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

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”