The Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement and the Jan Lokpal Bill is the big news at the moment. Nandan Nilekani, chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, which aims to provide identity cards to the poorest of the poor to eliminate corruption from the delivery of services to them shares his views on the movement.
Sagarika Ghose: Hello and welcome to this CNN-IBN special. Can Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement and the Jan Lokpal Bill in its present form end corruption in India?
Joining us is Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys and chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, which aims to provide identity cards to the poorest of the poor to eliminate corruption from the delivery of services to them.
Nandan Nilekani, thanks for joining us. The Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement and the Jan Lokpal Bill is the big news at the moment. Two questions. What do you make of this movement? And do you think that Jan Lokpal Bill is the best way to fight corruption in India?
Nandan Nilekani: No, I think there is no doubt that all of us want to do things to eliminate corruption in our society and I fully sympathise with that motive and the frustration that people feel about corruption. But I think if you really want to do it, it has to be done in a much more holistic and strategic manner. Because there is a part of corruption that is big ticket corruption, there is a part of it that is retail corruption, and what we are finding in the Aadhar project, the UIAI project, is that we have basically given people an identity so that they are not denied something because they don't have an ID. We have to give them services in the villages so they can get their money automatically. We have to make sure that their PDS is portable so that they can go to any ration shop. These are basic, fundamental things which will help in making sure that the people have a much more hassle-free relationship with the State. And so I think if you are going to do something about corruption, we have to do it in a much broader manner, where this Bill just becomes one of many things.
Sagarika Ghose: But you don't think that the Jan Lokpal Bill on its own is a magic wand that can solve corruption problems.
Nandan Nilekani: Absolutely not, I mean, I don't know who is drinking this Koolaid. You know, I find this simplistic notion that you pass some magical Bill and some corruption is going to go away, I find that... frankly... certainly not the way you should be thinking about the issue.
Sagarika Ghose: So do you think that at the moment we have enough laws, the laws that we have, the IPC, the Prevention of Corruption Act, we have enough laws those are enough...
Nandan Nilekani: No I'm not saying that we don't need a Lokpal Bill..
Sagarika Ghose: We need to improve the delivery system.
Nandan Nilekani: I'm just saying that a Bill where you create a whole police infrastructure that will eliminate corruption without looking at the whole broad set of issues and fundamentally changing the way we deliver the public services - in a way that is much more convenient and hassle-free for the common man - is I think focusing on a very small part of the overall problem. So I'm very much for removing corruption, but I think the statement that this is the only way to do it to the exclusion of all other things is... I mean, I find that very very impractical.
Sagarika Ghose: So you are basically saying that the way to fight is through service delivery, to streamline service delivery, not bring back what many are calling an