Today the 20th of August,Symbiosis Law School, Pune, a constituent of Symbiosis International University, Pune, and Public Concern for Governance Trust (PCGT), Pune, jointly organized, the Late Shri B.G. Deshmukh Memorial Lecture, 2014 on the topic-“Public Participation to Nab the Corrupt” at SVC Auditorium, Viman Nagar, Pune.
This Annual Public Lecture Series has been instituted in the honor of Late Shri B. G. Deshmukh, IAS, Former Cabinet secretary, Government of India and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. The basic objective behind the launch of this Annual Public Lecture Series is to explore the challenges in governance in India.
Commencement of the program was marked by lighting of the lamp by the dignitaries on the dais followed by the garlanding of Late Shri B. G. Deshmukh’s photograph by Mr.UjjwalChoudharyIRS, Director General of Income Tax (Investigations), Patna Dr. S.B. Mujumdar, Chancellor, SIU.
Mr. S.C. Nagpal, Chairman PCGT, introduced PCGT and elaborated its role in raising and solving the social causes such as water problems, crime against women and corruption today. He also introduced the theme of the Memorial Lecture 2014. He explained the concept of good governance and the role of PCGT in it.
Mr. Satyabir Dodd, Member, Advisory Council, Pune Chapter, PCGT, threw light on Late Shri B.G. Deshmukh’s life. He said, Shri B. G. Deshmukh, a pioneer to join Indian Administrative Service through competitive examination from then Bombay State in 1951 and the Founder Chairman of Public Concern for Governance Trust (PCGT), was a true leader from public administration and civil society. Using various anecdotes from his life, he threw light upon various posts held by Shri B.G. Deshmukh and his contribution to the civil society.
Mr. D. V. R. Rao introduced the Honourable Chief Guest and Keynote speaker Mr. Ujjwal Choudhary. The Chief Guest began his lecture on corruptionby reiterating its rampant presence in the country and said that corruption has allowed less deserving people to come forward. He added that it distorts public policy, flouts the system and ruins and destroys the poor because they are the collateral damage. The people have a clear notion as to what triggers corruption but sometimes they confuse the cause with the symptoms. He continued to list some of the reasons, namely governance deficit, funds not provided, no manpower and the system being unable to deliver.
He spoke about the contradictory character of Government policies to people’s opinions. Even though the people’s opinions are asked, the Government takes no steps to implement them. The Government needs to build credibility. This can be done by transforming the system into one of reward and not of punishments. Good deeds need to be recognised in order to motivate the workforce of the nation. He also pointed out that individuals have no power over global phenomena. Accountability needs to be established. A system of checks and balances needs to be implemented in order to know who is responsible for what. Strict procedure, especially in the cases of issuing licenses, submission of documents and various others, need to be put in order so that people with undue power do not use it arbitrarily.
He mentioned that at a very basic level, people need to be educated about the rules and regulations. They cannot expect the Government to act for them if they do not follow proper procedure. He concluded by saying that at the end of the day, it is in our hands and we should endeavour to spread awareness in our own personal capacities.
At the end of the enlightening address, felicitation of Mr. UjjwalChoudhary by Dr. S.B. Mujumdar took place which was followed by the Presidential Address by him. In this address he spoke about the tools to reduce corruption. He said that corruption cannot be eliminated, it can only be reduced. He said that governance needs to percolate through the layers from top to bottom. He also spoke about technology as a tool.
This was followed by an enlightening Question Answer session conducted by Mr. Satish Khot, Member, Advisory Council, Pune Chapter, PCGT.
The programme came to an end with the vote of thanks by Dr. Shashikala Gurpur, Director, Symbiosis Law School Pune and Dean, Faculty of Law, SIU. In her speech she emphasised that Advocacy is not limited to the court and that the return of Environmental Law is the need of the hour.