World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu, who was until recently India’s chief economic advisor, on Monday supported the anti-corruption movement in the country saying it would help in better governance.
“The civil society activism on corruption is a good thing. It will put pressure on the government,” Basu said at a conference on the World Development Report. “Some of the anti-corruption movement is desirable.”
However, he did not mention India Against Corruption leader Arvind Kejriwal, who at the weekend faced criticism from Deepak Parekh, chairman of housing finance firm HDFC.
Notably, Basu had faced controversy when he spoke last year in defence of those forced to give bribes. In a March 2011 paper titled “Why, for a Class of Bribes, the Act of Giving a Bribe should be Treated as Legal,” Basu, who was then chief economic adviser, had come out with a novel concept for combating corruption by suggesting that giving bribes be made a legitimate activity, while bribe takers be punished. Citing examples on how people are harassed into paying bribes for things they are legally entitled to, the paper said, “giver of a harassment bribe should have full immunity from the state.”