This committed team has been providing significant database and momentum to create an responsive governance system in our country.
INDIA CORRUPTION STUDIES (ICS)
India Corruption Study the seventh edition and the fourth rounds of studies in the last five years on curruption concerning citizens availing public services and fourth round in the last five years. The 2010 round covered around 10,000 households in rural areas of twelve major states from different geographical regions of India. The four public services covered in this round were public distribution system (PDS), school education (up to class 12th), water supply services and hospital services. These are the services the government claims giving high priority. To brought out a comparative picture, the present report has compared with ICS 2005 round data of only rural households of the eleven states, covered during the round. Tripura was not visited during ICS 2005. This round of CMS India Corruption Study (2010) brings out that compulsions of corruption are not confined to urban or “deep pockets”. The rural and the poor are as much affected of the menace.
Unlike earlier annual surveys of CMS on corruption in public services, this 2007 round focused on BPL households, mostly in rural India. The coverage of this study include all parts of the country. The study, like the earlier ones was based on CMS PEE model that covered 22,728 BPL households availing the 11 selected public services during a year. The services covered include: Public Distribution System (PDS), Hospitals, School Education (up to class XII), Electricity, Water supply, National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), Land Records/ Registration, Forests, Housing, Banking and Police. The study did not include operational irregularities in the system and corruption that does not involve citizens directly. This India Corruption Study 2007 was designed and conducted by CMS in collaboration with the Transparency International India (TII).
A unique feature of CMS methodology has been to recognise that corruption has two sides, each sustaining the other and reinventing itself. One is perception the dimension which is relatively easy to talk about and the second is actual experience of corruption. Perception and experience are often two separate issues requiring separate, but parallel efforts. This model has brought out “the gap” between “Perception” and “Experience”. The other aspect is “Estimation” of total money involved in corruption. It is arguably another tool to sensitise the nation about its seriousness so that corruption is not seen as “high-return-low-risk activity”. This is the “CMS PEE model”-P for perception, E for experience and E for estimation.
TRACKING CORRUPTION COVERAGE IN MEDIA
With the help of the CMS Media Lab, this team has been studying the trend in coverage of corruption issues in our news media. This study involves analysis of primetime (7-11 pm) coverage of corruption in front pages of six newspapers (3 English and 3 Hindi), six news channels (4 Hindi and 2 English) and AIR news. Two monographs and numerous media reports covered the findings of this on-going study.
The 2010 monograph brought out how coverage of corruption in news media of the country has gone up significantly since 2008. This is in the case of all forms of news media-news channels, news dailies and AIR News. The time devoted for coverage of corruption was much more than the time they devote for coverage of health, education-even put together.
The second, monograph in 2011 confirmed that, despite increase in the coverage, “petty corruption involving vulnerable sections of people” is yet to become a concern of the news media. The priority is on scams and scandals rather than for systematic issues and correctives that need to be pursued. The far off and grassroots level corruption hardly figured.
In the last five years, corruption has become a priority of news media. It was less than one percent in 2005/2008. In 2011, it was well over eight percent of prime time and six percent of front pages. But on days of Anna’s fast that coverage overall went up to over 60 percent of prime time of news channels and mostly live coverage.
CMS conducted the first ever-empirical study on cash for vote phenomena in 2008. This data is based on a sample of 18,000 voters from 19 states, further validated with micro level survey in individual constituencies. The study did not cover other inducements or freebies like liquor or in kind. Only Assembly and Lok Sabha elections have been covered.
This CMS study showed the, money for votes is not limited to the poor or rural voters but is a national phenomena spread across rural-urban, rich-poor, different age groups and irrespective of educational levels. The menace was found lower in the Left Front ruled States of Kerala, Tripura and West Bental than in other States. And it was higher in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, where more than 40 percent of voters had received cash for their vote in the polls held in the last 10 years. Even in Delhi, 25 percent of voters received money for their vote. CMS intends to take the study forward in the coming general elections.
CATALYSING RTI IMPLEMENTATION
CMS has been actively tracking and monitoring RTI implementation in the country. Regular studies and field interactions with RTI Activists across the country has resulted in regular writings in media and the Transparency Review journal. CMS has also been consulting with the Information Commissioners and also actively participating in Annual Convocations to share concerns on effective RTI implementation.
This Journal was initiated by Shri Ajit Bhatacharjea (eminent journalist and former editor TOI, IE & HT) who was also the founder editor since its inception in March 2006. The first issue was released by Ms Aruna Roy (founder MKSS) at CMS Office. This bimonthly journal covers and tracks issues related to RTI implementation and other such accountability concerns in governance. Since February 2011, this journal is being edited by Dr N Bhaskara Rao (Chairman CMS). All 31 issues are available on CMS website.
CONVENTION ON ACCOUNTABILITY
CMS Survey was on of the participants from 12 states at the fourth national annual RTI Convention, organised by Chief Information Commission had some interesting findings. ‘Among the civil society, activists and media, only 13 percent thought that their state’s government was serious about RTI implementation.’ The survey brings out that we have a long way to go before the Act becomes universally implemented and a new information regime is established in the country.
Dr N. Bhaskar Rao, Chairman of CMS, drew the attention of the Convention to the many problems faced by the poor, in getting justice and accessing basic services.