The machinery of democracy is highly compatible with corruption; but it has this redeeming feature that, in the hands of nobler men, the same machinery can be so adjusted as to present the strongest guarantee against corruption.

It is gratifying to note that after seven years of lackadaisical meanderings in the labyrinths of corruption fights, the Government of India is in a mood to settle down to business.  New Delhi’s decision to set up an anti-corruption department to co-ordinate existing measures and to expand and improve them has not come a day too soon.

One of the highlights of our toddling democracy has been the crop of highlevel scandals punctuating our public life since freedom came.  Some of these have been sternly dealt with, some glossed over.  The net result of it all was that the public did not get that confidence in the integrity of administration which is essential for the efficient functioning of a democracy….

While it is good thus to expand the scope of the proposed anti-corruption department, it is also essential to bear in mind that in a democracy corruption manifests itself more in the form of nepotism and favouritism by popular leaders than in the shape of material remunerations being accepted by civil servants. Particular vigilance is necessary to check such malpractices among the leaders as it is these practices more than the old-fashioned bribery of professional bureaucrats, that ultimately undermine the people’s morale.

The extent of useful work the anti-corruption department can do will depend upon the actual scope of the department. But the psychological effect of the very decision to set up such a department is enough to make the future look bright.

(EDIT, December 30, 1954.)

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