Government draws 'absurd and laughable' corruption graph

Tall claims: V. Narayanswamy

Tall claims: V. Narayanswamy

Statistics can be deceptive because they never go far enough and are always contradicted by facts.

But that won't stop the UPA government from rattling out statistics to prove that the graft graph has considerably come down, despite the unceasing waves of corruption scandals (2G, military trucks, Adarsh, et all) shaking the corridors of power.

V. Narayanswamy, the minister of state in the ministry of personnel and the PMO, has told Parliament that corruption in the country has not moved north - going strictly by the number of corruption cases that the CBI has been investigating.

The total number of corruption cases registered by the CBI has come down from 795 in 2009 to 600 in 2011, he said in the Lok Sabha. Then again, the CBI caught 201 corrupt officials red-handed the previous year compared to 273 in 2009.

There was also a sharp decline in the number of officials facing charges of disproportionate assets - from 84 in 2009 to 62 last year.

'The numbers do not indicate any increasing trend (of corruption),'

Narayanswamy said when BJP MP Hansraj Ahir alleged that graft in administration has become alarming.

The minister's response shocked political observers. Former cabinet secretary TSR Subramaniam said the government's explanation was 'absurd'.

'It is not about numbers. The quality of corruption and the volume of transactions of bribe have gone up phenomenally. Collusive corruption between the public and private sector is throttling the country,' he said.

'Saying that corruption is decreasing reminds me of the situation once in Uttar Pradesh where a chief minister ordered the police not to register FIRs so that he could claim that crime in the state had come down heavily. I do not want to comment on the CBI, though,' he added.

Apart from the 'revealing' figures, Narayanswamy tried to explain why corruption existed in the nation.

'Corruption thrives where transparency is lacking, procedures are complicated, discretion of a high order is permitted and where there is a demand-supply gap. Government is tacking these situations,' he said.

BJP MP Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi found this riposte 'laughable'.

'Jab raat hai aisi matwali to subah ka aalam kya hoga (a night of such passion can only be a hint of the dawn it hides). If they believe the corruption graph is down, one can only imagine what their explanation for high levels of corruption would be. This government has lost all sense of proportion,' Naqvi said.


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