Tackling corruption comes with its fair share of challenges: Economic Survey
New Delhi: Tackling corruption is rewarding, but the job comes with its fair share of challenges. That’s one of the “broader lessons for the Indian economy” listed by the Economic Survey of 2017-18, tabled in Parliament on Monday.
The observation comes amid a government move to encourage greater transparency and put in place stricter anti-corruption measures in public life. While talking about the challenges, the Economic Survey cited the examples of the November 2016 demonetisation of high-value currency notes and the July 2017 roll-out of the goods and services tax (GST).
“...while there are significant social and economic benefits to attacking corruption and weak governance, addressing those pathologies entails challenges. In the case of the GST and demonetization, informal cash-intensive sectors of the economy were impacted,” the Economic Survey said in its analysis.
It added: “...in the case of spectrum, coal, and renewables, auctions may have led to a winners’ curse, whereby firms overbid for assets, leading to adverse consequences in each of the sectors; but they created transparency and avoided rent-seeking with enormous benefits, actual and perceptional.”
Corruption has been a key political and electoral issue particularly since the 2014 general elections in which suspected irregularities in the allocation of spectrum and coal blocks were major campaign issues. The government is of the view that steps like demonetisation, GST and stricter action against benami transactions help address the issue. Experts agreed.
“The post-demonetisation era saw the absence of any deterrence by way of legal provision because our current laws go soft on those engaging in financial and other online frauds,” said Pavan Duggal, cyber law expert at the Supreme Court.
A Union home ministry official said experts were working to establish a system which would help tackle cases of online fraud post-demonetisation.
“Since demonetization, a lot of financial transactions have been carried out online and we are making sure that it all stays secure,” said the official, requesting anonymity.