|Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual introduction.
Body. What are various reasons for corruption in implementation of welfare programmes? Mention measures to reduce this corruption.
Conclusion. Way forward.
Welfare schemes are the programmes that are meant to improve lives and provide support to vulnerable people in the society. Indian Government, at all levels, announces welfare schemes from time to time like Antyodaya Anna Yojana, Bharat Nirman, etc. Although these programmes have helped to alleviate poverty and benefit many, most of the programmes are mired with leakages and corruption.
Various reasons for corruption in implementation of welfare programmes:
- Lack of scrutiny: Government schemes are meant to implement at local level. Lack of effective scrutiny through timely inspections, audits lead to unaccountability and gross mismanagement of funds.
- Lack of awareness: Due to illiteracy and unawareness of various government schemes and its provisions lead to corruption. False beneficiaries, fake documents are used to misuse funds meant for the benefit of schemes.
- Weak enforcement of laws: Weak enforcement of laws for punishing corrupt has led to a sense of fearlessness among corrupts. India’s anti-corruption law has failed to punish the corrupt and instil fears regarding corruption.
- Political inaction: Most of the time, officials involved in corruption have political backing. Many times politicians or their family members are involved in corruption. Thus, any effort to punish the culprit goes in vain due to political interference.
- Centralised administration: The welfare bureaucracy is deeply centralised that comes at the cost of building a local government system that is genuinely responsive to citizen needs.
- Judicial delays: Judiciary in India is overburdened. A case of corruption drags for years. In the meantime, the culprit is able to destroy the evidence against him and influence the judiciary.
- Weak local governance: Local governance is must for effective implementation of welfare programmes. Due to absence of strong Panchayats and lack of effective local scrutiny the programmes are used as an opportunity for corruption.
- Tight scrutiny: The only way to fix India’s broken welfare state is by curbing discretion and tightening scrutiny. Timely inspections are must to prevent any leakages.
- Universal basic income: The 2017 economic survey has argued that by moving resources directly to beneficiary accounts, income transfers have the potential of cutting down bureaucratic layers. This could curb discretion, simplify monitoring and therefore reduce corruption.
- Technology: A technology-based reforms are needed to streamline the administration of fund transfers by reducing administrative layers.
- Deeper reforms: Transparency with deeper reforms like enhancing human resources, technical skills and building citizen awareness will have the positive effects on transparency
- Strengthening local governments: Efforts must be made to strengthen capacities of local administrators and Panchayats to deliver the scheme well.
Corruption in welfare programmes leads to fiscal waste and hinder the development of society. Schemes like MGNREGA, PDS, mid-day meals etc. had been mired with controversies of corruption. A proper scrutiny with stringent punishments are needed.