Ethics and Human Interface:

22. Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption

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Reasons for under-utilization and mis-utilizations of funds

  • Corruption
    Officials and politicians in the form of corruption take away the large sum of the money as a bribe that was allocated to public activities. It implies that funds are not utilized for growth.
    Ex: Money allocated for construction of houses for the poor is consumed by corrupt officials.
  • Political rivalry
    Political class sometimes vendetta if they do not cooperate with their opposition in distributing or releasing funds. They hope to reap their anger for their political gains against their opponents.

    Ex: Government in power not allocating developmental funds to opposition MLAs.
  • Diversion
    The funds allocated to one activity is diverted to another so to meet strict control over finances.

    Ex: Funds allocated to road repair is diverted to giving freebies.
  • Red Tapism
    Colonial bureaucratic attitude sometimes acts as a hindrance
    in carrying out developmental activities. They complicate the process due to which funds are not properly utilized.

Implications

  • Public apathy
    The public suffers due to under/misutilization of funds. The rightful funds do not result in any welfare for society.
  • Rise to extremism
    The problems of Naxalism, Maoism are a product of such apathy shown by the authorities. The funds even though allocated by the government, do not reach people.
  • Instability
    This vendetta political process contributes to political change in society. The game of political blame is just dysfunctional but not effective for society.

Thus, it is required to ensure that the allocated funds reach the public appropriately so that hard-earned taxpayers money is put towards a better cause.

Challenges of Corruption

Corruption is a global phenomenon and it is ubiquitous. Corruption has progressively increased and is now proliferating in our society. Corruption around the world is believed to be endemic and universal and a significant contributor to sluggish economic growth, to stifle investment, to inhibit the provision of public services and to increase inequality to such an extent that international organizations like the World Bank have identified corruption as ‘the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development’ (World Bank, 2001).


Huntington (1968) and other theorists believe that ‘the most prevalent corruption in the most intensive stage of a country’s modernization tends to decline as advanced democracy is institutionalized.’ Basically, Corruption is offence on the part of an authority or powerful party through means that are illegitimate, immoral, or incompatible with ethical standards. Corruption often erupt from patronage and is associated with bribery.

Forms of Corruption

  1. Embezzlement: It is theft of resources by people who are put to administer it. It occurs when unfaithful employees steal from their employers. This is a serious offence when public officials are misappropriating public resources, when state official steals from the public institution in which he or she is employed and from resources he is supposed to administer on behalf of the public.
  2. Nepotism: Nepotism is typical favouritism, in which an officer prefers his proper kinfolk and family members (wife, brothers and sisters, children, nephews, cousins, in-laws). Many unrestricted presidents have tried to secure their (precarious) power position by nominating family members to key political, economic and military/security positions in the state apparatus.
  3. Conflict of Interest: It is small but significant part of wider problem of police ethics and corruption.
  4. Favouritism: Favoritism, irrespective of the creation of these resources, is an agent of power-abuse which involves the ‘privatization’ and a very focused distribution of government resources. The inherent human tendency to favor friends, family is favouritism. In so far as that entails a corrupted distribution. Favoritism is directly associated with corruption. That is the other side of the coin, where the accumulation of resources is corruption.

Characteristics of Corruption

  1. Gap between group and individual interest.
  2. Two or more parties since one can hardly be corrupt with one’s own self.
  3. Consenting adults that have a common understanding.
  4. Benefit furtherance.
  5. Existence of power that could be grabbed, usurped, entrusted or otherwise available.
  6. Misuse of the power that often drives a wedge between intended and stated positions, for unintended benefits.

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