India: Dedicated to counter corruption in business, says Indian Industry

Mr. Balwinder Singh, Advisor, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India and Mr. R Sri Kumar, Vigilance Commissioner, Central Vigilance Commission launch the 2014 table calendar on anti-corruption.

Not long time ago two myths prevailed with regard to business and corruption. First: it is not me - it is the other one. Second:  there is nothing that can be done about it - it is part of doing business.  Today, we observe a drastic shift in attitudes - the business sector realizes that corruption involves two parties - the one offering money or favours and the one accepting it. Both are responsible and they realize that corrupt practices on their part undermines trust and ruins reputation.

India is a member of the Business 20 (B20) that has identified 12 priorities for business globally including anti-corruption.  As a major driving factor in the Indian economy, the Indian business sector is keen on educating itself about strategies and good practices that prevent and control corruption.

To mark the International Day Against Corruption and the 10 th anniversary of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, UNODC in collaboration with KPMG and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organized an Anti-corruption consultation with Indian B20 companies and Indian industry in Mumbai, India. The consultation provided a platform for Indian companies represented at the B20 to share their practices with regard to countering corruption and to debate ideas for possible solutions.  Approximately 90 percent of the participants felt that it was possible to do business in India without resorting to corruption if the right measures were taken. In support of this idea, Mr. R Sri Kumar, Vigilance Commissioner, Central Vigilance Commission stressed that if there is interest in private gains over the idea of public good, corruption is likely to happen and therefore strengthening integrity is an important factor. Mr. Balwinder Singh, Advisor, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India suggested that the employment of technologies like e-procurement, e-collection and e-payment are critical in curbing opportunities for corruption.  

Key recommendations that emerged from the consultation included (i) need for more opportunities for exchange of good practices between private sector companies to encourage learning from peers, (ii) need for an approach that combines both sanctions and incentives for companies to proactively prevent corruption and (iii) need to penalise the giving of bribes to a private sector official and the acceptance of bribes by private sector officials, a provision also made by the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in  Article 21- 'Bribery in the private sector'. 

To mark the International Anti-Corruption Day, a 2014 table calendar on anti-corruption was launched at the event. It serves as a yearlong reminder of the concerted effort that needs to be made daily to counter corruption.  Participants also expressed their interest in instituting this meeting as an annual event to measure progress made by the group and feed recommendations from the private sector back to the Government.

The event was made possible thanks to the financial contribution made by the Siemens Integrity Initiative.