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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Corruption widespread in India, says US report

PTI  Washington, February 28, 2014
First Published: 08:55 IST(28/2/2014) | Last Updated: 12:33 IST(28/2/2014)

There is widespread corruption in India in all levels of the government including judiciary, said a US Congress-mandated report.

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"Corruption was widespread," said the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013 released on Thursday by US secretary of state John Kerry.

According to the report, though the law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, the Indian government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.

"Corruption was present at all levels of government. The CBI registered 583 cases of corruption between the months of January and November."

"The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) received 7,224 cases in 2012. Of those, 5,528 were received in 2012 and an additional 1,696 remained from 2011. The commission recommended action on 5,720 cases," the report said.

"The CVC operated a toll-free hotline to lodge complaints and a web portal to share information. NGOs noted that bribes typically were paid to expedite services, such as police protection, school admission, water supply, or government assistance," it said.

Civil society organisations drew public attention to corruption throughout the year, including through public demonstrations and websites that featured individual stories of corruption, it added.

The government designated chief vigilance officers to address public complaints and grievances in the banking, insurance, and other sectors serviced by private, public, and corporate bodies.

Parliament passed a bill in December establishing an ombudsman organisation known as a Lokpal to investigate allegations of government corruption.

The State Department said many government-run programs to alleviate poverty and provide employment suffered from poor implementation and corruption.

For example, after obtaining government documents under the RTI Act, a petitioner alleged misappropriation of funds in the Maharashtra Tribal Development Department.

On June 13, the Bombay High Court ordered that a special team be formed to investigate an alleged fraud in which money meant for tribal welfare was used for other purposes, it said.

A case against several suspects, including Tiruvannamalai municipality councillor KVN Venkatesan – connected to the July 2012 killing of social activist Rajamohan Chandra, who had filed public-interest litigation cases against government officials, politicians, and realtors suspected of corruption and land grabbing – awaited trial at year's end.


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