Skip to main content

Ease of doing business? RTI reveals World Bank's omission of corrupt practices may have hyped India's ranking

By Our Representative
Right to Information (RTI) replies from the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), which is responsible for issuing import licenses, as also Central Vigilance Commission (CVC, which exercises jurisdiction over DGFT) have revealed that the anti-graft system of both the organizations have failed to establish culpability of any official in any of the 180+ complaints of corruption and vigilance received by them between April 2013-February 2017.
Revealing this, Venkatesh Nayak, senior RTI activist, said, "Either the internal investigation methodology is not robust or the corrupt are so proficient in their actions that they leave behind very little prosecutable evidence."
Nayak, who is with the well known advocacy group, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), said, the vigilance section of DGFT did send some statistics about vigilance and corruption complaints received and transferred the RTI application to the regional offices of the vigilance section, Department of Commerce, it's parent department, in Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.
However, surprisingly, between April 2013 and February 2017, regional offices of DGFT, of "received 181 vigilance and corruption complaints", yet, " none of them have yet resulted in the launch of criminal proceedings under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988", said Nayak in an email alert to Counterview.
"None of the cases have yet resulted in the initiation of disciplinary proceedings under the conduct rules applicable to these officers/employees. In only one case, initiated in 2009, major penalty was imposed on the officer but details of the case were not provided. The regional office of the DGFT in Kolkata did not even bother to send a reply to the RTI application", Nayak complained.
As for the CVC, said Nayak, it replied that "it received only three vigilance complaints during the years 2013-15, all of which were referred to the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO), Ministry of Commerce for action. The CVC did not disclose the ultimate fate of these cases."
The activist added, "CVC also received two whistleblower complaints during this period which were forwarded for necessary action to the CVO, Department of Commerce. The CVC also admitted that it does not expect any report from the CVO about action taken on these whistleblower complaints."
Nayak decided to file RTI queries because he found that the recent World Bank report on Ease of Doing Business, even as "upgrading" India's ranking from 130th to 100th, has not included corruption as a factor hindering setting up a business.
The 10 parameters it focused on are: starting a business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; registering property; getting credit; protecting minority investors; paying taxes; trading across borders; enforcing contracts; and resolving insolvency.
Referring to another World Bank report of 2014, Enterprise Survey, based on an interview of 9,281 small, medium and large businesses across 27 states, Nayak said, it had found, 43.4% said they expected to give gifts for obtaining an import license; 51.5% said they expected to give gifts to get a power supply connection; and 52.5% said they expected to give gifts to get a water supply connection.
"Given these startling figures, the Ease of Doing Business studies and any ranking of a country will remain incomplete unless the parameter of 'corruption' is also included", insisted Nayak, adding, this became the basis of his RTI plea to DGFT, along with the authorities which provide water and power connection to those seeking import licenses.

Comments

TRENDING

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

As fear 'grips' right liberals, Arvind Panagariya, too, would be declared anti-national?

By Rajiv Shah
It is surely well-known by now that India's top people in the power-that-be have been castigating all those who disagree with them as "anti-nationals". Nothing unusual. If till yesterday only "secular liberals", and "left-liberals" were declared anti-national, facts, however, appear to have begun surfacing that, now, guns are being trained against those who could be qualified as right liberals, too. Let me be specific.

Indian Muslims' position being 'undermined' by new nationalism gripping the country

By Moin Qazi*
Muslims are the second-largest demographic of India, with nearly 14 per cent of the country’s population, or roughly 172 million people, but they are so marginalised that their presence in important public spheres is almost invisible. Most of them are poor, semi-literate and driven into ghettos.

Australia's centre-right govt 'wakes up' to Islamophobia, swears by multicultural legacy

By Neeraj Nanda*
In an interesting turn, the federal government in Australia, which is led by the centre-right Liberal Party, has slammed incidents of Islamophobia gripping the country, calling them ‘completely unacceptable’. A media statement from David Coleman, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, has referred to a report released by the Charles Sturt University to point towards the danger.

National award winning film 'Hellaro' co-produced by three chartered accountants

By Our Representative
“Hellaro”, a Gujarati feature film produced by Saarthi Productions in association with Harfanmaula Films (Ahmedabad) was declared as the Best Feature Film at the National Film Awards which was conferred by the Government of India. The film also won the Special Jury Award for the Best Actress to all the 13 actresses of the film.
Ashish Patel produced the movie, which has been co-produced three co-producers, Aayush Patel, Prateek Gupta and Mit Jani, all of whom, interestingly, started their filmmaking journey after becoming Chartered Accountants in 2012.
“Hellaro” is directed by Abhishek Shah, who has been working in Gujarati theatre since the past 17 years as writer, director and actor and has received numerous awards for his plays. He has also worked as a casting director for 12 films.
“Hellaro” is a period drama based in Kutch and has been co-written by Abhishek Shah and Prateek Gupta. Gupta previously received the Best Debut Director Award, along with Mit Jan…

Ahmedabad students sign huge banner in support of JNU anti-fee campaign

By Our Representative
A left-wing students' union in Gujarat went in for a massive signature campaign in Ahmedabad in support of the anti-fee hike movement of Jawharlal Nehru University (JNU) students. The All-India Democratic Students' Organisation (AIDSO) organised the campaign near the main gate of the historic Gujarat College, whose students had made a major mark during Independence movement.