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Corruption percolating from `top to bottom': Seshan

Special Correspondent

Former Chief Election Commissioner interacts with students

HYDERABAD: The former Chief Election Commissioner, T.N. Seshan, has stressed the need for `reducing' the Government's interference in bringing down corruption.

Though it is not possible to eliminate corruption totally, its impact can be reduced significantly if the interference of the Government is reduced. Corruption, according to him, is seen to be percolating from `top to bottom' and not the other way round. Mr. Seshan was here to address the students of the Indian School of Business on Sunday.

Lively speech

In a lively speech replete with anecdotes and quotes from the history, he narrated to management students, some of his experiences as a civil servant with a standing of over four decades in various capacities, including the post of Chief Election Commissioner. "The then Government asked me whether I would like to become an ambassador and I said the only ambassador I know is the staff car provided to me," he said.

Explaining the treatment meted out to him by the Governments, including six transfers in a day and the impeachment motion moved against him while he was the CEC, Mr. Seshan, however, wanted the students not to get frustrated. They, in fact, needed to understand the functioning of the Government and courts.

Responding to questions from students, he said that democracy was the deliberate choice of the people and "it is the rich urban middle class that lets us down." According to him, corruption was directly proportional to the level of education and it was possible to set the tone at higher levels to contain it. "Corruption is not a matter of opportunity as many think of it," he said.

Stress on values

Stressing the need for building up values right from childhood, he lamented that the education system in the country was such that children were not being allowed to think. The education system had no doubt expanded tremendously since the days of Independence, but "we have not raised the standards while expanding it." However, despite all the shortcomings, there were fantastic opportunities for the young people in the years to come.

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