Corruption in South Asia

UNDP in its recently released Human Development Report, 1999, has castigated South Asia on corruption as one of the most damaging consequences of poor governance undermining investment and deepening poverty. Endemic corruption, social exclusion and inefficient civil services, it says, plague South Asia. South Asian corruption, it adds, has four key characteristics. These are (1) it occurs at the top, distorting decision-making; (2) corruption money has wings --- it is smuggled abroad; (3) it leads to promotion, not punishment, the big fish rarely fry; (4) it is flourishing where 500 million people are in abject poverty.

The report offers pedestrian solutions. It totally misses out that the only legitimate remedy is instituting true democracy in which representatives have to function under the vigilant eye of empowered local communities.

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