Is corruption a sign of governance deficit?

Is corruption a sign of governance deficit?

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln. Governance means to make decisions and execute them; to see that the policies decided are implemented. Effective implementation is categorized as good governance. The main causes of corruption can be - low salaries, complicated procedures for getting work done, moral degradation, lack of transparency of public dealings, political corruption, avoiding taxation, social environment, etc. Instability in government may also pull a nation and its leaders towards corruption. Individuals tend to take advantage of that. Thus from above one can easily see that corruption is sign of governance deficit. But is it really so?

Yes –

1. It is well known that bad governance is breeding grounds for corruption. Deficit in governance leads to corruption. So, one can definitely say that corruption is sign of governance deficit.

2. The above causes can be treated as secondary factors. The primary factor being system of governance or rather simply, bad governance. Corruption is not just about ethics. It is also about how the government is set up and managed.

3. The unenthusiastic and lazy attitude of the government officials leads to deficit of governance and this leads to corruption as people are in need of services and essential commodities from the government.

4. Since bad governance by the officials goes unnoticed and no one is generally held responsible for it, it has become a tool for the officials and politicians to indulge in corruption. Due to needs of the people and bad governance, people have to indulge in corruption to get things done.

5. The relation of corruption and governance deficit can simply be put as - Not doing your own assigned duty is one part of bad governance. People need services. So sometimes, people and mostly officials resort to corruption to get things done. Here it clearly shows that corruption is based on bad governance. If governance is good there would be no need for corruption.

6. Corruption is done for personal gains. Thus when there are no adequate measures of supervision, accountability, etc. there is a chance for corruption, because with transparency and accountability, one will not engage in corrupt practices. Even if there are adequate measures there is general inefficiency in their implementation. When there is no one to keep a tab it’s difficult to monitor transactions, daily activities, etc. These are features of bad governance and thus one can say that bad governance leads to corruption.

7. The lack of a consistent anti-corruption policy within a government will wash away attempts by any part of that government to stop corruption. Other bad governance example can be absence of results based management in public service delivery. Inefficient governance not only gives an avenue for conceiving corruption but also provides it an opportunity to thrive.

No –

1. It is within the people - be it citizens or officials. It’s psychological. It’s a manifestation of personal greed. It has become habitual. It has become an easy way out.

2. Saying that corruption is sign of governance deficit, means putting blame entirely on the government and administrators. It is not so. People too are equally responsible. If they don’t give bribe and start opposing, soon all will fall in line.

3. Where there is good governance there too citizens offer bribe to avoid queues, gain favors, make the illegal work, etc. They can corrupt an honest officer or entice him.

4. Many a times corruption leads to bad governance. E.g. the concept of Public Distribution System (PDS) is very beneficial to achieve food security. There is essentially no bad governance aspect in it. While implementation, if the ration shop owners divert and sell the ration food grains in black market, and also entice the PDS officials, this will amount to corruption. This corruption leads to bad governance as the PDS officials being corrupt will overlook this theft and targets of PDS are not achieved.

5. We can also see in developed countries like USA, UK, Canada, etc. that governance is good and effective. Yet there is a large amount of corruption there, which is mostly hidden. So, one cannot say that corruption is sign of governance deficit.

6. William Gaddis said “Power doesn't corrupt people, people corrupt power.”

For every clever person who goes to the trouble of creating a foolproof system, there is an army of people, clever and otherwise, who will inevitably spend even more time trying to beat it.’- (Anonymous). Yet still measures can be taken to at least reduce corruption, if not eradicate it completely. The first and the foremost is that Parliament and parliamentarians should improve the way government works so that corrupt behavior is punishable and opportunities for corruption are limited through the laws; making functioning of public offices and officials much more transparent; public disclosure of assets and income; simplified procedure to get work done; evolving ethical conduct code and its enforcement strategy; citizens’ vigilance groups and organizations; having institutional devices like - Ombudsman, Lokpal, Lokayukta, CVC, etc. One must understand that efforts for eradication of corruption must involve external steps and steps internal to oneself too.
Post your comment


  • RE: Is corruption a sign of governance deficit? -Deepa Kaushik (09/17/15)
  • We have moved much ahead from the time when we should have ideally discussed this topic regarding the reason behind corruption. Corruption has poisoned our country in a drastic manner and thishas crossed the limits when we can think of implementing the principle of removal of cause to get the desired result.

    People have grown stubborn and much aggressive in the present era and we can only expect a multifold increase inm this attitude from the generations to come. This attitude has made the law and order situation worst in the country. With such a worst impact on the law andorder situation, we cannot hope to rectify things and align them back just by removal of the cause for corruption.

    We are living a situation where we need to overpower the corrupt practise by some strict rules and regulations. Once we curb the spread of corruption any further, then we can try to reduce the existing level of corruption by hunting for such cause and effect phenomeno. Government deficit is oneof the many factors that has paved way to corruption. Yet the foremost among the list is the incorrect morale.

    Rather than a deficit blaming the government alone, we should ideally say that people have grown greedy and they don't mind making easy money. It starts from the upbringing in the family. Also, the respect for the judiciary and law has vanished. We need to rectify our mentality and gain some respect for our nation and our fellow citizens to put a full stop to corruption in actual terms.
  • RE: Is corruption a sign of governance deficit? -Dilip (09/16/15)
  • Good governance is essential to control corruption. Without a good control system, a society is bound to be corrupt. A good governance can establish a better measures to check and monitor ill deeds.