Case Study - 18: Corruption nexus versus Call of duty
- 27 Sep 2019
- 7 min read
You are District Magistrate of a flood-prone district. The flood control department has allocated forty crore rupees for building embankments in the low lying area of the river bed. There have been various complaints from locals over the delay in project completion, violations of rules and misuse of funds by the nexus of politicians and contractors.
During monsoon, the embankment construction couldn’t withstand a single season of flooding. This has led to the submergence of many villages in floodwater and thousands of people are trapped in the villages. The villages are completely cut off and there is a scarcity of food and drinking water. Due to water stagnation, there is also a risk of epidemic spread in the region.
There is huge discontent and protest over the allegation of corruption against the local politician. As he is a popular face of ruling political party in the state, there is severe pressure from political heads to cover the corruption issue. Defying the orders of political bosses will bring wrath towards you and may also lead to transfer.
- As a District Magistrate what will be your course of action to manage the situation in the district. (200 words)
- Identify the various dimensions of the crisis involved in the issue. Based on your understanding, suggest measures to deal with the crisis. (200 Words)
Facts of the case
Course of action
|1.||Initiate a rescue operation and ensuring the availability of food, medicines and drinking water.||
|2.||Assessing the severity of the situation and reaching out to disaster response forces.||
|3.||Persuading locals not to protest and cooperate with government officials.||
|4.||Forming a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into charges of corruption.||
|5.||Taking strict action against wrongdoers.||
|6.||Flood prevention, mitigation and adaptation.||
Dimensions of the crisis
- Denial of justice: Lives of people get completely devastated by the loss of their homes and livelihood due to floods. No monetary amount can compensate for the sorrow and grief of their loss.
- Lack of compassion and respect for human lives: The urge for monetary benefits and profit motives becomes so huge that a person (contractor/politician) can put lives of millions at risk by indulging in petty corruption.
- Loss of faith in leaders: People elect their leaders so that they can become their voice and address their grievances. Nexus between people’s representatives and contractors render people helpless.
- Corruption: Allegations of corruption and putting pressure on the District Magistrate is complete dereliction of duty by political leaders.
- Governance failure: It is not just a failure of government to take timely measures in preventing a disaster in flood prone area but also a failure of civil society which could not initiate timely actions despite having knowledge of the delay in project completion, violations of rules and misuse of funds.
- Politicization of bureaucracy: The District Magistrate facing political pressure expecting him to cover up the issue indicates a defunct culture of quid pro quo in the country’s governance system.
Measures to deal with the crisis
- The District Magistrate must show spirit of service and conviction to ensure justice to the people. He must work tirelessly for their rescue and rehabilitation and ensuring that strict action is taken against the culprits.
- Ensuring legal justice by ensuring that those guilty must be punished. Contractor and politicians involved must face trial in a court of law.
- Taking confidence building measures to regain the trust of people on the government. Special schemes should be initiated for creating livelihood opportunities and for the education of children affected by floods.
- Long term measures for flood prevention, mitigation and adaptation should be taken. Embankments and flood resistant structures must be built after scientific analysis.
- Local people must be made aware about their rights and sense of duty towards ensuring good governance. ‘Citizen centric governance’ must be the way forward as recommended by the 2nd ARC report. Mechanisms like social audits should be made mandatory for such projects.