4Ps Business and Marketing Magazine - A Plan Media Publication, New Delhi, India. Special Feature COLUMN CITIZENRY A prescription to end corruption Unique identification of every citizen will help kill the corruption malaise in developing economies


Kris Dev, 
ICT & e-Gov Consultant, Manthan Awardee for e-Inclusion & Livelihood Creation

What ails the under developed and developing nations? Reply: corruption leading to self perpetuating poverty. Reason: lack of 
honesty & transparency. Result: lack of accountability for sustained growth. Economy is divided between rich & poor; the rich 
are growing richer and the poor are growing poorer. The poor cannot afford essentials such as food, clothing, shelter, health,
education and social security. The division is so sharp between communities, while a rich family can afford to spend Euro500 
per week on food items, a poor family of the same size can hardly spend Euro5 per week. 

Does this mean all citizens living in a poor nation are poor? Well the answer is a 'NO'. The wealth in a under developed/developing
nation is skewed. Almost 80-90% of the wealth of the nation is in the control of say 5-10% of the population. The majority of the 
population hardly has access to any wealth and live in abject poverty.

One of the biggest factors is 'Corruption.' It is the cancer eating into the vitals of the society. It has permeated into all facets
of life, affecting the poor and voiceless. Today, the common man with no money or muscle power, cannot think of getting any thing 
done in the developing world, without having to pay bribe. 

Global institutions such as World Bank, IMF, and UN must enjoy legitimacy from their member countries and the international community.
They must be responsive, with the interests of all members, especially the smaller and poorer, being taken into account. The governance
of these institutions must be flexible, must respond to new challenges, national priorities and specific circumstances.

A scathing report from the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of IMF highlights the lack of transparency and accountability in IMF. The
IEO measured governance along four dimensions  effectiveness, efficiency, accountability and voice  and against three standards  the
Fund's own governing documents, other international organisations, and private & public-sector corporations. The report finds accountability 
and voice are the weakest features of the Fund's governance and these weaknesses entail risks to the Fund's legitimacy, which in turn has a 
bearing on its effectiveness. 

If this is the situation with global institutions, we can well imagine what would be the situation with national and regional institutions. 
No wonder they abound in corruption of all sorts and get away with it. Then, how do we get over this corruption mania? One sure way would be
to plug all the leakages in the system. This cannot be done without active support of the governments and its citizens. A unique identification 
of every citizen is the primary requirement. With the advent of ICT tools, every citizen can be uniquely identified from birth to death using 
unique identification methods such as fingerprint, iris, hand vein geometry and DNA linked to their ID, name, photo, etc. 

A Multi Purpose Biometric Smart Card for every individual and organisation linked to a money account and a e-Tool to link every citizen and 
service provider/public authority including the vertical and horizontal hierarchy of governance can be used as a single window of transactions
for G2C, G2G, B2B, B2C, etc. If the transactions are thrown open, then total transparency and accountability can prevail, as envisaged in the
Right to Information Act.

Healthy citizenry can be created by covering all aspects of citizens from birth to death such as health, hygiene, housing, education, employment,
expenses, consumption, savings, social security, et al, based on genuine physical transactions and not ghost transactions. Thus corruption, 
money laundering, arms trade and terrorism can be eliminated and all round peace and prosperity can prevail as every one would feel good that
no one can cheat any one and all have equitable opportunities to contribute and grow.


Kris Dev,
ICT & e-Gov Consultant