So What Do You Think?

This morning’s newspaper brings the astonishing news report that the CBI is enlisting the help of school and college students to help the agency fight corruption.

In a recent directive, CBI Director A P Singh asked all anti-corruption units to visit schools and colleges — following the Vigilance Awareness Week from October 31 to November 7 — raise students’ awareness and urge them to help with information about corruption in Central government offices.

The Lucknow region anti-corruption unit of the CBI had  an hour-long interaction with Class XII students of Kendriya Vidyalaya at Gomti Nagar.

 Students were told how they could help the CBI in laying traps to nab the corrupt. The CBI team also shared with students officials’ phone numbers and email IDs so that they could send in tip-offs.

They were also told that

 the CBI pays “great attention to collection of concrete evidence.” 

CBI Joint Director Javeed Ahmed said that

“Our aim is to make youngsters aware of the basic job and functioning of the CBI. We will also make them understand that students can play a significant role in curbing corruption in departments of central government by passing information. “

So the CBI wants school and college students to help them by giving them information about corrupt Central government employees.

School students do not normally have to deal with any personal business in offices of the Central government. So the only Central government employees they are likely to know are their parents or relatives.

And they would probably be able to obtain “concrete evidence”  against only their parents, supposing they were corrupt.

So is the CBI seriously suggesting that school children gather incriminating evidence against their own parents?

And supposing kids did gather such evidence against parents or close relatives or perhaps neighbours, will the CBI be able to protect these juvenile whistle blowers?

 The CBI is not even able to protect adult whistle blowers in many cases. What is the guarantee that they will be able to protect these children? Especially when they continue to live in close proximity to those they have informed against?

I cannot help but think that this is a very bad idea. I feel that encouraging children to inform the authorities against their own family may lead to an unstable and sick society.

 Action should certainly be taken against the corrupt. But this does not seem to be the right way to do it. I think this particular remedy may be more potentially harmful than the problem itself.

What do you think?

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6 thoughts on “So What Do You Think?”

  1. Doesn’t it remind one of the erstwhile totalitarian societies including Communist, Nazi and Fascist? I agree that this will make for one sick society (as if it is not already one) where no one can trust anyone else. I wonder whose wonderful brainchild this is?

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    1. Oh yes, it does remind us of those totalitarian societies. I was reminded of George Orwell’s 1984 while reading this news.

      This campaign has apparently started in UP, so perhaps it’s not being seriously pursued & is a gimmick in view of the upcoming assembly elections?

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  2. Shades of China in the Chairman Mao days ? And there is this new thing of schools having to read out the PM’s 2 page letter to all the children in honor of “Right to Education” Day. ( which was yesterday ?). Then Mayawati adds her own one page letter. All this when some villages would be thrilled if you simply built a proper road so their children could safely go to school everyday.

    Since adults have now seen through everything, they now target the children. Not old enough to vote, but old enough to spy . Wah !

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    1. “Since adults have now seen through everything, they now target the children.”-exactly!

      And make children do such spying at an age when they should just be children!

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  3. People in responsible positions should know when it is appropriate to make such comments. He must have been called to speak to the students. He should have used this as an opportunity to highlight what CBI does and create an awareness among students about what is wrong and illegal instead of asking them to report corruption to them. It might have been more appropriate if he was talking to college students at a convocation since they would be starting their career.

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    1. Yes, as you say, he should have created awarenss among the students about what is wrong and illegal.

      I would not have thought much about this, if it were just an off-hand remark by him at some function at a school. But as per the news report, the CBI has instructed all anti-corruption units to visits schools and enlist the help of students!

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