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Santhanam Committee : Mandate & Recommendation

The Santhanam Committee was formed in the year 1962 to investigate and report on the allegations of corruption against high-ranking public officials, ministers, and bureaucrats in India. The committee was headed by Shri K. Santhanam, a distinguished civil servant. The committee was tasked with investigating corruption in public life and suggesting measures to prevent it.

 

Background of Santhanam Committee

During the early 1960s, India was plagued by allegations of corruption against high-ranking public officials, ministers, and bureaucrats. These allegations were a source of great concern for the government and the public alike. In response to these allegations, the Indian government set up the Santhanam Committee to investigate the matter.

The committee was formed against the backdrop of the Nehruvian era, which was characterized by high idealism and a belief in the power of the state to bring about social and economic change. Corruption was seen as a major obstacle to this vision of a just and equitable society, and the Santhanam Committee was seen as a key step towards addressing this problem.

Scope and Mandate of Santhanam Committee

The Santhanam Committee was given a broad mandate to investigate allegations of corruption against public officials, ministers, and bureaucrats. The committee was asked to examine the functioning of government departments and agencies and to suggest measures to improve transparency and accountability in public life.

The committee was also tasked with making recommendations for the prevention of corruption and for the punishment of those found guilty of corrupt practices.

Findings of Santhanam Committee

The Santhanam Committee submitted its report in 1964, after two years of extensive investigations. The report was comprehensive and far-reaching, and its findings sent shockwaves through the country.

The committee found that corruption was rampant in public life and that it had become institutionalized. It identified several factors that contributed to the prevalence of corruption, including the absence of effective checks and balances, the lack of transparency in government operations, and the inadequate punishment of those found guilty of corrupt practices.

Key recommendations

The Santhanam Committee made several key recommendations in its report to combat corruption in India. Here are some of the most significant ones:

  1. Establishment of an independent anti-corruption agency: The committee recommended the establishment of an independent agency to investigate corruption cases and prosecute those found guilty of corrupt practices. This led to the establishment of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 1963.
  2. Strengthening of existing institutions: The committee recommended the strengthening of existing institutions such as the police and judiciary to make them more effective in preventing and prosecuting corruption.
  3. Introduction of transparency and accountability: The committee recommended the introduction of transparency and accountability in government operations to reduce the opportunities for corruption. This included measures such as the publication of government contracts and tenders and the introduction of financial disclosure requirements for public officials.
  4. Prevention of conflict of interest: The committee recommended the prevention of conflict of interest by prohibiting public officials from engaging in business activities that could compromise their public duties.
  5. Improvement in procurement procedures: The committee recommended the improvement of procurement procedures to reduce the opportunities for corruption in the allocation of contracts and licenses.
  6. Political funding regulation: The committee recommended the regulation of political funding to reduce the influence of money in politics. This led to the amendment of the Income Tax Act to require political parties to disclose their sources of funding.
  7. Punishment for corrupt practices: The committee recommended the introduction of more severe punishment for those found guilty of corrupt practices, including the forfeiture of property acquired through corrupt means. This led to the amendment of the Prevention of Corruption Act to make corruption a criminal offense.

Impact of Santhanam Committee

The Santhanam Committee had a profound impact on Indian society and politics. Its findings were widely publicized and led to a public outcry against corruption. The report was instrumental in initiating a national conversation on the issue of corruption and in raising public awareness of the problem.

The committee’s recommendations were also influential in shaping the government’s response to corruption. The government established the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 1963 as an independent agency to investigate corruption cases. The CBI was given broad powers to investigate corruption cases and to prosecute those found guilty of corrupt practices.

The Santhanam Committee’s report also led to several legislative measures to combat corruption. The Prevention of Corruption Act was amended in 1964 to make corruption a criminal offense and to provide for the forfeiture of property acquired through corrupt means. The Income Tax Act was also amended to require political parties to disclose their sources of funding.

Conclusion

The Santhanam Committee was a landmark event in the history of India’s fight against corruption. It helped to raise public awareness of the problem and led to several important legislative and institutional measures to combat corruption. The committee’s recommendations and findings laid the foundation for several subsequent initiatives to fight corruption in India.

Despite the measures taken to combat corruption, however, corruption remains a pervasive problem in India. The issue of corruption has remained a major challenge for successive governments, and the fight against corruption remains an ongoing battle.

In conclusion, the Santhanam Committee was a critical milestone in India’s efforts to combat corruption. The committee’s findings and recommendations played a key role in shaping the government’s response to corruption and in initiating a national conversation on the issue. While the fight against corruption remains a major challenge, the legacy of the Santhanam Committee continues to inspire efforts to promote transparency, accountability, and good governance in India.

MCQ

Q. What was the Santhanam Committee?
a. A committee formed to investigate corruption in India.
b. A committee formed to investigate the Nehru government.
c. A committee formed to investigate the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
d. A committee formed to investigate the economic reforms of the Indian government.

Answer: a. A committee formed to investigate corruption in India.

Explanation: The Santhanam Committee was formed in 1962 to investigate corruption in India and to make recommendations to combat the problem.

Q. What was the main recommendation of the Santhanam Committee?
a. The establishment of an independent anti-corruption agency.
b. The introduction of transparency and accountability in government operations.
c. The strengthening of existing institutions such as the police and judiciary.
d. The improvement of procurement procedures to reduce opportunities for corruption.

Answer: a. The establishment of an independent anti-corruption agency.

Explanation: The Santhanam Committee recommended the establishment of an independent agency to investigate corruption cases and prosecute those found guilty of corrupt practices. This led to the establishment of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 1963.

Q. Which act was amended to make corruption a criminal offense?
a. The Income Tax Act
b. The Prevention of Money Laundering Act
c. The Prevention of Corruption Act
d. The Companies Act

Answer: c. The Prevention of Corruption Act

Explanation: The Santhanam Committee recommended the introduction of more severe punishment for those found guilty of corrupt practices, including the forfeiture of property acquired through corrupt means. This led to the amendment of the Prevention of Corruption Act to make corruption a criminal offense.

Q. What was the objective of the Santhanam Committee?
a. To investigate the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
b. To investigate the economic reforms of the Indian government.
c. To investigate corruption in India and to make recommendations to combat the problem.
d. To investigate the Nehru government.

Answer: c. To investigate corruption in India and to make recommendations to combat the problem.

Explanation: The Santhanam Committee was formed to investigate corruption in India and to make recommendations to combat the problem.

Q. Which of the following was not a recommendation of the Santhanam Committee?
a. The establishment of an independent anti-corruption agency.
b. The introduction of transparency and accountability in government operations.
c. The promotion of corruption to boost economic growth.
d. The regulation of political funding to reduce the influence of money in politics.

Answer: c. The promotion of corruption to boost economic growth.

Explanation: The Santhanam Committee did not recommend the promotion of corruption to boost economic growth. Instead, it recommended measures to combat corruption, including the establishment of an independent anti-corruption agency, the introduction of transparency and accountability in government operations, the regulation of political funding, and the strengthening of existing institutions.