Corruption, the biggest challenge to Indian democracy: President

Corruption, which is sapping the resources of the nation, has become the biggest challenge to Indian democracy and the decay in the moral fibre of the society is impacting on the hopes and aspirations of the young and the poor, President Pranab Mukherjee said today.

 
President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the nation on the eve of 67th Independence Day, in New Delhi, on 14 August 2013  

Addressing the nation on the eve of the 67th Independence Day, the President said: "Today we see widespread cynicism and disillusionment with the governance and functioning of institutions in our country."

"Corruption has become a major challenge. The precious resources of the nation are being wasted through indolence and indifference. It is sapping the dynamism of our society. We need to correct this regression.

''Democracy is much more than the right to vote every five years; its essence is the aspirations of the masses; its spirit must influence the responsibilities of the leaders and duties of the citizens every day. Democracy breathes through a vibrant Parliament, an independent judiciary, a responsible media, a vigilant civil society, and a bureaucracy committed to integrity and hard work. It survives through accountability, not profligacy. And yet we have allowed unbridled personal enrichment, self-indulgence, intolerance, discourtesy in behaviour and disrespect for authority to erode our work culture,'' the President said.

The biggest impact of the decay in the moral fibre of the society is on the hopes and aspirations of the young and the poor, he added.

He also had a word about the decline of institutions like parliament, saying our legislatures looked more like "combat arenas," rather than legislative institutions.

"Our legislatures look more like combat arenas, rather than fora that legislate," he said.

"We need a Parliament that debates, discusses and decides. We need a judiciary that gives justice without delays. We need leadership that is committed to the nation and those values that made us a great civilisation," he added.

(See: Full text of President's Address to the Nation)