In August last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was keynote speaker at the annual meeting of India’s premier anti-corruption agency, the CBI. There, addressing officers of the agency and state vigilance bureaus, he made a telling remark, “Our anti-corruption agencies must make the cost of corruption unacceptably high for those indulging in this evil practice.”
The prime minister’s advice was well received. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for a key ministry under his charge—the ministry of personnel. Not only has it failed to take action against corrupt bureaucrats, it has also failed to push for the ratification of a key United Nations convention against graft that would make it easier for the government to punish errant officials.