Demonetisation, corruption and black money

ON the evening of November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on all media channels to announce that his government had decided to demonetise 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee currency notes “to break the grip of corruption and black money”, and announced that the “five-hundred and thousand-rupee notes hoarded by anti-national and anti-social elements will become just worthless pieces of paper”. It is not that demonetisation as a monetary measure is not resorted to by other countries. In fact, the Economic Survey 2015-16 does refer to over 20 countries resorting to demonetisation with different purposes and different rationales, with varying results. But the manner in which Prime Minister Modi made the announcement brought a certain sensationalism to this measure of the government. “Demonetisation” is a financial or monetary measure, and normally involves the central bank or the Finance Ministry. But in this case, neither the RBI Governor nor the Finance Minister came to announce it, raising serious doubts whether they were involved at all in the decision-making. The Prime Minister took it upon himself to personally announce the decision for almost 40 minutes in Hindi, and another 40 minutes in English. The speech did not stop with the policy decision and soliciting the people’s support for it but went on to list over 20 points of procedural detail which would normally be part of any government notification. But the choice of such a method of announcement was obviously a well-designed strategy to make people believe the priority that the Prime Minister was according to wiping out the past evils. As many behavioural psychologists or even behavioural economists would know, the less one knows about the reality behind the numbers or the procedures, the more awe and respect people would develop for them and for those using them. Such political strategies are increasingly in evidence across the world. There was no sign of any financial or economic crisis. On the contrary, the Prime Minister began his speech by describing how, when he took over, there was a feeling that “I” in the BRICS was shaky, and how, under the new government, India became strong and emerged as an economy with the highest GDP growth. True, the magnitude of the measure of withdrawing almost 86 per cent of currency in circulation was an extraordinary measure that needed convincing the people. But more than that, much of the speech was devoted to whipping up people’s anger against corruption and black money, and building on people’s imagined notion of black money stashed in cash that could be wiped out. There was an emphasis that whatever “pain” people were likely to face would be short-lived, and wiped out by the gains of unearthing black money and wiping out corruption.

Source:-.frontline.i

Corruption in education: Teachers education council asks staff to declare income and assets

National Council for Teacher Education

To curb corruption and bring in greater transparency, the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) has asked all its employees to furnish details of their income and assets including property that will be put up on its website.

According to sources, the council has over a period of time received a number of complaints regarding corruption and the move is aimed at checking that.

“All the employees have been asked to provide details of their incomes, vehicles, property and its present market price. Data for three years has been sought from them so that it can be compared with the previous years,” said a senior NCTE official.

The council is responsible for providing recognition to B.Ed colleges and teacher training institutes. There are 11474 such institutes in the country. In the past, NCTE has been accused to processing applications for recognition out of turn. At the same time, a number of inspecting teams had members of questionable credibility and in some cases affiliation was granted even to non-existent colleges.

Once the data of assets is complete it will be put on the NCTE’s website and the figures provided by the employees will also be monitored and compared to their income levels, sources further said.

“Generally too they are supposed to furnish such data but many people don’t do it despite reminders. But this time we have decided to put it on the website so that it is in public view,” added the official.

In case there are cases that look suspicious they will be put on a watch list and will be monitored closely. Employees at all levels including deputy secretary, under secretary, section officers among others have been asked to provide information.

The issue of corruption in NCTE has been raised in the Parliament too, in the past. In 2015, the then HRD minister Smriti Irani had informed the Lok Sabha that after reconstitution of the NCTE in May 2013, a vigilance wing was established in NCTE headed by Chief Vigilance Officer to look after the vigilance cases against the officers/officials of NCTE and in its Regional Offices.

“The Vigilance branch takes necessary measures in the cases of irregularities that come to their notice. In order to ensure transparency in the functioning of the NCTE, several steps have been initiated such as the online submission of applications for grant of recognition, on-line payment of fees and processing of applications in chronological order, etc”.

 

 

[“source-hindustantimes”]

World Cup 2018 and 2022: Fifa releases bid ‘corruption’ report

Fifa World Cup 2022 bid

Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup in 2010, with Russia given the 2018 tournament

Football’s world governing body Fifa has released its full report into alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.

It comes after German newspaper Bild published extracts of a leaked copy of the report on Tuesday.

The 2014 report was authored by former Fifa independent ethics investigator Michael Garcia.

He quit in protest when the organisation only released a 42-page summaryof his document.

That version cleared Qatar and Russia of corruption allegations but was critical of the English Football Association’s conduct in the bidding process.

Fifa said its president Gianni Infantino had always intended to release the full document, which has more than 400 pages, but its former ethics chiefs had refused to publish it.

The former chairmen of the ethics committee, Cornel Borbely and Hans-Joachim Eckert, were replaced in May after completing four-year terms.

Speaking in October 2014, Eckert said: “Publishing the report in full would actually put the Fifa ethics committee and Fifa itself in a very difficult situation legally.”

Fifa said it had intended to discuss the release of the report at a meeting next month, but added: “As the document has been illegally leaked to a German newspaper, the new chairpersons have requested the immediate publication of the full report in order to avoid the dissemination of any misleading information.

“For the sake of transparency, Fifa welcomes the news that this report has now been finally published.”

Why was the investigation started?

Garcia was appointed as Fifa’s independent ethics investigator in 2012 and asked to look into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process following claims of corruption around the bids.

They included allegations that disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling $5m (£3m) to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid.

Qatar vehemently denied votes were being bought and said Bin Hammam had not been acting in an official capacity.

Garcia spent two years investigating the claims and looked into all nine hosting bids – including one by the England FA.

Russia won the right to host the 2018 World Cup, beating England as well as joint bids by the Netherlands/Belgium and Spain/Portugal.

At the same time, in December 2010, Qatar won the 2022 bid ahead of Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

What were the findings?

Fifa released a 42-page summary of Garcia’s final report in 2014. It cleared Qatar of any wrongdoing, ending any possibility of a re-vote for a new 2022 host.

However, the report said there were “certain indications of potentially problematic conduct of specific individuals” – though Bin Hammam’s payments were judged to be for his personal political interests, not the 2022 bid.

Russia, meanwhile, was also cleared of any wrongdoing, though the investigation had “only a limited amount of documents available for review” because the Russian team’s computers had been destroyed.

The English FA was accused of acting improperly in trying to win votes and flouting bid rules, while Australia too received criticism.

What was the reaction?

While Russia and Qatar welcomed the report, the FA baulked at the criticism.

The man who led the investigation, Garcia, complained Eckert’s precis of his report was “erroneous”.

Eckert denied that, insisting of his published summary: “A lot of my report was word for word from the Garcia report.”

Garcia subsequently quit and Fifa’s critics said it showed the shortened, released report had been a “whitewash” and called for the full report to be released.

Almost three years later, they have got their wish.

[“Source-bbc”]