Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Corrupt Indians siphoned away $125 bn in 8 years
More than $125 billion worth of funds meant for the uplift of poor Indians was illegally siphoned out of the country by corrupt politicians and corporates, between 2000 and 2008, hindering inclusive growth, says a Washington think-tank
Even as India’s economic growth continues, the poor continue to stay poor with rampant corruption resulting in the siphoning away of over $125 billion in illicit capital, between 2000 and 2008, says a Washington think-tank. “Both corrupt political and corporate officers managed to siphon off funds intended to aid the people of India,” it said.
Noting that “much of the funds flowing out are generated at home within India and then sent illegally abroad,” an upcoming report from Global Financial Integrity (GFI) says: “So the growth of corruption and India’s underground economy contributes significantly to illicit financial flows from the country.”
“Recent efforts in India to challenge this corrupt affront on humanity have been met with violence,” junior GFI economist Karly Curcio says in a blog on the report on illicit financial flows from India, and explaining links between these illicit flows, poverty, corruption, and crime.
“As India develops economically and builds better infrastructure, one would think that all Indian citizens would see an increased standard of living, and that the income inequality levels would fall,” says the blog following a news report about recent crimes in India against whistleblowers.
Noting that “in India… as the economy grows so do illicit flows,” Curcio writes: “This correlation exhibits the increased incentives to conduct illicit flows, because more money is flowing within the system to steal away…”
“As corruption continues to plague both the country and its ability to develop free and fair institutions to monitor and charge corrupt officials, most of India’s economic growth will never make it to the people of India,” Curcio warns.
India’s legislative efforts to protect whistleblowers and those who work to fight corruption are a step in the right direction. However, more must be done, Curcio says, calling for global efforts to make it harder to move illicit funds around the world.
Eleven people have been killed or found dead in mysterious circumstances in India this year after exposing corruption in schools and public utilities, illegal mining and unauthorised water and electricity hookups, according to activist groups. Hundreds of others have been attacked, threatened or harassed for similar reasons.
In July, about 500 whistleblowers marched in New Delhi to protest the deaths and demand effective anti-corruption and whistleblower-protection legislation in a country where graft is more the norm than the exception.
The demand for such a law began six years ago after a national outcry over the killing of a 30-year-old engineer who had exposed a corruption scandal in highway construction.
Last month, the Indian government finally introduced landmark draft legislation -- titled the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosures Bill -- that proposes a system for dealing with corruption allegations and a three-year jail term for officials who disclose the identity of whistleblowers. It has invited activists to comment on the draft legislation by the end of September.
Despite recent rapid economic growth, expansion of the middle class and spread of education and the mass media, India ranked 84th out of 180 countries last year in the annual corruption perception survey conducted by the global watchdog Transparency International. Of the various Indian departments analysed, the police force emerged as the biggest offender.
Analysts say public intolerance of corruption has grown in recent years, spurring the push for stronger laws to combat it. Since 2005, anti-corruption crusaders have used a law mandating the right to information to access official files and expose malfeasance -- but this has invited violent reprisals.
Posted by Blogaholic at 11/16/2010 05:55:00 AM