India needs professional blueprint to combat corruption: Basu

Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu on Tuesday said the country needs to draw a professional blueprint to deal with corruption.

Updated: Jul 31, 2012, 21:11 PM IST

New Delhi: Amid the ongoing protests by civil society to enact effective Lokpal Bill, Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu on Tuesday said the country needs to draw a professional blueprint to deal with corruption.

"I like civil society pressure because the pressure becomes a useful rallying point even for those within the government to do something. But blueprint (to combat) needs a lot of professionalism," he said while talking to reporters here at his last press conference as CEA. Basu`s term ends today.

Total eradication of corruption, he said, was not possible but "vast decrease in level of corruption is possible and we have to work towards that".

Basu`s statement comes at a time when social activist Anna Hazare is staging hunger strike in the capital to press for an effective Lokpal Bill to fight corruption.

"I have a great sympathy with activists and people who get very upset about corruption in India", he said, adding eradication of corruption is not just a matter of determination and passion because "if you create another layer of bureaucracy to get rid of corruption, you create another layer of corruption".

On the issue of bringing in black money stashed abroad, Basu said the government has to be careful because lot of Indians are keeping funds in foreign companies for legitimate activities.

"If you begin fear mongering (to) bring illegal money stashed abroad, you will bring legitimate business to a halt... Growth will come to halt if you with hand handed instrument try to control corruption", he added.

Governance reforms and corruption control should be major agenda and there is a need to come up with a blueprint for that, he added.

Replying to questions on opening multi-brand retail to foreign investment and decontrol of diesel prices, Basu said the Inter-Ministerial Group has already submitted its report to the government but there is question of timing.

"...You have to look at international price situation. You have to look at drought situation and take a decision. There are certain things in policy which you know are imperative. You have to ultimately go for it", he added.

The government had to put on hold its decision to allow foreign investment in multi-brand retail because of political opposition.

As regards diesel decontrol, the government has not been able to move ahead with the decision fearing its impact on the price situation and also political fallout.