Has corruption increased since demonetisation? Nirmala Sitharaman says YES

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July 1, 2019 6:01 PM

In India, there was a hope of corruption-free society in 2011 when citizens demanded action against corruption and advocated for the passage of the comprehensive Jan Lokpal Act under the leadership of Anna Hazare.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

For the government that has striven to clamp down corruption with mottos like “maximum governance, minimum government’ and with all the hoopla caused by GST and demonetization, it may come as a surprise to many that corruption and other criminal activities have actually increased in India since demonetisation, according to National Informatics Centre which is maintained by Lok Sabha Secretariat. In a query sought by Ramprit Mandal, Member of Parliament from Bihar, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman conceded that while the cash in circulation has increased in the system since demonetisation, she also said that the circulation of cash is linked with illicit activities.

There is an increase in currency in circulation since November 2016, the Finance Ministry, headed by Nirmala Sitharaman, said in its response. “The total value of notes in circulation as on 4 November 2016 was Rs.17,741 billion. The total value of the currency in circulation as on 29 March 2019 was Rs 21,137.64 billion,” the ministry said.

Further, the statement also said that “The Economic survey 2016-17- Volume 1 noted that across the globe, there is a link between cash and nefarious activities — the higher the amount of cash in circulation, the greater the amount of corruption, as measured by Transparency International.”

India’s current rankings

According to Transparency International, India ranks 78 out of 180 countries in terms of corruption. Also, out of a score of 100, India got 41 points where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 means clean. India is even below the global average of 43 points. “More than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on this year’s CPI, with an average score of just 43,” the organisation observed.  

Jan Lokpal Bill and failed dreams of a corruption-free society

In India, there was a hope of corruption-free society in 2011 when citizens demanded action against corruption and advocated for the passage of the comprehensive Jan Lokpal Act under the leadership of Anna Hazare. However, “these efforts ultimately fizzled and fell flat, with little to no movement on the ground to build the specialist anti-corruption infrastructure required,” Transparency International said. 

Speaking on corruption, Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair Transparency International, said, “Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and, as we have seen in many countries, where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage.”

Among the cleanest countries are Canada, the United State of America, Norway, Sweden, Finland, United Kingdom, Germany, France and New Zealand. The most corrupt countries are Venezuela, Libya, Russia, China, Mexico, Afghanistan and North Korea. As a matter of fact, all of Asia and Africa have a high level of corruption, according to the Transparency International’s findings.

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