Views & Reviews
Corruption in Public Life : Role of the Church
The Nagaland Voluntary Consumers’ Organisation(NVCO) is very upset for the state government presenting State Budget deficit every year and now it reaches to the tune of INR 2679.46crores. For the last several years ‘state budget deficit’ has become a regular event be the present government or the past governments. While presenting the state budget for 2021-22 the present government has ignored economic development of the state despite of incurring so much of loss/hardship to every individual especially the poor section due to the pandemic (Covid-19) starting from early part of the year 2020. Why deficit? The answer is simply ‘Corruption’ ‘Misappropriation’, etc. and did not take any action on those malpractices. The Supreme Court of India remarked Corruption is like a disease called cancer and if not detected in time it grows bigger and bigger and it will malignise the polity of the country leading to disastrous consequence. The President of NVCO Kezhokhoto Savi, also an anti-corruption crusader sincerely appealed the churches especially the leaders, Tribal Hohos/Civil Societies not to remain silent in respect of the present affairs of corruption in our state so as not to lead our society to disastrous consequence. In the early part of America a church leader/priest like Martin Luther King Junior started a civil movement who was also supported by the most powerful Evangelist Billy Graham in fighting against inequality, discrimination, injustice, etc. Though they are no more but their mission remains fresh in every citizen’s mind where Billy Graham was a true man of God and the most famous speech of Martin Luther King Junior – “I have a Dream” still remain powerful and challenging to the people of the world. Mr. Savi admitted that everyone of us as individuals have been benefitted into corruption one way or the other. In Nagaland corruption started with Nagaland State General Legislative Assembly Election or Bye-Election where the political parties and contesting candidates have to spend huge amount of money to win election and most of the voters voluntarily sell their votes willingly by way of accepting money and even to the extent of demanding huge amount of money from contesting candidates in the name of group, individual, etc. Mr. Savi stated that in the past the NVCO have conducted several awareness campaigns for the urgent need of ‘Lokayukta’ in the state covering colleges, churches, etc. With so much pressure from civil societies including ACAUT Nagaland, PSAN, NVCO, PCC, etc. and of course finally from the Supreme Court’s direction Lokaykuta was established by appointing a retired chief justice of Meghalaya High Court Mr. Justice Uma Nath Singh and Mr. Mayang Lima as Upa-Lokayukta who was one of the defeated candidates with NDPP ticket during the last/recent Nagaland State General Legislative Assembly Election. However, Lokayukta could not function much longer as the State Government had approach the Supreme Court of India by filing a writ petition specifically seeking removal of the Nagaland Lokayukta with a prayer to let the Court direct the Lokayukta to assign all the pending matters before him to the Upa-Lokayukta and this writ petition could be the first of its kind in the country. Well the state government must be happy for the resignation of the Nagaland Lokayukta Mr. Justice Uma Nath Singh and further feel more comfortable as the Upa-Lokayukta has a political party particularly NDPP’s affiliation and the so called ‘Public Servants’ must be feeling relish as they could be free from the check of corruption. However, the state government is solely responsible to immediately appoint Nagaland Lokayukta considering the rate of corruption in the state and also to dispose of the pending cases in the fairest manner that ‘justice’ is delivered where several public servants are likely to be punished. Lokayukta is a great check on corruption specifically public servants which includes the chief minister, dy. chief minister, ministers, advisors, legislators, the Vice-Chancellor of Universities, commissioners, secretaries, directors which clearly confine to the higher- ups of the government departments. In Nagaland the corrupt practices includes abuse of power, nepotism, bribery, extortion, embezzlement, fraud, etc and also a very peculiar corrupt practices such as; in the name of Party Fund and higher office and down below deducts certain percentage in a form of commission from developmental project fund, appointing several non-government employees to the rank of commissioners, secretaries/joint secretaries/ PRO/Media office/assistant, etc., including appointing several non-legislator to hold cabinet rank as advisors and advisor ranking minister of state which seriously affects the state exchequer, backdoor appointment, misuse of public funds and properties, drawing monthly salaries without attending offices, fund-raise by way of asking donation, selling moudi/packed food/meat/buffet ticket/lottery ticket/calendar, etc. at an exorbitant rate, drawing the full amount of project fund without completing the work, etc. Another serious corrupt practice was every year the CAG report tabled before the session of NLA detects hundreds crore of rupees been misappropriated by several departments but no action is being taken in the court of PAC which consisted of legislators. During the recent 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly session a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India(CAG) for the year ended March 31, 2018 said the state government has “incorrectly used the funds that belong to its employees” under the National Pension Scheme(NPS), the chief minister of Nagaland who holds finance portfolio presented INR 365.33 crore deficit and again the CAG Report tabled detects anomalies in various government departments which includes the detects of INR 215.89 crore loss misappropriated by 18 government departments and had also urged the state government to lodge First Information Report(FIR) in all the cases of misappropriation, loss to the government so as to ensure that timely action was taken in all such cases and in this regard the NVCO sincerely appealed the public to remain a watch dog on the state government whether an FIR would be lodged and for how long the PAC would remain ineffective/fruitless towards corrupt practices.
The Nagaland Voluntary Consumers’ Organisation(NVCO) firmly stood in support of this article entitled “Corruption in Public Life – Role of the Church”. “Corruption” is defined as an improper, unlawful act intending to have a secured benefit for oneself or for another. It has become a way of life, which ultimately becomes visible in almost all aspects and areas of the system, the Law and Order. Extortion, Bribery, misuse of Power and Information, are some of the cause for corruption in our country.
Who else are corrupted??? It is not only the leaders of our country that are corrupted. Every individual has been involved and no one is exempted from corruption. The Public life has been totally wrapped in a culture where money plays a vital role. ‘Money’ the root cause of all evil initiates the people to be silent in seeking justice. It blinds the public to seek judgement, to have a fair means in the society. It is the powerful which buys the power. ‘Power Politics’ another cause for corruption in public life. Today, in our context most of the leaders thinks in categories of power and manipulation, imposing their own decision and authority on others. In that way the public becomes submissive towards those people with power and are being used as a means for achieving their purpose in the society. Society thinks that church and state are separate entities, whose functions are distinct from the other, thereby, negating the church involvement in the state affairs.
Role of the Church – Church as the prophetic community should lend her voice to curb the menace of unabated corruption. Church needs to raise her prophetic voice vocally and publicity against any malpractices by any individuals or groups irrespective of personalities. The church should be bold enough to raise her voice against all kinds of corruption. “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” – Albert Einstein. Act as an alternate body for renewal and prevention of increasing moral anarchy and social disintegration:
*Transparency in dealing with the public.
*Have peace initiation. Scrutinise the increase of corruption and injustice in the society.
Church ought to set her eyes not solely on the church assets and infrastructure but give more importance to tend her sheep in becoming more humane.
Revisit the concept of Church and State Separation according to the changing scenario for both are sacred and secular correspondingly.
*Church should raise its voice against misleading Policies, Structures and Issues. Church ought to act as a catalytic group in the community reforms movements.
*Act as an alternate body for renewal and prevention of increasing moral anarchy and social disintegration.
Educate to elect and choose men of integrity, responsibility and dedication.
The worst disease in the world today is corruption. And there is a cure: Transparency. BONO #TED 2013
Unite against corruption.
NVCO President Kezhokhoto Savi in his special message to every individual in the state of Nagaland is “Say No to Corruption in any situation”.
Press & Media Cell, NVCO