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A comprehensive strategy, therefore, must be devised to reduce the scope for corruption, while, at the same time, providing

space for individual initiative and action. The following issues against corruption in public life must be addressed in order to curb the menace: First and foremost, the need for an integrated approach to dealing with corruption must be recognised. Agencies like CBI, CVC and Anti-corruption Bureaus cannot operate in isolation. They must have the resources to take a broader view of individual cases and be able to make a distinction between a bonafide mistake and deliberate wrong -doing. Second, all discretionary controls and the scope for discretion in the control and regulatory systems, that cannot be dispensed with, must be eliminated. Third, must reform the tax system to make it simple and transparent, and to ensure moderate rates of taxation that enable widest possible compliance. This remains an area where most citizens encounter corruption. Fourth, the justice delivery system has to be modernised and made more efficient and speedy. Not only must the guilty be brought to book more speedily, the innocent must be spared the trauma of delayed justice. The assurance of integrity within the judiciary is itself a deterrent against corruption in public life. Hence, prompt action against corruption in the judiciary, at all levels, is also a necessary element of the battle against corruption in other institutions of the State. Fifth, the reform of public procurement systems, both civil as well as defence, with complete transparency in the tendering processes at all stages with publicly recorded discussions is also an integral element of a comprehensive strategy to fight corruption. Sixth, the Right to Information Act has to be effectively utilised so that it will not only act as a deterrent but also empower citizens to bring to light any act of corruption. In fact, non-governmental organisations and concerned groups of citizens can and should use the RTI Act to combat corruption in public life. It is also felt that Public Services Users Associations can also play an active role in ensuring delivery of such services without corruption. We need a Citizen's Charter that states explicitly the rights of tax payers and consumers of public services. A citizen holding a ration card should be able to secure his entitlement without recourse or resort to corruption. Seventh, the decentralisation of administration and the delivery of justice can help in reducing corruption by making the system more accountable to the people they have to serve. Be it municipal authorities or public utilities, be it school teachers or doctors, whatever the service provider be, greater community scrutiny and decentralisation of administrative control can act as a deterrent against corruption. In the final analysis, however, there is no better protection against corruption in public life and in public services than an alert civil society. The Government has empowered civil society through the Right to Information Act. However, it is public minded individuals, NGOs, and the media who have to take the initiative to mobilise people against corruption.