Anti-corruption seems to be the flavor of season. Notwithstanding the ongoing proceedings, lets divert our attention a little towards a rather interesting anti-corruption tool that the Bihar government wants to use for taming corruption – Youtube.
The idea in itself does not have a novelty factor per se. In plain speak, what Bihar Rural Development Minister Nitish Mishra wants to do is,
Use Youtube as a tool to expose the corrupt officials who resort to taking bribes. The authorities intend to make these videos available for public on Youtube and expose the bribe hungry people abusing their powers
The minister wants to initiate the process by targeting the officials extracting bribes from Indira Awas Yojana (IAY).
The setup will involve setting up of 3 counters in every camp where the IAY beneficiaries will be encouraged to lodge their complaints against the officials who have tried to extract bribe from them. These complaints will then be recorded as videos and release for public viewing at large. Obviously, the intention is that public shame will lead to officials reducing their heinous acts of accepting bribes.
I think the initiative (atleast the thought process) works better than bugging these camps with spy cams or anything. If the officials manning these complaint counters are transparent and don’t have a nexus with IAY officials, they can actually do a good job at crowdsourcing the identification of corrupt officials.
But again, I am not sure how many beneficiaries will think of lodging complaints given the fact that the official might end up further delaying whatever monetary benefits the beneficiary stands to receive. In the end, it will depend on how isolated the IAY officials and the officials managing the complaint lodging – youtubing are from each other.
There is this slight possibility of gaming the system if some official is falsely accused of accepting bribes but guess, the rewards are worth taking this much of risk.
What are your thoughts on this initiative of using Youtube by a government body in Bihar? Does it stand a chance to curb corruption and reduce bribery in government offices?