Declining graft curve is welcome | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 30, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 30, 2012

Editorial

Declining graft curve is welcome

Increasing bribe rates worrying, though

It is good to note a downward trend in the incidence of corruption as revealed by the anti-graft body TIB in its latest survey report.
Whilst corruption in public and private sectors has come down by 28.4 percent the bribe rate has doubled in the last two years. Health sector is the lone exception where graft has significantly increased to 40.2 percent from 33.2 percent over the same period.
Has the drop in levels of corruption, even though modest, come about fortuitously. Not at all, for public awareness, digitisation of some public offices and anti-corruption training for government officials played a contributory role. Thus, we exactly know the areas where exertions would have to be made to make a greater impact on incidence of financial gratification.
Households paid as much as 21,955 crore in bribe in 2012 for service in various sectors which comprises a shocking 2.4 percent of the GDP. Labour migration tops the list at 77 percent followed by 75.8 percent in law enforcement, 59 percent in land administration, 57.1 percent in judiciary, 40.2 percent in health and 40.1 percent in education.
The increase in the rates of bribery is put down to high rate of inflation which only underlines the unsparing extractive nature of corruption. Speed money has to be paid for expeditious service, or let alone different points at which the palm would be shoved out to receive bribe even in extending normal services. So long as the attitude of public officials and service providers does not change from one of doing favour to serving the public for which they are paid anyway by the taxpayers' money, no radical improvement can be expected. Simultaneously, public awareness would have to be build up to a high pitch of sensitivity to resist any demand for corruption and report it to relevant authorities. The right to information (RTI) can play a catalytic role in all this.

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