Rare but encouraging

In what must have been one of its milestone actions against a high ranking government official, the Special Court has convicted a joint secretary of the Ministry of Finance on charges of corruption. The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had prosecuted him four years ago. The court has also slapped heavy fine on the corrupt official as he could not show the source of his illegal income and sentenced him to a one-year prison term. That action has finally been taken against him shows that the CIAA and the Special Court mean business. As many government officials are known to be engaged in corruption, this action should deter them from engaging in similar unlawful, unethical practices. We see many officials living lavishly, which they would not be able to so with the salary and other perks they might be getting legally. Corruption has become pervasive in society, and it is open knowledge that it is taking place in a large scale with even high government officials involved, as the conviction of the government official is testimony to.

The CIAA and other related bodies should

take their job more seriously and launch probes against all likely suspects so that no one can

escape from engaging in corruption. As a matter of fact, the CIAA must be hard put to investigate all

the suspected graft cases and bringing the guilty

to book. So it stands to reason that that the CIAA should hire more competent staff in order to carry out their work, given the magnitude in which corruption is taking place. In order to find the source of income of the government officials, they are required to provide details of their property. However, it is found that many are openly flouting this provision and refusing to provide this information, or misleading disclosures are made. Under the circumstances, the CIAA and the concerned should investigate and take strict action against the defaulting officials. There should be no exceptions, whether it be the civil servants, powerful politicians and business people or any others.

Every year the country is losing millions of rupees to corrupt government officials who use their position for clandestine dealings such as taking bribes to get the work of the people done. The situation has turned so bad, that often the public are compelled to pay hefty amounts to get their file moving. That corruption is widespread is evident to even a casual onlooker in many government offices. It is high time the authorities stepped in to bring these nefarious activities to a halt. Besides, in some countries the harshest possible punishment is imparted to corrupt government officials which makes many ponder as to whether the corrupt officials here are being let off too easily. First, of all the departments where corruption is most rife in must be identified and after that the activities of the staff should be strictly monitored. When there is reason to suspect that corruption is taking place, the concerned should leave no stone unturned to nab the corrupt officials. The public too would be expected to be cooperative by providing the authorities with information about these misdeeds when they come to their notice.

Cool raindrops

Call it respite of sorts that it rained, courtesy the Westerlies to break the monotony that the dry conditions had brought in. In fact, it has been the heaviest rainfall in the past three or four years this time of the year. The farmers are pinning hopes that the rains will help them salvage their winter crops. The glaring experience of last year's dry winter was on the low agricultural produce resulting in the scarcities and sudden price hikes that had the common man pinned down with no respite. The government too was helpless, except for a show of raiding a godown or two. The high prices held their sway for most of 2009, and has seen no major scaling down even with the end of January this year.

As for the electricity consumers, the downpour raised hopes that the load shedding hours would come down by an hour or two a day. That is yet to be seen in the coming days. However, the biggest relief has been the timing in the run down to the great festival of MahaShivaratri tomorrow. In general, the rains are usual this time of the year and are more than welcome despite the drop in the mercury. It is the not an unusual weather pattern despite the gloom predicted by the climate change soothsayers.