Corruption is otherwise eating into the vitals of the country. Despite so many measures taken by the government, it continues to hold back the country's progress. In recent days, new areas of governance are being riddled with corruption.
The nation had to silently swallow the international opprobrium of being one of the most corrupt countries on the globe without any visible effort to improve the scorecard. The Transparency International (TI) rating and ranking may not be cent per cent authentic but the common man going about his daily rounds knows only too well how complete is the stranglehold of corruption and misrule.
Corruption, bureaucratic tangles, political violence etc., are the major obstacles to the development of the country. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has embarked on an ambitious agenda of sweeping reforms of the state's institutions. She frequently deplores the pervasive corruption and plundering of national wealth by a handful of dishonest people, which pushed the nation into an awkward state. As such the Prime Minister has set curbing of corruption on top of all agendas.
The fundamental problem that relates to corruption in Bangladesh is the dominance of the vested interests, irrespective of changes in the power matrix. The remedy was to start a cleaning drive from the top tiers. But the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has so far failed to take steps for curbing corruption, where no corrupt person would be spared because of his political affiliation.
But it is the people's perception that the ACC should go all out for eradication of corruption. The government has set combating corruption as one of its prime tasks. This is certainly a very commendable development.
If the present government succeeds in making the ACC a truly functional anti-graft body, it will fulfil a longstanding demand of the people. But this must be done without compromising in any way the independence of the Commission. The people, at large, are really anxious to see a truly activated ACC.
Political analysts say that time is now propitious for effecting significantly beneficial changes in our society. Indeed, there is nothing more dangerous to public welfare than the apathy of citizens in a democracy. There is no doubt that a bad government is the inevitable consequence of an indifferent electorate. Politics will never be cleaner and our economic future never brighter unless the people are willing to assert their rights as conscious and agile citizens.
We must not expect the anti-corruption drive to achieve wonders, because it would be less than pragmatic to think that our substantially corroded officialdom would be suddenly inspired by honesty or fear of God. The need is to exhort and encourage proper leadership in all organs of the state, and different sectors of national life.
It would be clearly wrong to assume that catching the big fishes only would be salutary, because in believing so we would lend undue tolerance to certain levels of corrupt practices. How can we be oblivious of the fact that quite a few of our notorious kleptocrats were petty thieves in the not-too-distant past, and how government patronage has turned them into despicable predators in the quickest of time?
The all-pervasive corruption has to be fought on all fronts in order to bring it down to a bearable state. The sectors catering for the basic needs of security, justice, education and health, among others, demand priority in the anti-corruption drive. It has to be ensured that people's faith in the foundation of the society is not lost. Exemplary deterrent actions in regulatory sectors will have a favourable impact.
Proper use of political power will be the guarantee for the return of fairness and a sense of service for others. Corruption will be controlled and contained in such an environment.