New Delhi: Technology can be deployed effectively to fight corruption, precluding the need for fresh legislation or oversight bodies such as the Lokpal but this requires a change in mindset, said Nandan Nilekani, chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
The suggestion from Nilekani comes as the debate over corruption has been revived thanks to fresh accusations by activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal. In contrast with the civil and political action proposed by Kejriwal and his team, Nilekani suggested the use of technology to ensure that benefits reach their intended targets.
Nilekani classified corruption into three types—large-deal corruption, retail-level corruption and tax evasion.
“When you have a welfare system, it increases the number of touch points between the resident and the state,” Nilekani said while delivering the 19th Lovraj Kumar memorial lecture on “Tackling Corruption-Some Alternative Approaches” on Thursday. “The moment you create a non-choice system of public delivery, the choice rests with the supplier. Is there then a way to use technology to give a choice?” Nilekani asked, referring to the usage of the Aadhar or unique ID card in the supply chain.
Nilekani stressed the need for a new debate on solving the issue of corruption. “There is no silver bullet that will weed out corruption. There cannot be an ad-hoc, knee-jerk reaction to complicated issues of governance,” he said. The late Lovraj Kumar, India’s first Rhodes Scholar, was a civil servant who played a key part in formulating the country’s economic policies between about 1960 and the mid 1980s.