The Lokayukta of Karnataka, justice Santosh Hegde, retired on Tuesday after issuing one last, devastating report on corruption in the state. It cost B.S. Yeddyurappa his chief ministership.
More than the report and its political aftermath, it is Hegde’s remedy for the problem that merits close attention. In comments made days before the end of his tenure, he argued that checking corruption requires greater deregulation and better enforcement of existing laws and provisions.
This is in striking contrast to what many of his colleagues on the committee drafting the Lokpal Bill want: A lokpal with overriding powers. They should listen to him.
In recent months, there has been a flood of cynicism on the issue. While corruption is a serious problem, it is not a hopeless task. It’s more a matter of reordering incentives and much less about morality.