Indian whistle-blower bureaucrat Sanjiv Chaturvedi, who was on Monday conferred with the Ramon Magsaysay award by the Philippines president, said it was a tribute to all honest and sincere civil servants fighting against corruption.
“Like many other developing countries of Asia, India too faces serious problems of corruption. There is no effective antidote to this problem. No amount of individual activism or non-governmental organisations can replace corruption despite being genuine,” Chaturvedi said in his speech at the awards ceremony in Manila, capital of the Philippines.
Philippines President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III presented the award to Chaturvedi.
Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s highest honour and is widely regarded as the region’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
Apart from Chaturvedi, social worker Anshu Gupta was chosen for the award.
While Chaturvedi was chosen for exposing corruption in public office Gupta was selected for enterprising leadership.
During his stint in various departments such as environment, forest and healthcare, Chaturvedi said, he faced stiff resistance from some most powerful elements within the system on a range of issues, including illicit felling of trees, poaching of rare species, corruption, supply of dubious medicines and irregularities in government recruitment.
“However, I was able to bring these issues to a logical conclusion as the system of checks and balances established by constitution is still working in our country, with institutions such as parliamentary committees, judiciary and independent media provides support,” said the 2002-batch Indian Forest Service officer.
Chaturvedi had exposed corruption in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi as its chief vigilance officer.
He was removed from the post last year, two years before the completion of his tenure.
Chaturvedi also urged the young generation to put in best efforts for the eradication of corruption.
“The majority of Indian population is in the age group of 15-35 and there is a strong urge for eradicating corruption and to bring in a transparent and equitable system. I sincerely hope that pressure built by the young generation will certainly help to eradicate corruption,” said Chaturvedi.
Other prominent Indians who have won the Ramon Magsaysay award are former police officer Kiran Bedi in 1994 and journalist P. Sainath in 2007.