Last week, on March 15th to be precise, I was a part of a 10 member team representing India in the World Bank Institute’s conference on “Partnering to Combat Corruption and Improve Governance”.
This was a 24 hour conference and Asia was given a 3 hour slot. The countries that participated in this leg of the conference included Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia, China and India.
Our focus was on the role of the private sector in combating corruption and improving governance. A brainstorming session led to more than 20 points and areas wherein the private sector could play a major role.
Indonesia’s focus was on the role of Government and how it could have better processes and systems in place to ensure a cleaner system. It was a little amusing to see that the members of the Indonesian panel stating that India has achieved a phenomenal economic growth despite the huge corruption issue and they asked us how we were able to do so. I myself have been clueless about that question for quite some time, so I didn’t expect any one of us to give any insightful answer to the Indonesians on that one.
After much deliberation, we narrowed down our recommendations to 3:
1) Private sector can set an example for the public sector in terms of governance. During the Nehru and Congress era, the public sectors led the country and showed the private sector how growth was achieved. In the current era, the private sector is much better equipped to take up this role now. A very good example is the NISG (National Institute for Smart Government).
2) The role of technology (this had to come up from our country, it being the technology haven and all). The main idea is that lesser the intermediaries, lesser is the corruption. Technology leads towards disintermediation and thus helps in curbing the menace.
3) Empowerment of the corporate entity. I found this a little vague but went ahead in voting for it anyway. It referred to how each corporate entity could actually lead the way in improving governance and combating corruption.
I am pleased to inform now that out of these recommendations, the second one has been selected for presentation at Brussels.
Hoping to look forward to a lesser corrupt and more efficient India in the years to come, I sign off for the day.