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

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.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.