Paper presented in the Integrity India Campaign in Kolkata on 12th April, 2007, organised by the Young Indians - Confederation of Indian Industry.
SELF IMPOSED VIGILANCE FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE (SIV-G) : A SUPPORT TOOL FOR INTEGRITY INDIA CAMPAIGN
When there is darkness around, there is no point in cursing the darkness. Bring the light, the darkness vanishes, said Rabindranath Tagore. The efforts of CII-Young Indians exactly falls on this line to remove the darkness of corruption in society thorough the light of awareness. The Integrity India Campaign involving particularly the young Indians, who are going to shape the future of India, is a boon for the nation.
Integrity is ‘dharma’. To bring anything together is ‘dharma’. When people come together in any form is the first pulsation of divinity. In other words, to bring people together in any form is dharma. One which holds together, is dharma. For example, the solar system, the innumerable stars that are around are following certain principle or set of principles, some rules, some laws and they are subject to change that is dharma. In a family, the family members are held together; that is dharma. In a locality, in a society, various types of people following very many things, various economics, political, social, cultural, religious functionalists for a society, can pull on together, which is dharma. Dharma is a principle of life. And this principle of life is in everything. Similarly, in human beings, when the set of values are held together and demonstrated for good causes and producing harmony and peace, it becomes a dharma and which is known as integrity.
The human nature has almost got into the mode of democracy. It is the infamous words of Abraham Lincoln, which described the democracy as the government ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’. Similarly, the human nature can be ascribed as ‘of the mind, by the mind and for the mind’. This democratic way of influence of the mind prevents the human being from realizing his real nature, which ultimately leads to all the human sufferings.
Human sufferings are none other than disorderliness in human nature. One of the reasons why the disorderliness in human nature occurs, particularly in the present knowledge driven world, is undoubtedly lack of integrity. "Mind food", to borrow the words of David J. Schwartz, has become a crucial factor which contributes to integrity and lack of integrity. Obviously, the lack of integrity leads to corruption and which has a direct bearing on the moral fibre of the society.
Why Corruption is an issue today?
As long as the world was divided between the two ideologies of East and West, corruption was not a major issue. The two camps were not bothered about corruption. "Corruption is fine, as long as you are in my camp" was the attitude of the two super powers. But after the end of the cold war the countries have become interdependent. As a result, the resources started moving across the borders and today we are witnessing the Flat World phenomenon; again to borrow the words of Thomas L. Friedman. In this process, the liberalization and the economic reforms thereof paved way for entry of private players in economic development. This has slowly pushed the private players to the reality of competition and at the same time being self reliant. The outburst of financial irregularities and scams were the result of this situation to cope up with the competition and at the same time profit making.
Added to this factor, there is another interesting development. The tax payers of the donor countries who provide aids are now very vigilant and are particular that their money is spent properly by the receiving countries. They are very keen that the countries receiving aids are well governed as well. So the buzz words, governance and corporate governance have become very prominent in the present scenario. There is a paradigm shift in the thinking from ‘business of business is business’ to ‘business of business is ethical business’.
Therefore, corporate governance has become very much relevant to the private sector. Governance or corporate governance will have the following elements in it:
One of the crucial factors which determine the level of governance is Systems, in other words, internal controls, which consist of the following:
Existence of system is an important factor for exercising internal controls and achieving good governance or corporate governance. However, if the systems are not followed mere existence of such system has no meaning. Therefore, equally important is the fact that such systems in place are followed in spirit. It is in this context, self imposed vigilance comes in to the picture to ensure effectiveness of the systems.
Incidentally, in October 2006, I had an opportunity to present a paper in the University of Passau, Germany. This was on the concept SIV-G : Self Imposed Vigilance for Good Governance. In this presentation an attempt was made to unfold the truth that it is the Self Imposed Vigilance when built into every manmade systems and operations that leads to good governance. This SIV-G (to pronounce like Shivji without ‘sh’ sound) has been reinvented to assume the role of Shivji, for destruction of the evil of corruption by providing good governance in the globalised world. In fact, this concept is an axiom to the "Suresh’s Law of Corruption Dynamics", which was presented during the Economics of Corruption (EoC) Lecture, 2005 in the University of Passau, Germany. A glimpse of this Law and SIV-G can be had at www.siv-g.org
Suresh’s Law of Corruption Dynamics
It is always the cause that produces the effect. When it comes to corruption, it is the result of some causes. At the same time, Corruption is the cause in itself for some effects.
It is the absence of ‘heat’ that produces ‘cold’. Likewise, the absence of what leads to corruption and the absence of corruption leads to what is the pivotal point under this research. Undoubtedly, most of the problems that human being encounters today are the effect of the cause, which is corruption. The dynamics of corruption has a greater bearing on the well being of human kind. This paper, in fact, is the synopsis of the author for his Doctorate. The author, therefore, wishes to share this ‘Suresh’s Law of Corruption Dynamics’, with a view to get reaction from like-minded people involved in the fight against corruption globally and make the world a better place to live. "Lokâh Samastâh Sukhino Bhavantu" (For the happiness of all mankind).
The Law deals with four sets of variables namely, (i) Corruption, (ii) Governance, (iii) Values and (iv) Systems
The World Bank defined corruption as the use of public office for private gain. How the world has taken the issue of corruption so seriously is evident from the fact that the United Nation has made the UN Convention against Corruption in 2003 and many countries have become part of this Convention. This is the fall out of the realization that corruption has proven to be:
Ø ANTI POOR
Ø ANTI ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Ø ANTI NATIONAL
In fact, there is data to show that if the India’s corruption level comes down by 15%, the GDP will grow by 1.9% and the FDI will increase by 300%. This was revealed by a study commissioned by the Punjab, Haryana, Delhi Chamber of Commerce in 2001. Earlier the UNDP report of 1999 pointed out that if India’s corruption level comes down out to that of Scandinavian countries (which are always ranked high in the scale of integrity in public life), the GDP will grow by 1.5% and the FDI will increase by 12.5%. The UNDP report also pointed out the more significant aspect in the context of tackling poverty in the region. It pointed out that the poor are the worst sufferers of corruption. There are cases where for instance, the funds which are earmarked for tackling poverty, and benefit the poor, end up in the hands of the middlemen. A former Prime Minister of India observed that for every rupee that earmarked for anti-poverty program, only 15 % reach the beneficiary. Out of the remaining 85%, may be 40% can be attributed to the overheads of the delivery system, but 45% can be attributed perhaps to corruption as widely felt.
Therefore, corruption, which is unethical and immoral, has been recognized above all as the ‘enemy within’. It injures others, the society, the country and the whole world. It affects the moral fibre of the society.
Good governance is perceived globally as the antidote for corruption. As mentioned earlier, the following elements determine the effectiveness of governance:
1. Rule of Law
2. Probity in public life
3. Individual’s potential
Good Governance is possible only when these elements are at their best. These elements are again the human efforts, which vary with time, place and causation. They all fall under the two categories namely Values and Systems. Therefore, good Governance, which is related with Corruption do, has relationship with the Values and Systems, which determine it.
There are two sets of values:
Ø Ethical Values
Ø Moral Values
Supreme oneness is the rationale of all ethics and morality. The fundamental theme of ethics and morality is "Do not injure others, love everyone as your own self, because the whole universe is one’.
Broadly, values can be looked at from the individual’s point of view and from the society point of view. The following factors determine them:
Ø Individual’s sense of Value
§ Intellectual integrity
§ Moral integrity
§ Financial integrity
o Honesty & Truthfulness
§ Individual Character
· Family Background
· Self Confidence to hold character
Ø Societal Value
o From Individuality to Collectivity
It is this set of values that make the inner instruments (antakarana) to behave in a particular manner and thus becomes the crucial factor for the human behaviour and human acts. It is here ‘integrity’ comes in to the picture.
The human being, as a result of his continuous quest for goodness, evolved various systems from time to time in every sphere of life using these inner instruments (antakarana). The system thus evolved construed of the following:
2. Regulations and
The man sees things, which are found to be decidedly not acceptable and reject them and ultimately gets an answer to ‘how ought to live’. This inquisitive quest and his ability to find a solution, perhaps, is the reason for the success of the human kind for its continuous existence in the universe. The problem comes when the human desires are unreasonable and abnormal. Then he resorts to evil doing and corruption is one of the effects to this cause.
Systems have been evolved in every sphere for Governance. The world has recognized the need for Good Governance particularly in the context of globalization and growing menace of corruption. The anti-corruption measures across the globe including the UN Convention against corruption are towards achieving this goal.
THE LAW OF CORRUPTION DYNAMICS
With these determining factors of corruption, the Law of Corruption Dynamics is derived as follows:
(i) The most corrupt countries or societies are the one having poor governance. And the countries or societies with good governance are least corrupt. Let us denote degree of Governance as ‘G’ and the degree of Corruption as ‘C’. Then, both Governance (G) and Corruption (C) are inversely proportional to each other. That is, when ‘G’ increases, ‘C’ decreases and vice-versa;
i.e. G µ 1 / C .…………equation (i)
(ii) More the degree of Corruption (C), more will be the anti-corruption measures. Let us denote the degree of anti-corruption measure required as ‘A’. Thus ‘C’ is directly proportional to ‘A’;
i.e. C µ A ……………equation (ii)
(iii) Substituting equation (ii) in (i), we get
G µ 1 / A…………equation (iii)
This means, more the degree of Governance, less will be the need for anti-corruption measures and vice versa
(iv) However, scientifically, in order to equate the equation (ii), it requires the balancing factors. The balancing factors are Values and Systems. Let us denote Values as ‘V; and Systems as ‘S’. A good society is the one, which has the best of Values as its base. That is the reason why the level of corruption varies between countries and societies.
The Systems evolved is only to supplement the Values to make it a well-governed society. Therefore, it is the unlimited degree of Values combined with Value based Systems that balance the above equation. And thus, the Law of Corruption dynamics becomes
G = Vn (V+S) / C
G = Vn (V+S) / A
G – Governance
V – Values
S – Systems
C – Level of Corruption
A – Anti Corruption measures
n = 1 to a;
V # 0;
V > S; and
V/S ³ 2
According to this Law, the only way to minimize corruption is by increasing the degree of ‘V’ manifold. It is the value-based system that is going to work for the fight against corruption. Even when the degree of ‘S’ is zero (i.e. the absence of Systems), with highest degree of ‘V’, corruption could be minimized, if not totally removed.
Ultimately, this law aims towards realizing the vision:
"Lokâh Samastâh Sukhino Bhavantu"
- For the happiness of all mankind.
Self Imposed Vigilance: The Solution
"The thief is an artist and the policeman is only a critic" - Oscar Wilde.
The real glory will come only when the thief takes over the role of the policeman to criticize his own art and reform himself. This is the utmost need towards good governance.
The word `Vigilance’ is even traced during the time of Shakespeare. For example in `Tempest’, Antonio speaks to Sebestian:
"Let it be tonight;
For, now they are oppress’d with travel,
Will not, nor cannot, use such vigilance.
As when they are fresh"
The earliest reference of a formal vigilance committee is available in the American history as early as the American Revolution. It was a self-appointed committee primarily meant for maintaining law and order and justice before effective governmental organization emerged. These committees summarily dispensed justice through various methods like banishment, whipping or hanging the persons they consider guilty. After the adequate law enforcement machinery was established, these committees and other vigilance groups gradually disbanded voluntarily.
In our country, right from the colonial times, the presence of vigilance was being felt constantly in the guidelines and suggestions issued by higher authorities to those below to ensure administration and proper observance of the procedures and rules, as long as the government was governing. However, after the expansion of the activity of the government, the government servants were vested with vast authority and huge public funds were handled by them to fulfill the national objectives. The mounting aspirations, therefore, necessitated a formal system of check to ensure cleanliness in administration by preventing possible misuse of authority. Perhaps, at this juncture in the history of vigilance, the exact transformation on vigilance took place and vigilance as a function got shifted to vigilance as a mechanism to address the complaints of corruption against administration was made. Since then, there was no looking back. As the old Buddhist saying goes, "When the mystics showed the moon, the ignorant looked at the fingers", the real spirit behind vigilance has been lost sight of and it led to a situation wherein vigilance is meant to represent only the mechanism of vigilance departments and vigilance officers.
Vigilance, as an eternal price for freedom, is taught even at childhood for whatever activities the child does. ‘Be careful’, is the watchword liberally tendered to any child when he indulges in any kind of activity. As the child grows up, he acquaints with the meaning of vigilance, which covers all aspects of human activity. One has to be vigilant when he goes for a walk on the road; one has to be vigilant while driving the vehicle; one has to be vigilant while making purchases in the grocery shop; one has to be vigilant while performing each and every household work. All these vigilant lessons are taught and learned in order to be productive and effective as well as for not being cheated or assaulted in any form by anybody. This principle of alertness and watchfulness applies to every activity that the human being undertakes. Therefore, it goes without saying that the same kind of alertness or watchfulness or caution or circumspection has to be applied when it comes to the performance at work place or profession. There may be `n’ number of activities which one has to perform in the work place in the assigned job. All these jobs have to be performed with a same amount of prudence, which otherwise would have been shown for doing a domestic or personal work.
Even the dictionary meaning of Vigilance reads it as ‘quality or character of being vigilant, watchfulness against danger or any action on the part of others, alertness or closeness of observations’. Vigilance, therefore, stands for watchfulness, caution or circumspection and its plain meaning, is to be vigilant. It is an absolute state of mind and a matter of pure common sense. In a slightly philosophical sense, it can be said; "not being vigilant and the awareness of being so is in itself is to be vigilant". The big question is vigilance for what? The purpose is more important.
Thus, vigilance is a core built in function exercised by everyone while performing every function for one’s own good as well as others and for the whole universe. When this awareness is imposed on one self it becomes SELF IMPOSED VIGILANCE (SIV). When this self imposed vigilance is applied while performing one’s role for the nation or for the organizations, it leads to good governance and hence SIV-G.
The concept of Self Imposed Vigilance (SIV) can be best understood from the couplets of Saint Thiruvalluvar, when he observed:
Thirukkural (Ch.68, Ver.676)
Mudivum idaiyurum murriyangu eythum
Padupayanum partthuch cheyal
Every act is to be performed after considering the exertion required, the obstacles to be encountered and the purpose to be achieved on its completion.
The litmus test
There is a three-point test, which is being advocated by the stalwarts who had seen great success amidst adversities, which will conform whether our acts are ethical or otherwise. It is a three-point test prescribed by Norman Vincent Peale and Kenneth Blanchard in their book, ‘The power of ethical management’. Any decision taken or any act performed has to be subjected to this test. The first test is, is it legal? The second test is, is it fair? Whether the decision or act is fair enough to all the parties involved in the process. In other words, a win-win situation. Then the third test is, if the decision taken or the act performed is made public subsequently, will it bring shame or embarrassment to the individual or organization. If the answer to these tests is affirmative then the decision is ethical.
Wake up the vigilance officer within!
Nevertheless, there is an easy way of adopting these practices. The story of lamb and tiger is the best example to understand it. Moving amidst the lambs, the lone tiger behaved like a lamb, until one day another tiger made it realize the fact that it was a tiger and not a lamb. The same way, everyone in the should realize that they are vigilance officers for themselves to watch their own acts and deeds, at the first place and then the environment.
In the ultimate analysis, the best course of action to adopt is the direction set by Swami Vivekananda: ‘Teach yourselves, teach every one, his (or her) real nature, call upon the sleeping soul and see how it awakes. Power will come, glory will come, goodness will come, purity will come, and everything that is excellent will come, when this sleeping soul is roused to self-conscious activity’.
Let us wake up the vigilance officer in us and apply SIV (Self Imposed Vigilance) to have good governance. Let SIV-G take its role.
Let us act and not wait for any Act.