Thinking further on the same lines as my last post on the useful effects of improved transparency in government processes for better service delivery, it is a confounding problem as to why IT integration into govt organizations including police, is so difficult to implement in India. The experience of most govt officers who push for IT initiatives is usually that there is huge and passive resistance to the IT implementation from the employees. This resistance can be attributed to two reasons:
1. Reluctance to learn a new way of doing the old job, and
2. Reluctance to lose the earnings due to corrupt activities from the earlier non-transparent way of doing the job
The first obstacle is easy to tackle by giving enough emphasis on training employees for the change. The second is however not easy to tackle at all. The tall wall of resistance to the change really comes from this issue. So how can one overcome this obstacle?
To my way of thinking, work should be done on increasing manifold the risk in undertaking corrupt activities. In my current role as Vigilance Chief of CIDCO, this work is totally within my scope. So how can I make corruption risky enough for employees to indulge in, so that by default most employees begin to see IT initiatives as worth their while inasmuch as these will reduce their workload.
The risk of corruption increases with strong punitive actions on complaints of corruption. But the effect of this is temporary till the officer in charge of detecting corruption and taking strong measures against it, is in position.
This risk could possibly be significantly enhanced and a long lasting effect could be achieved, if there can be a 360 degree view to complaints of corruption. What I mean is this…If complaints of corruption are put out for all to see, people at large will read them(social status at stake), as CVO and enforcement authority, I will read them(investigation follows), and interestingly, the employees will also read them – some of these employees will be those who are secretly indulging in acts of corruption(prevention should follow). Thus there is a possibility that moving corrupt acts out of closets will prevent corruption by making them riskier to indulge in.
The idea is simple but what would be critical, however, is to protect the identities of persons complaining as well as complained against, so that confidentiality of the complainant is protected, as also the reputation of an honest officer, in case of a maliciously made complaint.
Towards this schema, we have created a web based vigilance complaints mechanism, ‘Dakshata’, on CIDCO’s website, http://cidco.maharashtra.gov.in/CIDCO_VIGILANCE_MODULE_NEW/UserLogin.aspx. Complaints received will be moderated only to the extent of masking the names on the complaint. There is a maker-checker system in place for this moderation to ensure that all identities are masked. All complaints will be available for public view on the site after moderation. Complaints with clear and actionable bribe demand will be directly taken up with the complainant and Anti-corruption Bureau, before they are publicised.
It is hoped that a perceptibly cleaner and more efficient organization will result from this effort and also make the organization ready for embracing IT in a big way, by making corruption riskier. But most interestingly, this manner of attacking the problem of corruption, will have the involvement of people at large, who otherwise are only mute victims at the hands of corrupt public servants.