J&K alarmingly corrupt

J&K alarmingly corrupt: TI

PDS, Power, PHE ‘meritorious’

Syed Junaid Hashmi

April 2011

JAMMU, Mar 16: After dropping a bombshell in the year 2005 by ranking Jammu and Kashmir as country’s second most corrupt state, Transparency International (TI) has dubbed the state as ‘alarmingly corrupt’ and concluded that levels of corruption have increased despite state’s disappointing ranking.

The survey conducted in the year 2008 with special focus on BPL households, mostly in rural India has placed Jammu and Kashmir at number 3 with Assam at the top followed by Bihar among the alarmingly corrupt states. Further, the corruption is alarming in Public Distribution System (PDS), Electricity and water supply.

Designed and conducted by Centre for Media Studies (CMS) in collaboration with the Transparency International India (TII), this corruption study has rebutted official claims and concluded that every three out of four rural BPL households, who paid bribe, paid it directly to concerned government staff for getting their grievance redressed.

The survey is based on the actual experience of paying bribe by BPL households in availing one or more of the 11 selected public service, divided broadly into “basic services” (PDS, Hospital Service, School Education (up to 12th), Electricity Service and Water Supply Service) and “need based services” (Land Records/Registration, Housing Service, Forest, NREGS, Banking Service and Police Service (traffic and crime).

Besides, among the three districts of Jammu and Kashmir included in the survey, perception of corruption among BPL families was the highest in Srinagar (63 per cent) while in Anantnag and Doda districts, the proportion was 48 and 40 per cent, respectively. Report has called upon the state government for serious introspection, restructuring and even repositioning of certain services meant for BPL households.

Among basic services in Jammu and Kashmir, nearly 30 per cent of the BPL households paid bribe for Electricity service. Moreover, it needs to be mentioned here that in the Power Sector Reforms rating for the year 2006 by CRISIL-ICRA, Jammu & Kashmir had got lowest score -9.58 among all the Indian states. The other basic service where a high proportion of the BPL households paid bribe was Water Supply service.

Survey also found out that for the services like Housing, Forest, Police, and Land Records and Registration, as high as 70-80 per cent of the BPL households felt that corrupt practices were prevalent in these services. It has concluded that this may also be one of the reasons of comparatively low level of interaction of BPL households with public services.

Besides, the report maintains that for most of the services, majority of the BPL households in Jammu and Kashmir felt that there has not been any change in the level of corruption since the first report was published in the year 2002 and second in 2005. State government might not have taken much initiative to check corruption in public services, report has observed.

Report has also taken note of the fact that as a part of good governance, the services available in the delivery points should be efficient so that citizens need not make repeat visits for the same purpose. However, in the case of Jammu and Kashmir, survey report has said that visitors to the service delivery points pay bribe to avoid repeat visits in the process of getting a particular work attended to.

It maintains that between 11 and 40 per cent of the BPL households in Jammu & Kashmir had to make repeat visit (three or more times) to basic service delivery points for the same purpose. Proportion was higher in the case of need-based services. Survey report has stressed that out of the total BPL households (106,000) in Jammu and Kashmir, 30,917 households paid bribe to one or more services to get their work attended to.

On an average, a BPL household paid Rs. 557 to one or other service in the last one year as bribe. Overall, total bribe involved in availing eleven services in the year is estimated to be Rs. 17.2 million. The survey concludes that though the RTI Act has been enforced in Jammu and Kashmir, the awareness about it among BPL households is low.

The survey has credited Jammu and Kashmir for being the only state which passed a bill to attach the assets of corrupt public officials when there is prima-facie evidence against them, pending investigations and prosecutions.

Source: Earlytimes