that is so prevalent that it is a part of the everyday structure of society, including corruption as one of the symptoms of organized crime ( system corruption).

According to R Klitgaard, corruption will occur if the corruption gain is greater than the penalty multiplied by the likelihood of being caught and prosecuted. Since a high degree of monopoly and discretion accompanied by a low degree of transparency does not automatically lead to corruption, a fourth variable of ‘’ morality or integrity’’; has been introduced by others.

The moral dimension has  an intrinsic components and refers to a ‘’ mentally problem’’ and an extrinsic components referring to circumstances  like poverty, inadequate remuneration, inappropriate work conditions and inoperable or over-complicated procedure which demoralize people and set them search for ‘’alternative solution’’.

Based more on concept than on evidence, it is taken for granted that corruption is caused by a few dominating factors; authoritarian rule, intervention in the economy and pre-modern cultural values and institutions.

In this conception, corruption is a problem among poor states like Manipur.

Certainly corruption in Manipur is conceived as a titanic challenge, causing damage to every aspect of social fabric, political instability and undermining confidence in public institutions.

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The popular concept of petty vs grand corruption suggests only a distinction about the amount of money or political and economic actors involved in corrupt transactions. For a long time, the abuse of public office for private gain also known as corruption is a part of public life in Manipur.

Nepotism, embezzlement and bribes are business as usual, a natural component of political culture of Manipur. Influenced by this context, leaders, academics, politicians met the debate about whether corruption is controllable with pessimism and skepticism. Its prolific growth begs the question: Is corruption omnipresent part of history, culture of state or are reforms strategies able to attack the problem systematically?

The involvement of politics and reforms to address corruption poses an even greater question: How can corruption be controlled in the state? This has become the central question challenging policy makers, leaders, students, activists and analysts.

The arguments of this question ask: whether corruption is just a moralist demand to government in the state or a new version about homemade obstacles to development and whether corruption ought to be tackled by public policies and reforms demanding strategies beyond moralist discourse and lip service.

In Manipur, the capacity to respond on the policy level to these utmost demands is still weak and produces evasive reactions like discourse on morals and good intentions. Transforming corruption control and consolidation of good governance into public policy and institutional reforms in Manipur is still a herculean challenge.

Growing awareness about the problems linked to corruption resulted from either deterioration of moral standards of all stakeholders of government or a higher sensitivity to the public or both. Local institutions like police, bureaucracy, courts and legislative are deeply involved in the network of corruption and organized crime. The state political system lost its capacity for self-recovery. The expectations of walking scot-free set strong incentives for corrupt behaviors in the state.

Citizens of a state may commonly conclude that corruption pays off economically while integrity depends exclusively on a firm stance on morals and values. The dimensions of systematic damage by corruption is difficult to measure but nonetheless has relevant consequences and includes the impact on citizens' trust in public institutions.

Sadly, there is no concerted effort or campaign in the state to fight against the menace of corruption. So the common people are in a tight spot, the state forces unleashing bedlam on the people, while at the same time non-state actors (insurgent groups) generate mayhem in the lives of the people who have no resources and power. The power of the gun and thirst for money and power make Manipur a moribund society.

(The views expressed is personal)

 

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First published:27 Mar 2022, 6:32 pm

Tags:

manipurpolitycorruptionimphalgovernment policy

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Assistant Professor, JCRE Global College, Babupara, Imphal. The writer can be reached at sjugeshwor7@gmail.com

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