Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Simple anti corruption measures that work

Anti corruption measures are not always about enacting new laws or setting up new institutions. Small and simple measures work equally well.

The measures taken by Sanjay Bhatia, Commissioner of Sales Tax, Maharashtra, are a very good example of how existing laws can be better implemented by the existing institutions through small and simple changes. 

Sales Tax officials had discretionary powers to reduce a penalty imposed on a trader for late payment of tax  from Rs 10,000 to Rs. 100. The discretionary powers were scrapped and  mandatory penalty of Rs 5000 imposed for late payment. Immediately, the percentage of timely payment rose from 35 per cent to 90 per cent.

At least 2,000 traders queued up daily for the mandatory C form for tax declaration, which could not be easily obtained without paying a bribe. The Commissioner got the C form uploaded on the the department's website and also made arrangements to have the forms delivered at the trader's doorstep. 

 Besides, decisions on transfers are now being taken by a committee so that even a clerk gets to have a say in an Additional Commissioner's transfer.

The extent of corruption that these and other simple measures  have been able to control can be measured by the fact that in just one year, the Sales Tax revenue increased by nearly 30 per cent! 

For those of us who wish to make a meaningful contribution to the ongoing people's anti corruption movement, here is an excellent opportunity. Please get in touch with your IAC city coordinator, and as a group, request the local Sales Tax department to introduce similar changes. If their response is lukewarm, lets talk about it through the media, the IAC platform, social media such as Facebook etc ------ and create enough momentum to overcome inertia!


  1. Maam i would like to know what you have contributed to the society as a IRS! ??


  2. The pen is mightier than the sword. Your blog reflects your contribution to society. Nation comes first always, it doesn't matter whether you are PM or a Peon, what matters is your intention to contribute to society. I request you to do keep writing and keep enlightning us. As Arvind Kerjiwalji said, we need leaders like you mam to guide this country in right direction.

  3. @Kritesh - I wish you had asked a more intelligent question. Honesty is probably her best contribution. And that she's spreading awareness about reforms by spending some time writing about it, is another.

  4. Where there is a will, there is a way. The honest & upright have to start converting their good intentions to action. Its high time we united in our fight against corruption and unjust. Very informative & inspiring.

  5. Discretionary powers are also one of the source of corruption.