Special Feature: International Anti Corruption Day 2017



New Delhi/December 09, 2017: Joining hands with UNODC South Asia on the International Anti Corruption Day, South Asia's leading changemakers--cutting across spheres of politics, business, governance, media and the civil society--emphasised the need for zero tolerance towards corrupt practices and called for stronger and united public action.

Through this special feature, "Voices against Corruption", we bring to you their special and insightful reflections on the impact of corruption and ways to address this threat.


Mr. Arvind Kejriwal , Chief Minister of Delhi (India)

It gives me immense pleasure to know that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) South Asia is observing the International Anti-Corruption Day on 09 December with the special e-feature, "South Asian Voices Against Corruption" comprising videos and quotes from eminent thought leaders who stand for clean governance and zero tolerance to graft.

As you know, we are the ones who launched Anti-Corruption movement at the mass level (sic), which got support from the people from all walks of life. I have been working for establishing clean governance and zero tolerance to graft. Delhi, which represents people from every state and is treated as mini India, have a massive mandate to our ideology, we took a pledge to uproot corruption and to give clean and people-friendly governance in Delhi.

As Chief Minister of Delhi, from the very first day, my government launched a tirade against corruption by launching Anti-Corruption Helpline for the ease and use of the people and thereafter, an Anti-Corruption Campaign to tell the people about number of those booked for corruption (to) further send a message of fear in the minds of the corrupt and bribe takers. The ultimate aim of the government in launching these campaigns was to make Delhi, a corruption free-state. My Government is pushing for establishing transparency, ensuring good governance and for protecting the whistle blowers. I extend my best wishes for the success of the entire endeavour. ( Click here to read the full message.)


Mr. Gaurav Gogoi , Member of Parliament (India)

Corruption impacts all aspects of a nation, that is, national growth, peace and development adversely. National growth is a function of economic growth, foreign trade, domestic consumption, employment, public infrastructure, and social indicators. Nations plagued with corruption are an unattractive proposition for investors, which also effects employment opportunities and foreign trade. Due to leakage of Government benefits, social indicators suffer as well. With rising unemployment and a growing population not leading a socially respectable life, there is dissatisfaction, which manifests itself in the form of social violence and unrest. Low income levels result in poor health indicators, lack of education, gender disparity, thereby crippling the development of the nation in question. 

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward

1. Technology: Use of technology for governance, reduces human intervention. This leads to minimizing the number of actors, who would have otherwise been leakage nodes. Significant levels of corruption is present in offices that have the authority to grant permissions to carry out business. Making the evaluation criterion as objective as possible along with a forced deadline to communicate the status (approved/disapproved), will minimize the prevalent malaise of bribe.    

2. Low tax regime has proved to be a deterrent to rent seeking. On multiple occasions, due to high rates of tax, citizens themselves opt to pay rent than pay tax. 

3. Whistleblower protection: No citizen should succumb to corruption. The law of the land should provide for adequate protection/anonymity to whistle blowers and take action against the doer, to set examples and encourage citizens to be actively involved towards conquering corruption.

United Against Corruption

South Asia is home to 24.75 percent of world population with median age of 26.4 years. Moreover, more than 40 per cent of the world's poor live in South Asia. With a young population, it becomes important to discuss and limit corruption in the region. There is a common trend of opacity in public institutions, bribery, weak contract enforcement and low ease of doing business, all of which perpetuate corruption. For the region to grow socially and economically, it is inevitable that the region invests concerted resources to bring itself out of this endemic.


  Mrs. Meenakshi Lekhi , Member of Parliament (India)

Corruption leads to black money, and this impacts production. When production is affected, the cost of goods goes up. All this leads to a lack of opportunities, and lack of opportunities leads to disruption of government system, and disruption of government system leads to instability. So everything is interconnected. So far as peace is concerned, peace needs right amount of circumstances in which people can explore their own potential. Corruption works quite contrary to that. All this leads to strife and lack of authority, lack of faith in the authority. When there is no faith in the authority, the justice system, legal system, administrative system, all systems are impacted, and all this results in stunted growth or lack of opportunity for growth, production, inefficiency, bad governance, and hence peace is affected completely.

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward

First would be increasing transparency and accountability of the political and the administrative system by way of making such laws, which impose duty on the public servant to act in a timely fashion and reduce corruption. Second is use of Information Technology, like we have done it in the case of AADHAAR, connected with all subsidies and government schemes. In case anyone wants to avail LPG gas to education loan to anything else, AADHAAR is mandatory so it reduces the people who work between the system and are basically touts.  So, doing away with this format and increasing transparency by way of using technology is another way of reducing corruption. Third could be electoral reforms, because many times, political system imposes the kind of expenses on people who get elected and thus leads to corruption. When corruption at the highest level exists, it will percolate down below and in every system. ( Corruption can be addressed) if we make electoral reforms mandatory for everyone to participate, and setup accountability system of the government and bureaucracy.

United Against Corruption

I think it is a very important theme because in the developing countries, as well as the developed countries, corruption is a big issue. When money is produced through corrupt means, it impacts and affects the lives of common people--be it their food, their housing, the infrastructure development. When all these things get affected, then definitely, people's lives and their living standards get affected. All this is an impediment to growth. A stunted growth is a result of such practices. SAARC nations and the South Asian region is basically a very highly populated region in terms of density and this is a region where poverty is also very steep. So that gap between the have ones and have nots is very wide. Under these circumstances, this is the right theme for this particular region. More than this region--I think keeping geopolitics of the world right now in mind--not only for SAARC nations, but globally as well, this is a very appropriate theme to eradicate corruption. This is because most of the money earned through corrupt means travels to tax havens, which are controlled by the developed countries. So there is quid pro quo of some sort, and sharing in the corrupt practices and corrupt money, between the developed and the developing nations. Hence, this particular bane can only be corrected when all stakeholders join hands, governments join hands, people to people equations improve and everyone across the globe decides to do away with corruption. Thus, it will lead to greater happiness and better human rights for everyone.


  Mr. Sidharth Nath Singh , Minister of Health, Government of Uttar Pradesh (India)

Corruption leads to priorities that are inconsistent with development. It leads to poor delivery of resources and services, delays/shortfall in infrastructural amenities causing discontent among nationals and disturbing peace. Further,  it causes Brain Drain of talented human resources. Therefore, it hurts the society politically, socially and economically.

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward

1. Building an effective government that has strong enforcement of law, ensures punishment of corrupt and that ends impunity.

2. Citizens should themselves empower themselves and their communities, thus monitoring corrupt practices and bringing initiatives that lead to detection, reduction & elimination of corruption.

3. By promoting transparency and access to information to citizens, governments can curb and combat corruption. Access to information increases the responsiveness of government bodies, while simultaneously having a positive effect on the levels of public participation in a country.  

United Against Corruption

South Asian countries clearly have high corruption rates coupled with low development indicators as compared to other developed countries. With about one fourth of the world's population in this part of the world, no good to the mankind can be brought without development to this part. Development can only be brought by being united against corruption for development, peace and security.



Mr. Adi Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Group (India)

Corruption can negatively affect the national growth and development. In South Asia, we have seen the negative effects of corruption on progress and all steps to minimise corruption, will yield good results.

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward  

Government can combat corruption by reducing controls, permissions of applications should be on the internet and if not okayed within two weeks should be deemed to be okay.  Citizens should strongly resist all forms of corruption as best as possible. 

United Against Corruption

The UNODC theme is a very good theme for the future development of South Asia. South Asia, particularly India, is at the turning point of its development. It will be important for the governments and citizens to stand together in the fight against corruption and take responsibility to bring in transparency.  


Mrs. Mohini Daljit Singh, CEO, Max India Foundation (India)

Corruption is a cancer that has eaten through the foundations of national growth and development. Leakage of funds diverts money from projects resulting in poor implementation if implemented at all.  With bribery project funds go into wrong hands; personal interest takes the place of national interest. Corruption has a deep impact on peace because all conflict starts with economic inequalities. The 'have-nots" are forced into aggression when they see a few benefiting through illegal means, at their cost, and getting away with it.

Citizens and Governments can certainly work to get rid of this evil. They must. Commitment to development and progress must be foremost with accountability. There has to be a strict code for law and order impartially followed by all. The best must be rewarded and wrongdoers punished in an exemplary manner. Corruption is compromising quality in important areas like food, medicines, environment etc, and hence must be uprooted for human survival. 



Mr. John Abraham, Bollywood Actor-Producer and Youth Icon (India)

Corruption is like a disease that affects governance, progress and development of a nation. It weakens criminal justice system, education and health and increases inequality between people. Raising awareness on corruption and bringing perpetrators to book is imperative. Corruption exists because there is an erosion of values, ethics and goodness in people today.

We must unite against corruption and the corrupt, and commit to end it wherever we can. Remember: those who give bribes are also as guilty as those receiving them. So stand your ground, and defeat corruption by speaking out against it in one voice!


  Ms. Mallika Sarabhai, Classical Dance Exponent (India)

Corruption presupposes that all of us can be bought, that nothing is so non-negotiable that it can not be traded. This is an idea that demoralizes people, and makes them complicit in something that we instinctively know is wrong. This deadening of a nation's ethics and moral code is detrimental to the very functioning of the nation, and impacts the people and all processes.  

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward     

Personally, we can start by stopping bribes that we give to make things work faster, like jumping a queue or getting a test done earlier. The judicial system needs to be one where the big scams, usually involving people in power, are dealt with meticulously, and publicly, and that the nation sees that the powerful are being punished. This sets an important bench mark. Corruption can be addressed by setting up mechanisms in institutions, local bodies and governments to give positive rewards and recognition to people who bring out corruption, that is, whistle blowers. This positive reaffirmation encourages many more people to take the time and trouble to do so.

United Against Corruption

Corruption impacts the poor the most. No peace or security is possible without rooting out the daily need to bribe or be bribed. And as it is so systemic, it is only when we unite that we can begin to change the paradigm.



Mr. KV Chowdary, Central Vigilance Commissioner (India)

Corruption diverts the much needed resources and opportunities from legally eligible and needy persons to ineligible and illegal grabbers, thus depriving the needy and eligible leading to perpetuation and enhancement of inequalities and stunting of growth. Corruption threatens social, political and economic security of a nation. Corruption can promote terrorism, internal disturbances leading to lack of peace.

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward  

Governments need to continuously review the existing systems, to eliminate discretion, make them simpler, efficient and user friendly through digitization, automation so that goods and services are available to the public easily. Transparency and accountability are the keys. Effective and timely punishment of the corrupt demonstrates the Government's will. Citizens have to individually and collectively resolve to be honest and to stay away from corruption, report corrupt practices to the appropriate authorities and propagate the message of anti corruption in all their walks of life and spheres of influence. 

United Against Corruption

There can be no two views about the importance of integrity and absolute commitment to anti-corruption efforts if we desire peace, be secure and seek development, whether in South Asia or in any part of the world. The movement against corruption is a combined effort of the people, the government, the public and private sectors and the whistle blowers. All have to work in tandem. 


Mr. Shailesh Gandhi, Former Central Informational Commissioner (India)

Corruption impedes delivery of services to citizens. This results in denial of even basic services like healthcare, education and justice to those who are poor and dispossessed who need them most. This becomes fertile ground for those propagating violence as a means to get grievance redressal, entitlements and justice. Under such circumstances, violence and terrorism prosper and peace and development take a backseat resulting in honesty and ethics regressing. 

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward  

It must be understood that corruption is the outcome of a governance system which is not designed to deliver even basic services in a timebound manner.  Citizens and governments must strive to reduce arbitrariness and create a system which would deliver within fixed time. Computerized, paperless working in government could facilitate transparency if almost all the files and working were displayed on the website each day.  Almost all dashboards of internal working should accessible by citizens. If citizens are allowed to monitor the entire working they would be the best vigilance monitors. This would also result in a true participatory democracy where citizens trust the government.

United Against Corruption

Countries in South Asia have started on the path of democracy quite late and therefore do not generally have governments which really encourage citizen participation in governance. They suffer from similar issues of poor governance and hence their efforts and best practices will result in productive and positive outcomes. Trying to emulate and resolve these by looking at the practices of nations which have built stronger institutions since they have pursued the path of democracy for a few centuries may not be very useful.


Mr. Wajahat Habibullah, Former Central Information Commissioner (India)

Corruption can manifest in different forms intellectual, moral or financial. Since it is a means of ensuring policy to favour a vested interest it will inevitably undermine governance. What is meant by national growth, peace and development will then be what is in that interest and not the interest of the public. This will ensure that the management of these processes underpins the demands of that of vested interests.

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward

There must be related and effective legislation, for instance, a statutory right to information; civil society must remain constantly vigilant to ensure that authority adheres consistently to the principle of accountability and transparency; governance must be treated as service to the public service, not simply management of public services and civil servants trained to conform to this.

United Against Corruption

If my ideas on the above two questions are accepted, it would imply that every branch of government, civil society and the media, including social media would share the objective of this theme, both in the definition and measure of success. The UNODC theme is then of clear relevance to South Asia, each country of which region is at present struggling with challenges to the democratic process. National security must mean security of the public, not of any class or indeed any institution.


Mr. Ashish Khetan, Vice Chairman, Delhi Dialogue and Development Commission and Legislator (India)

Corruption leads to pilferage of funds meant for growth and development. While the public servants and private players enrich themselves by swindling public funds, nation is starved of crucial resources.  It is also often seen that corruption and communalism make ideal bedfellows. It is in the interest of corrupt elements to keep the people mired in mutual discard and animosity, by dividing them along narrow identities. In the process peace is also imperiled.

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward

Citizens should hold their government accountable to election promises in order to combat corruption and foster development. Citizens should seek periodical report cards from their governments and in turn the government should place its report cards before the people.  Citizens should also track the personal wealth of their representatives.  The governments should mandatorily disclose the personal wealth of its staff officials.  The citizens should also demand full account of donations received by the political parties. The government should enact a legislation to make all political donations mandatorily to be made through banking channels alone. 

United Against Corruption

This year's UNODC theme is extremely important for South Asia because corruption has been a scourge for the people of this region.  Development, peace and security have all been undermined because of rampant corruption prevalent in the governments of South Asian nations.  By picking this as their theme UNODC has sent out a very strong and relevant message to the people of South Asia.

Mr. Neeraj Kumar, Former Commissioner, Delhi Police (India)

Corruption mars national growth as public money meant for the good of all e.g. education, health, public safety, infrastructure etc gets diverted into the hands of a few. This accentuates the gap between the haves and have nots leading to wide disparities in society. The resultant social and economic inequalities lead to discontent, social tensions and the presence of a large majority who are starved, deprived and vulnerable to crime and violence. This is a threat to societal peace and, at a global level, to international stability. 

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward  

Citizens need to come forward and expose the corrupt elements in the government and people in authority.  Secondly, the government needs to create a system of responsive anti corruption agency which can react promptly and effectively. Thirdly, the laws should be strong and deterrent with speedy trial and punishment. Without the citizens and the government working in tandem corruption can never be fought.


Dr. S.Y. Quraishi, Former Chief Election Commissioner (India)

Corruption is one of the major challenges that India faces today and has a huge detrimental impact on the development of the country. It's a matter of concern that time and again India has been classified as a highly corrupt country. In fact, a recent report released by Transparency International rated India as the most corrupt country in Asia. Corruption not only affects the poor more than the rich, it stifles economic growth and leads to the diversion of much needed funds from the education and health care sector, sectors which need to grow in order for the country to develop. I believe that elections are the biggest source of corruption in India. It is obvious that when candidates spend crores of rupees in campaigning, they will seek to recover the cost one way or the other.

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward

1. Taking up from my previous answer, I firmly believe that there is a need to curb election related corruption. Public funding of political parties I think will be a step in the right direction.

2. Secondly, agreeing with the Hon'ble Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, I believe that the best way to end corruption is to reduce human interface between citizens and the government functionaries. Online application of documents, bookings, transactions,  and e-auctions are all ways to reduce human interface and thus leave less scope for corruption.

3. Third, greater awareness amongst people, and a conscious effort to tackle the menace of corruption by refusing to be a part of the process in any way whatsoever. Greater accountability from pubic officials and stricter punishment for the guilty party is also a must if we are to seriously curb the menace of corruption.

United Against Corruption

I believe corruption has become a major threat to development, not only in India but also in the world - especially the developing world - at large. The UNODC theme therefore is extremely relevant for the betterment of the people. It is only when all of us take a united stand against corruption that humankind can progress together. All suggestions that come forward to curb corruption as a result of this theme must be considered by one and all. 


Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar, Former Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia

Corruption is one of the most invidious ills that afflict the human society and polity today. Corruption should not be considered to be limited only to financial aspects although that is one of the most pervading aspects, but should be seen to be extending to ethical, moral and spiritual fields as well.

Through corrupt methods and practices, individuals and organizations try and appropriate what belongs to the government. Governments hence do not receive what is due to them and hence are not able to deliver goods and services to the common citizens that they deserve and have a right to. Corruption is tantamount to cheating whereby individuals try to get by fraudulent means what does not belong to them. Corruption has a deleterious impact on the capacity and capability of governments at local and national level to deliver the quantum and quality of goods and services to the people to which they are justifiably entitled. This is harmful and adversely influences peace, prosperity, well-being as also security of the individual, society and the nation.

This seeks to sap and weaken the moral fibre and fabric of the perpetrators and victims of corrupt practices. Corruption is a vicious circle which keeps expanding and growing. It is necessary to frame appropriate rules and laws so that those who are indulging in such practices are caught speedily and punished quickly after following the due process of law. The moral strands of society particularly of the youth and young students in schools needs to be strengthened through education and through suitable programmes and activities. Special focus should be placed on teaching children through their schools so that they grow up as upright, honest, principled and righteous individuals. Such laws should be framed not only for individuals but should be applicable across the board to corporates, public sector undertakings, government officials, media, NGOs etc..Civil society groups should also be vigilant so that corrupt practices in government offices are quickly unearthed and expeditious action taken against the erring individuals.

I warmly commend UNODC for this initiative. This will help in spreading the message to develop a corruption-free society. This principle should be meticulously observed and followed by governments, individuals as well as civil society and business corporate sector. This is the only way to promote peace, security, stability and prosperity among the people and nations.


Ms. Patricia Mukhim, Editor, The Shillong Times and Activist (India)

Corruption sucks at the lifeblood of the nation. It takes away from the honest and hardworking lot the incentive to live by ethical codes of conduct. People at the helm of affairs then argue, "If you cannot beat them, join them." For foreign investors, the cost of doing business in a country rises and soon corruption is treated as a way of life. Corruption exacerbates poverty since money allocated for health and education are siphoned of. Development has a holistic meaning and addresses the personal growth of a person and not just infrastructure creation. In tribal societies, corruption creates societal divides in otherwise egalitarian societies. There is rapid erosion of social capital and this gives rise to violence and conflict as extortion is on the rise. Those who extort use corruption in high places as an alibi.

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward

Citizens need to have a moral character that can resist corruption. They can use the RTI route to find out how development funds are spent. They can file PILs against corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. In Meghalaya, some concerned citizens worked to craft out a Social Audit Bill. The Bill was passed by the Meghalaya Assembly and now the Social Audit Council has been formed. Instead of doing a post mortem after money has been siphoned off the Social Audit Act allows citizens to have public hearings while a scheme is implemented so as to allow a course correction and also to ensure that projects are completed within a definite time line. This is an example of how citizens and government can collaborate to reduce and finally end corruption.  

United Against Corruption

Slogans are important to enthuse people to take on the responsibility of fighting corruption at all levels. Corruption thrives where there is conflict and where the rule of law is absent. Poverty is exacerbated and that leads to dissension and gives cause for a revolution.  



Mr. Iqbal Mahmood, Chairman, Anti-Corruption Commission (Bangladesh)

Corruption has negative impact on overall investment including Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), human development, poverty reduction; success of both public and private sectors and overall economic development of any country and Bangladesh is not an exception. It causes economic disorder through wastage of public resources. Corruption jeopardizes the business environment for domestic and foreign investors which results in poor economic activities. Corruption is one of dominant factors for which country like Bangladesh is still ranked at the bottom among countries surveyed on 'Ease of doing Business'. In addition to this economic aspect, corruption has been corroding social value and taking toll on the nation in the long run. That's why corruption is a serious challenge for Bangladesh. It has significant adverse impact on per capita GDP of Bangladesh. It is a kind of common perception that if corruption in Bangladesh could have been reduced to half then GDP growth rate might have been increased by more than 2 percent.

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward

Ways through which Bangladesh likes to combat corruption are.  

1. Punitive measures: (a) Conducting effective inquiry and investigation to help bring corrupt people under accountability and justice; and (b) Effective prosecution to help establish fairness and neutrality in judicial process.

2. Preventive measures such as building of moral character of public officials, providing adequate livelihood, limiting the official discretion and autonomy, controlling payoff, increasing the certainty of punishment for corrupts, strengthening overall quality of institutions through systemic improvement and enhancing public awareness. 

United Against Corruption

Corruption is so widespread in our everyday life that it can hardly be combated without collective effort. It's a global issue and it needs to be globally handled as well. People from all walks of life are to be integrated in the anti- corruption campaign en masse. They primarily need to be made aware of enormous damage corruption causes to their nation, morally and economically. Through use of punitive measures such as inflicting punishment and imposing penalty on corrupt persons, degree of corruption may be restrained if not eliminated. This is direct approach through enforcement. But on top of enforcement measures preventive actions should be taken to help corruption eradicated from our society. Preventive actions include measures such as building moral character of officials, systemic development of institutions and tagging of incentives with performance etc. UNODC has maintained the last year's theme 'United against Corruption' for observing International Anti-corruption Day this year too, to emphasize concerted efforts of every nation to drive away corruption from their societies. This will help develop individual economy and build global peace and security.


Mr. Syed Muazzem Ali, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India (Bangladesh)

Corruption hinders smooth functioning of all state/non-state machineries, endangering sustainable economic development, ethical values and rule of law. From Bangladesh's perspective, what I can say is that our Government remains committed to adhere to good governance and enhance transparency and accountability in all sectors. Our current government has taken an initiative to transform Bangladesh into "Digital Bangladesh" with advancement of technology and automation of services which is expected to curb corruption drastically. Our people now have got more access to information and benefits of e-governance. Besides, there has been a massive awareness campaign against corruption. Our government has revised the pay scale of government services to discourage corruption. We promulgated Anti-Corruption Commission Act in 2004 and formed the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) which is a statutory independent corruption prevention and corruption detective body of the State. The Anti-Corruption Commission proactively carries out investigation on allegation of corruption. We also acceded to the UN Convention against Corruption in 2007.



Ms. Kinley Yangzom, Chairperson, Anti-Corruption Commission of Bhutan (Bhutan)

Bhutan, despite being one of the smallest countries in the world, has come a long way in fostering a holistic socio-economic development guided by the philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Over the years, Bhutan's economic growth has increased to an average of 6-7% per annum and reduced poverty significantly from 31.7% in 2003 to 12.04% in 2017. Bhutan has also made decent success in mainstreaming anti-corruption measures as may be gauged by its 27 th position with a score of 65 in the TI-CPI (2016) and score of 7.89 in NIA 2016. However, with rapid socio-economic development where Bhutan prepares to graduate from LDC status and with increasing investments for development activities, Bhutan becomes more vulnerable to corruption.

His Majesty in the National Day Address on 17 th December 2014 pronounced that " The highest probable risk to development that I foresee is corruption. Our national development efforts will be hindered by unchecked corruption. The formulation of plans and programs may be done well, aimed at the wellbeing of the people. Impressive amount of budget may be disbursed in line with these plans. But as the activities become too numerous, oversight and monitoring may fall short, allowing some people to be corrupt. Although a large amount of resources are spent, projects may not be accomplished as designed and quality of the projects may suffer seriously. At the end, such activities may become a matter of regret and disillusionment for the people and immense loss for the government and the country." Thus, if appropriate measures are not taken to curb corruption at the earliest possible, it will derail the monumental success that Bhutan has made over the years and most importantly deteriorate the trust and confidence of the citizen.

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward

1. Political will is a must in the fight against corruption. Words must be supported by action. Walk the Talk!

2. Build and sustain institutional capacity that embraces the principles of democracy, good governance and rule of law to sustain public trust and confidence and strengthen the systems of transparency, accountability and integrity to effect systemic and behavioral changes in the society.

3. Further, for a small country like Bhutan, it is of paramount importance to be united against this social malice - corruption and mark every interaction with trust, understanding and cooperation. There must be collective effort in building awakened citizenry that upholds the principles and values of ethics, integrity and professionalism in one's conduct, actions and dealings.

We must fulfill our natural responsibility to act against corruption and stop this corrosive problem. 

United Against Corruption

Corruption is disastrous and transnational that no nation is immune to it. Therefore, all nations must join hands in combating and preventing corruption. Further, with almost 50% of the countries in the South Asia falling under Least Developed Countries, it is critical to redouble our united efforts in firmly acting against corruption and embracing the principles of integrity, transparency, accountability and good governance. Let us therefore enhance collaboration and stand united against corruption for development, peace and security.


Mr. Yogesh Tamang, Member of Parliament and Chairman, Good Governance Committee (Bhutan)

Corruption is a serious challenge for Bhutan given its small size, small population with young democracy. Further its developing economy coupled with  low literacy(education) level make it more vulnerable to corruption. Capital costs of development outweigh current expenditure. Most corruption instances are observed in the use of capital costs.

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward

Firstly, it is of paramount importance to have Consistent Political Will of the Leadership against corruption. Currently, Bhutan is fortunate to have this in place from the highest authority. Secondly, the continuous efforts on education and awareness on the ill effects of corruption, by the constitutional institution of Anti Corruption Commission, are the preventive measures against corruption. Thirdly, investigation of corrupt cases, fair trial and prosecution in the court of law, and application of severe penalties for being corrupt are the measures to combat corruption.

United Against Corruption

Unity in each section of community and solidarity of all the citizens at the national level against corruption ensure peace and security in a country. Corruption takes root and different forms in policy formulation, and through practice of regionalism, communalism, favouritism and nepotism. Following rule of law is a fundamental approach in ensuring transparency, equity and justice. Good governance, therefore, plays critical role in guaranteeing justice and equity in the country. Therefore, the UNODC theme is wholly appropriate for South Asia.



Mr. Sergey Kapinos, Regional Representative for South Asia, UNODC

It is sad that corruption is now endemic in many spheres of life, affecting businesses, education, governance, criminal justice, public welfare and healthcare, among others. No country or region is free from this crime. And the common citizens, especially the poor, are forced to pay the biggest price for corruption: rising prices, erosion of faith and trust in the governments, dilution in business credibility, diversion of essential public funds and deteriorating equity and fairness across societies. Corruption is indeed a major impediment to sustainable development and building effective institutions, as it weakens democracy and the rule of law and allows organised crime, terrorism and other security threats to thrive.

In the face of these challenges, it is important we rise and stand together to provide a global, united resistance to corruption. By working side by side, we can support governments in implementing anti-graft legislations and policies, enhance the governance systems, encourage corporates to embrace ethical and transparent business practices, urge criminal justice institutions to bring in meaningful reforms: in essence, spearhead a global revolution in minds towards justice, transparency and honesty.

As the custodian of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), UNODC is committed to working with governments, corporates, civil society, media and other stakeholders to address the issue of corruption. Our failure to collectively respond to this challenge stands to impact the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We must push for greater transparency and accountability from the government and businesses, support and enable good governance, demand high ethical standards from officials and protect the whistle blowers.

The International Anti-Corruption Day is a unique opportunity to recognize this very important threat to peace and SDGs. On this special occasion, I urge you to join and support UNODC's call to act together and unite against corrupt practices for development, peace and security.


Ms. Zorana Markovic, Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser, UNODC

We are all aware how corrupt practices, from petty corruption and bribery to grand and political corruption affect our lives. Corruption undermines government revenue and therefore limits the ability of the government to enhance investment areas and incentives. The lack of adequate legislation and formulated policies create niche for individuals and businesses to side-step them through paying the bribes.  Where corruption is endemic, the trust to government efforts is diminishing which further creates vicious circle of corrupt individuals. Developing, and countries in transition, have been adversely affected given the weak institutional and legal systems, but we are increasingly aware of huge corruption problems in the developed democracies as well.  The scale of the problem is huge globally, there is no country in the world that is corruption-free. 

Rooting Out Corruption: The Way Forward

Corruption has eroding effect to government efforts in providing services to citizens and it comes in many forms and scales. To fight this phenomenon successfully and comprehensively governments need to cooperate with all segments of a society and to seek wide coalition of forces gathered on the common goals. Civil society organisations are the natural ally in these efforts and their primary role is in awareness raising actions and sensitisation of society to zero -tolerance to corruption. Public and outreach campaigns, use of modern technologies and social media platform that appeal to younger generation will help spreading the messages to the widest levels of population. Educational and training programme that will use mass media will help in promoting strategic messages to citizens on government actions as will any incentive to enable wide access to public information and transparent decision-making process. 

United Against Corruption

The complexity of the corruption throughout the region of South Asia seeks united actions against this problem. Governments cannot succeed alone, they need to mobilize the limited resources and need strategic and consensus based actions that will address the challenges they face in anti-corruption legal and institutional capacity. Only with strong commitment and inter-agency cooperation the results will become visible and will contribute to restoring the trust of citizens. Sharing of the experience with neighbouring countries and internationally help understand that no one is alone and that we can all learn from each other how to move forward with more success. UNODC stands ready and willing to assist in these processes throughout the region and to continue providing tailored technical assistance to building up the anti-corruption capacity of the region.  


(As told to Mr. Samarth Pathak , Communications Officer, UNODC South Asia in exclusive interactions.)


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