It is the turn now of the bureaucratic big-wigs to be snared in what may be described as the corruption purge underway in Uttarakhand these days. This is due partly to the fact that the level of corruption in the state has grown to a level that it is no longer possible to cover it up. The arrest of former Chairman of the UKSSSC, RBS Rawat, who earlier headed the state’s forest department, indicates that in the present political environment the ceiling is being raised on accountability. It has to be seen, however, whether the politicians from the ruling party will be taken to task. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami deserves praise for ensuring that the law is taking its course without interference from the political establishment. If he continues down this path with even greater resolve, he is bound to harvest rich electoral dividends in the future.
It has become obvious that, in the euphoria of having been given a separate state, the people and establishment of Uttarakhand paid little attention to the nitty-gritty of administration. This has been taken advantage of by those in critical positions of authority. That there has been widespread corruption has become more than evident – now it is the culpability of those in charge that needs to be proven. Hopefully, the investigations will be conducted meticulously and the cases vigorously prosecuted in the courts. This would send a strong message to politicians and officials that Uttarakhand is transforming into a state that will not allow its people to be cheated of their due by corruption and nepotism.
Also, in matters of recruitment to government services, it should be ensured that as little as possible is left to the discretion of those in charge. Better means of selection should be used and the technical aspects more strictly controlled. The amount of time involved in the entire process should be considerably reduced – that will further limit the scope for corruption. It would also benefit the job aspirants, who otherwise spend years preparing for and appearing in the exams. Experts would be able to suggest other ways of tightening up the process and the government should not hesitate if it means out of the box solutions, or even a paradigm shift in the methodology. It is fortunate that this cleansing is taking place in the state at this period of time as it will develop a culture of probity much needed for the future.