New Delhi. Finance minister, P. Chidambaram announced setting aside Rs. one lakh crore for the Pradhaan Mantri Bhrashtachaar Yojna (PMBY) in his 2013 Union Budget speech. The amount will require sanction of at least two cabinet ministers before use. The finance minister aims to use this scheme to cap the upper limit to corruption in the cabinet and restrict ministers from indulging in corruption in the other budgetary schemes.
The idea to set up this fund materialized in the Cabinet Corruption Committee’s (CCC) inaugural meeting held last year. The CCC, the brainchild of the UPA chairperson was established to develop consensus on corruption guidelines to help the government focus on ‘big-ticket ideas’ as against petty thefts. The CCC had recommended setting up a three lakh crore corpus in lieu of the corruption scams last year. Considering, the sanctioned amount under the PMBY is one-third the committee’s recommendation; the disappointment among its members was evident. “In the right direction, but not enough” is how the Chairman of the Cabinet Corruption Committee Sri A Raja described the announcement.
While on one hand cabinet ministers found the overall amount insufficient, there were concerns on how this amount will be divided among the cabinet ministers. Smaller independents and coalition partners worried that with none or only one cabinet minister; they may not be able to meet the two signature criterion and may lose out on their fair share of the corpus.
Political analyst pointed out that the insufficiency in the amount and the vagueness of guidelines may lead to less than half of the amount going to the beneficiaries and that a strong implementation framework was required to ensure the scheme reaches its intended goal.