Published On: May 17, 2023 09:00 AM NPT By: Nisha Jha
Corruption, a term as old as politics itself, remains a widespread menace that plagues nations worldwide, impeding their progress and development. Put simply, corruption entails the improper use of public power, frequently for personal gain, leading to violations of fundamental principles such as honesty, integrity, and accountability. This pervasive issue manifests in various forms, including bribery, nepotism, embezzlement, and abuse of authority, and can permeate all levels of government, from the highest ranks to the lowest tiers.
According to Transparency International, a global watchdog that monitors corruption worldwide, corruption remains a significant problem in over two-thirds of the 180 countries. The latest Corruption Perceptions Index, released by Transparency International on February 8, 2023, ranks Nepal 110th out of the 180 countries assessed, with a score of 36 out of 100. This indicates a slight improvement from Nepal's previous ranking of 117th in 2021. Nevertheless, the score still indicates a high level of corruption in the country, and considerable efforts are needed to address this issue.
Corruption, the seven-letter word that's been haunting our societies since time immemorial, is a hot topic of discussion in today's world, especially for the developing nations. From stunting economic growth and development to breeding inefficiencies in the bureaucratic system, this issue has got us all wondering - how did it all start, and what can we do about it?
The origins of corruption in Nepal can be traced back to the country's history of monarchy, centralized governance, and lack of accountability. The system of patronage and nepotism under the monarchy allowed for the accumulation of wealth and power by a small elite group, while ordinary citizens were excluded from decision-making processes. This culture of impunity and lack of transparency continued after the establishment of democracy, as political parties and leaders also engaged in corrupt practices to maintain their power and influence. Additionally, Nepal's weak legal and institutional frameworks have enabled corruption to thrive, with limited resources and capacity for law enforcement and oversight.
Corruption has deeply entrenched itself in Nepal, plaguing the country for decades. The reasons behind this issue are multifaceted, encompassing political, economic, social, and cultural factors. One of the primary drivers of corruption in Nepal is the absence of effective governance and a weak rule of law. Consequently, this has fostered an environment where individuals in positions of power can act without consequences, leading to a lack of accountability for corrupt practices. Additionally, a culture of patronage prevails in Nepal, wherein influential figures exploit their power to reward their supporters, often resorting to corrupt means. This perpetuates a cycle of corruption that proves challenging to dismantle.
High-ranked officials with good goodwill may also become corrupt due to the pressures of the system. Corruption is often seen as a means to an end, whether that be gaining power, money, or prestige. For politicians, corruption can help them maintain their hold on power and gain support from powerful interest groups. For normal people in the work process, corruption may be seen as a way to get ahead or survive in a system where opportunities are limited.
The pressure to maintain a certain lifestyle can lead to dissatisfaction and even corruption, especially when people compare themselves to others who have achieved success and wealth. Society often values material possessions and monetary success, and this can create an expectation that people should live a certain way to be considered successful. When individuals feel they cannot keep up with these expectations through legitimate means, they may turn to unethical behavior like corruption to attain the wealth and status they desire. It's important to recognize that everyone has their own values and priorities, and to focus on personal growth and fulfillment rather than comparing oneself to others.
In Nepal, corruption is a systemic issue that requires a multifaceted approach to combat. This includes strengthening governance and the rule of law, promoting transparency and accountability, and creating a culture that values honesty and integrity.
Firstly, strengthening institutions is a crucial step in mitigating corruption in Nepal. The government can empower institutions such as the judiciary, police, and anti-corruption agencies by providing them with the necessary resources to investigate and prosecute corruption cases effectively. This includes providing training for officials and ensuring that they are free from political interference.
Secondly, promoting transparency and accountability can also help mitigate corruption in Nepal. The government can create a legal framework that requires public officials to disclose their assets, income, and interests. This will help detect and prevent conflicts of interest and other forms of corruption. The government can also implement policies that require public institutions to provide regular reports on their activities and expenditures to the public.
Thirdly, public awareness and education are also vital in mitigating corruption. Education campaigns can target different groups of people, including civil servants, business people, and the general public, to promote ethical behavior. The government can also create public awareness campaigns that highlight the negative impacts of corruption on society.
Fourthly, strengthening civil society is also important in mitigating corruption in Nepal. The civil society organizations can provide watchdog functions, investigate and report on corrupt practices, and advocate for policy and legal reforms that promote transparency and accountability. The government can provide support to these organizations and create an environment conducive for them to operate in.
Lastly, empowering citizens is another important way to mitigate corruption in Nepal. Citizens can act as a check on corruption by reporting corrupt practices and demanding accountability from public officials. The government can create mechanisms that enable citizens to report corruption anonymously and without fear of retaliation.
Mitigating corruption in Nepal requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders. The government, civil society, media, and citizens must work together to strengthen institutions, promote transparency and accountability, raise public awareness, strengthen civil society, and empower citizens. By taking these steps, it is possible to reduce corruption in all forms and create a more just and equitable society in Nepal.
In the ongoing battle against corruption in Nepal, we have uncovered disheartening truths, ranging from bribery to nepotism, that contribute to this pervasive issue. The consequences of corruption are severe, hindering development and impeding economic growth. However, there is still hope, as there are viable solutions to combat corruption. By promoting transparency and accountability, strengthening anti-corruption laws and institutions, and empowering citizens to hold their leaders responsible, we can initiate a shift in the prevailing situation. It is the collective responsibility of all individuals, from citizens to government officials, to unite and make concerted efforts towards establishing a more just and equitable Nepal, free from corruption.
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