The stigma of corruption of our country stinks. It is spoiling the image of our democratic functioning. This country, of vast heritage of culture and history, is besmirched by being rated among the most corrupt countries of the world. This rating is done by the known organization Transparency International. According to the latest rating done by this organization India’s position has gone down to 90 from previous position 72 among the countries surveyed this time. This is a matter of great shame for our country.

This ugly manifestation of corruption prevails everywhere. One meets it at every stage in day to day life. There is petty corruption where small bribes become normal routine for, say, getting railway ticket, or getting out of traffic violation, or getting out-of-turn favour. In financial term this petty corruption is flea-bite, compared to the corruption at higher levels which involves massive amounts and kickbacks taking place on every occasion where administrative policies are modified to suit vested interests. Bribes inevitably involve black money. Estimates are that as much as 40 percent of India’s economy involves black money transactions. Private companies of our country are reported to 1.25 percent of India’s GDP, to Government contracts. This is among the findings which formed the basis of the latest rating of corruption perception Index by Transparency International.

Our democracy is being thereby alleged to be based on corruption. We are looked upon as corrupt Society. The malaise of corruption in our society operate at all levels, political, bureaucratic, business and day to day life. It is generally alleged, and correctly believed, that bigger chunk of black money is involved in elections : Elections to Central Legislature, to State Legislatures and even Municipal elections. At the bureaucratic level it operates for favours of various sorts in the administrative areas. In business the licence-raj system is one part, and the other part is connected with securing favours from bureaucratic level and from political masters.

Involving all these levels, over the last many years there were quite a number of scams involving massive amounts of money. Bofors scam of Rs. 65 crorers is now old story; Fodder Scam, of huge amounts involving the Chief Minister of Bihar, when he had to go behind the bars, he placed his wife on the seat of Chief Minister where she is still operating and he has now become Railway Minister of the Central Government; nobody knows how the whole Fodder scam case is now progressing. There was scam of purchase of medicines in Uttar Pradesh, involving bogus purchases of medicines worth Rs. 63 crores; Securities Scam involving a high level dealer in securities, who had secured huge amounts of loans from banks against securities which were apparently fraudulent and which involved many crorers of rupees; Telecom Scam which involved a Minister of the Central Government; Stamp Paper Scam involving fake stamp paper of over Rs. 2200 crorers; scam of MPAs (Non-Performing Assets of Banks) which was a scam of momentous proportions, allegedly involving about Rs. 80,000 crorers, perpetrated through banks by indiscriminate sanction of loans and advances to the industry and business; petrol pumps scam involving allotment of large number of petrol pumps in various parts of the country to the relatives and personalities of political functionaries, and some other scams.

Unfortunately, over last ¾ decades our democracy has become increasingly dependant on practices of corruption. Black money has become the essential ingriendent of political election. Candidates have to spend money, for setting up huge pandals for attracting crowds. Arranging transport for attracting them to the meetings. Political parties have to collect money for meeting various requirements connected with election of candidate. Money is collected through all sorts of sources, and inevitably it is black money. No wonder that as much as 40 percent of GDP (Gross National Product) is used as black money, mostly for politics and processes connected with politics. There have been demands that political parties must maintain accounts and the account should be accessible for scrutiny and audit. This demand was secured from the Supreme Court by COMMON CAUSE through a Writ Petition; orders were issued, but compliance with these orders has not been evident, there have been suggestions that elections should be based on allocation of funds by the Government for parties and their individual candidates. 

This has been discussed and debated, but it has not, in the present circumstances of multiplicity of parties and requirements of individual candidates, been found possible or acceptable. Limits have been placed by the Government on expenditure which can be incurred on election to an Assembly and election to the Parliament, but these limits have never been properly enforced.

Bureaucratic corruption is considerably linked to the present atmosphere wherein political executive, the Minister Incharge of the Department, is himself not above corruption and is in fact ready to jump in for securing funds from the people, directly or through the Bureaucrats. There are undoubtedly exceptions where bureaucrats are not in any way involved in corruption. There are numerous functionaries for maintaining and enhancing the reputation of our country. They set the example, for their colleagues as well as for their subordinates and they deserve all the praise and support that the functioning of bureaucracy can given them. Among the bureaucrats, however, at various levels, including the highest as well as the subordinates there are black sheep. They siphon off funds, through dubious means and from clients and tenderers, and amounts thus secured are sometimes huge, running into many corers of rupees. Business is business for making money, through their products or services. Normally their operations should remain above board. But it has to be realized that where the aced with the situation that he can make money or secure an order only by payment of brine be will even inevitably resort to these means. If the system of political, executive and bureaucratic operations can ensure that no businessman will be allowed to resort to foul means, there will be much less chances of bribery and corruption. 

One cannot help feeling that in India a person would have inclination to even brine God for securing a special benefit. Businessman, contractor or builder involved in big construction, all hold out promises to God with special offerings, for seeking the favour of success for their ventures. 

Taking all these facts into consideration, one has to devise ways and means for curbing corruption to the maximum possible. Following are the measures which have already been talked about or initiated. It will be desirable to determine what means need to be adopted to meet the requirement of enforcement of the contemplated measures. 

In political arena, as stated above, the major cause of corruption is the requirement of black money for election purposes, besides, of course, resort to corruption by political masters when they assume power. For eliminating corruption in elections there is no alternative to the allocation of election funds to selected candidates by their political parties. For this purpose there is primary need of making provision of funds which can be allocated to individual political parties by the business community and those who have the capacity to afford, and that funds allocated to political parties will be exempt from income tax payable by donors. There is certainly no reason why this provision should not be enforced. While enforcing this provision it must also be imposed as positive responsibility on political parties that they must maintain accounts and that accounts should be subjected to annual audit and report thereof published. Direction to this effect was issued by the Supreme Court on submission of a Writ Petition by COMMON CAUSE, as mentioned earlier, but it is unfortunate that on subsequent enquiries from political parties whether they were maintaining accounts, most of them preferred to remain silent, which means that they were not complying with this requirements. If political parties continue to collect funds through processes of black money, if they choose not to maintain accounts, there can be no curbing of corruption and our country will continue to be disgraced by the fact of our being deemed as one of the most corrupt countries of the world. 

Black money is negative aspect of Indian politics. Low breakers become laws makers. This is other important matter which needs to be tackled. The minimum requirement for ensuring that law makers are able to promote corruption-free Government is that law makers are not themselves the law breakers. It is necessary that steps must be taken to ensure that the law breakers and criminal elements do not become law makers. There is need to amend the Electoral Law, particularly Representation of People’s Act, to ensure that the law breakers do not become law makers.

To attain these objectives following steps need to be taken : 

  1. No political party must be permitted to contest the elections unless it has got its latest Annual Accounts duly audited by an Auditor prescribed or notified by the Election Commission, Comptroller & Auditor General or the Supreme Court.
  2. No political party must be permitted to contest elections unless it has cleared its income tax dues and has got the requisite Certificate from the Income Tax authorities.
  3. Complaint regarding scope of corrupt practices during elections should be looked into by the Election Commission even before the date of polling.
  4. Explanation I below section 77 of the Representation of People’s Act Should be deleted. This explanation states that any expenditure incurred or authorized in connection with the election of candidate by a political party or by any other Association or Boyd of persons or by any individual (other than the candidate or his election agent) shall not be deemed to be expenditure in connection with election incurred.
  5. Another requirement is to incorporate the provision that a person who has been accused of an offence involving moral turpitude or any other criminal offence will not be permitted to context the election. The election Commission can identify these offence. In particular, the provision should ensure that any person against whom a charge-sheet has been framed, in respect of an offence involving moral turpitude or criminal offence, should be debarred from contesting election. Election commission should identify the offences. The critical test for applying the ban on the candidate contesting the election should be that the concerned judicial authority, including Magistrate etc., would have examined the FIRs and the date and material to the stage of framing charge-sheet.



  1. Very important consideration is that there should be law which would punish the person involved in corruption. It is unfortunate that in our country corruption today has become a low risk and high profit business activity. The Law Commission in is 167th Report has suggested the enactment of Corrupt Public Servants (Forfeiture of Property) Act. The Bill for enactment of this Act has been pending in the Government from 4-2-1999. with the enactment of this Act the corrupt public servants will no longer be able to take advantage of the present legal process to escape punishment. The main provisions of this Act include : (i) It shall not be lawful for any person to hold illegally acquired property such property either himself or through any other person on his behalf. (ii) where any person holds illegally acquired property such property shall be liable for forfeiture by the Central Government (iii) Person holding any illegally acquired property, on conviction by a criminal court, be also liable to punishment with imprisonment which should not be less than seven years and which may extend to fourteen years. There are other provisions in this Act which strengthen the action which can be taken against a public servant involved in corruption.
  2. In addition to passing fresh legislation like Corrupt Public Servants (Forfeiture of Property) Act. It is necessary to ensure that the existing laws are effectively implemented which relate to checking of corruption. As an example the Benami Transaction Prohibition Act was passed in 1988, enabling confiscation of Benami property. Under section 8 of this Act the Government has to prescribe rules under which confiscation could take place. This is reported not to have yet been done. Prompt action on implementation of such laws will greatly help in checking corruption.
  3. Another important fact is that no attempt has been made to strictly avoid politicising the bureaucracy. The simple instrument by which political executive has found that the bureaucracy can be made to dance to its tune is the Instrument of transfers and postings. It is fundamentally important in this context that at least the importance and sensitive posts must be insulated by making to impossible for political executive to interfere in the matter of their transfers and postings. For instance, the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate must be insulated from influences. This objective was sought to be achieved by making the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) a statutory body and making CVC to supervise the activities of CBI. There should be provision for minimum tenture of two years for the officials and it should be provided that they cannot be transferred without consent of CVC.
  4. It will in fact be worthwhile to identify all sensitive posts in Government and ensure that these posts will be filled up from the panel of names recommended by an objective and independent committee or by CVC’s Committee of CBI and ED. These modifications will bring in certain amount of objectivity and relief from the present situation where corrupt elements literally resort to bribe for reaching the sensitive posts which they can exploit for enriching themselves through corruption.


Measures for reducing political corruption in India will need to consist of following elements. These need to be emphasized in a summary manner even at the risk of repetition :

(i) Total freedom to individuals and corporate bodies to contribute to political parties without any upper limit, and the availability of benefits of tax deduction under the Income Tax Act.
(ii) A candidate against whom the charge-sheet has been framed in the court in any criminal case involving moral turpitude should not be permitted to contest election.
(iii) The Explanation I below section 77 of the Representation of People’s Act should be deleted. 
(iv) No political party should be permitted to contest election unless their accounts are audited. 
(v) No candidate should be permitted unless he has got income tax clearance certificate. 
(vi) Allegations of corrupt practices must be enquired into urgently by the Election Commission without waiting for election to be held. 
(vii) Nexus between corrupt elements in politics and bureaucracy should be nipped in the bud by a system by which all posts will be filled up by a process of appointment based on panels recommended by neutral and objective committees. Once appointments are made, a person should not be transferred from the post for two there years. 
(viii) Corrupt Public Servants (Forfeiture of Property) Act should be brought into force immediately for implementation. 
(ix) Benami Transaction Prohibition Act of 1988 should be implemented effectively; it has remained pending for twelve years.

While these actions are initiated for curbing corruption in the political area and in bureaucracy there is vital need of also fighting corruption in business. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and ASSOCHAM were addressed by Central Vigilance Commissioner in this matter. Their response was positive. This requirement needs to be effectively pursed.

Besides these various responsibilities of political executive, bureaucracy, and business, there is great need of involving the common man in fighting corruption. Every office has been directed by issue of instructions from CVC that there should be a board saying “Do not pay bribes”. If anybody demands bribe, complain to Central Vigilance Officer, or the Central Vigilance Commissioner. Compliance with this direction will be obviously useful. 

It will be worthwhile to take a broad perspective of the various spheres where corruption has permeated. These include the following, which, of course, is not an exhaustive list:

(1) PROJECTS : Initiation of projects of various description varying from power projects to the projects dealing with city transport etc., is presently in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats in power, who may be unscrupulous and who may be involved in kickbacks affecting the interests of citizens; with continuous expansion of sizes of products, the quantum of malpractices are expected to further increase;

(ii) CONTRACTS : Long contracts of various descriptions at the levels of Centre, States and city are also in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats who may be unscrupulous and who would be using manipulations for utilizing opportunities to derive illegal gains; 

(iii) PUBLIC SECTOR: Reports of misuse of Public Sector units at the Central level as well as in the States, which are again in the hands of unscrupulous politicians and bureaucrats, have been widely prevalent. Large number of cases Public Sector Units, of the Centre and in the States, have been placed under the charge of politicians who are alleged to be siphoning off large scale funds from them for election purposes by their parties as well as for their personal gains; 

(iv) BANKS : Operations of banks, particularly of those which have been nationalised for the last few decades, as well as certain other banks, have come into scrutiny for manipulations of wrongful gains of the manipulators and shere-brokers who have been passing on benefits to politicians and bureaucrats; 

(v) TAXES : In respect of all taxes, including particularly income tax of Central level. Sales Tax of State level. Property Tax and other Municipal taxes at local levels, there are invariably reports of evasion, sometimes large scale evasion which are often facilitated through manipulations with concerned authorities and which are built into the existing system such as provision relating to transaction concerning Real Estate of which the values have highly escalated, 

(vi) CONSTRUCITON : Wide spread corruption prevails in construction industry, including land acquisition and building industry. Highly escalated and continuously rising values of Real Estate property, particularly in the bigger cities, open up considerable scope for corruption which is facilitated through measures relating to preparation of development plans, building regulations including sanction of notified construction, supervision and issue of completion certificates; 

(vii) CUSTOMS & EXCISE : The areas of Customs & Excise have long been noted to be replete with all sorts of malpractices, evasions and manipulations wherein the concerned authorities collude with the manipulators; 

(viii) TRANSPORT : Area of transport has over the years become a very important source of corruption in its various aspects of functioning, including licensing of operations, authorization of Inter-State movement of vehicles, prescription of transport rules in cities, licensing of vehicles etc. All these spheres provide opportunities for manipulations in collusion with the concerned authorities, often also with politician in power. In operations relating to expansion and functioning of railway system too there have been reports of high level corruption; 

(ix) CIVIC FACILITIES : In all maters relating to provision of facilities such as electricity, telephones, Gas connections etc., large scale evasions and corruption particularly at the level of operators are widely prevalent. These are facilitated in connivance with functionaries and include measurers such as large scale threat of electricity disconnection, wrongful utilization of connections and gas supply connections, tampering with maters, and such like; 

(x) TRANSFERS : There have been allegations of corruption prevailing in the functioning of officials in certain posts which provide greater opportunities for corruption. There have been such reports in relation to posts such as Inspectors of Building Departments of Municipalities, electricity meter readers, telephone lines-man and practically in all spheres where subordinate officials come in contact with citizens and unscrupulous element who manipulate evasion of charges and taxes, there have also been cases of manipulations resorted to in securing placement incharge of certain Police Station which are related to expectation of greater opportunities for commission for illegality and gratification; 

(xi) JUDICIARY : People all over have always placed great faith in the functioning of Judiciary, holding the belief that our judiciary is incorruptible excepting in rare instance at the lower levels. It is a matter of serious concern for citizens that allegations of corruption are now emerging more widely in relation to the functioning of these levels of judiciary and in some rare instances, there have started manifesting in the operation of even higher levels of judiciary.

These areas are only indicative of the malaise which has spread far and wide in all spheres of governance of the country including the operation of unscrupulous political masters and bureaucrats at the Central level as well as in the States, operatives in Public Sector Units, and in local bodies and organizations which in one way or the other come in contact with citizens. Important causes have apparently contributed largely to the malaise. One is that of financing elections in the processes of functioning of our democracy which inevitably involves the functioning of present system of our political parties and funds required by them for financing elections and matters connected therewith. The other reason is that over the decade no efforts appears to have been effectively made for overhauling the numerous Statutes and their rules and regulations which affect life of citizens. There are legislations still in operation which were enacted even a century ago. There are also rules ad regulations which are totally out of date in the present circumstances and which are utilizable by the corrupt operators for causing harassment and providing opportunities to derive advantages of wrongful actions. 

For the purposes of detecting corruption and dealing with various problems certain organizations and institutions have been created in the country. These institutions and agencies were created for the purpose of checking corruption and wastage of public resources and for utilization of these resources to the best advantage of citizens. 

I. COMPTROLLER & AUDITOR GENERAL: The institutions of Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG), created under the Construction, was envisaged to constitute a vital link in the process of shaping public accountability, for ensuring that the people entrusted with public revenues remain answerable for physical, managerial and programme responsibilities conferred on them. CAG possesses these responsibilities through Audit Reports which are presented to the Parliament and are examined by its Public Accounts Committee. There are frequent complaints of wastage, fraud, costly delays, allegations of inefficiency, bureaucratic interference and corruption which are highlighted in the Reports brought out by CAG. There is, however, inescapable feeling what the facts brought out in these reports do not lead to any effective and timely action. Reports are commented upon by the Public Accounts Committee, Audit Paras contained in these reports inviting more paragraphs, these are sent again to the concerned Departments and Organisations, and they get submerged under exchange of correspondence, leading seldom to any positive action. On an average CAG issues 100 Reports every year. It has 15 Audit Offices dealing with Central Government and 31 offices dealing with States. In all there are about 100 offices including accounting and entitlement regulation functions. The staff strength is about 35, 000 persons on Audit side and 25,000 on Accounts and Entitlement side. Annual Budget is over Rs. 300 crorers. General impression is that in spite of immense power of Auditor General, and despite the numerous staff and funds utilized for the purpose, there is continuing breakdown of accountability and wastage, and that fraud and misuse of public resources are not effectively checked. 

CAG also oversees the accounts of Public Sector Units (PSUS) and highlights the cases of lapses including their implementation of loss-making orders. Instances have been brought out such as Bharat Electricals Limited (BEL) losing Rs. 52 crorers on sale of shells for TV tubes General Insurance Corporation (CIC) losing Rs. 330 crorers in their investments on occasions CAG Reports brought out instances of wastage and frauds of appalling proportions, but in spite of immense powers and constitutional status as well as independence conferred on CAG, it has not been possible to secure any satisfactory solutions to curbing corruption, misuse and frauds, and to control financial indiscipline. There are allegations that out of total expenditure of Central Government atleast Rs. 20,000 crorers go down the drain every year due to corruption, besides involving inefficiency and apathy at various levels. It has been estimated that almost 10 percent of budgetary allocations actually reach unauthorized hands. Despite the power and efforts of CAG, corruption, fraud, misuse and mismanagement of public funds are generally reported to go unchecked and unabated. It has been voiced that the institutions of CAG has been reduced to impotence and the role of Audit has been undermined by inept and corrupt executives. Thousands of Paras of misuse and abuse of Public funds are recorded every year by the Audit Staff of CAG and Accountant Generals of the States which owe allegiance to CAG, but these paras are brushed aside at various levels. The role of CAG Reports under the present system is believed to have been reduced merely to more business of pinpointing instances of deficiency and inefficiency and misuse; it possesses no power to effectively pursue the instances leading to punitive action against the unscrupulous persons. Recommendations of CAG are not yielding any tangible results and there is now a feeling emerging that there is no reason why the Audit paras which disclose wrong doing should not be registered as FIRS and pursued for investigation by CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) or Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB).

Central Vigilance Commission (CVC): 
Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is another organization which shoulders the responsibilities of exercising vigilance for avoiding misuse of authority and for curbing corruption. It was set up long ago in 1964, as a watching mechanism against corruption. It is an independent and neutral body to advise the Government in matters relating to corruption, misconduct, allegations relating to integrity and other malpractices on the part of public servants under the control of Central Government, including Public Sector Undertakings and banks. The machinery of vigilance has been set up also in Departments and Ministries as well as in Public Sector Undertakings and in some States, for facilitating and conducting enquiries. The commission has status of independence and autonomy. Its Annual Reports are placed before the Parliament. The observations, findings and recommendations of the commission are confined to the concerned Departments of the Government and PSUs. Legally, however, the Commission is only an advisory body. This fact inevitably handicaps its functioning including the main objective of curbing corruption. It is restricting its operations only to cases of defaults committed by Government Servants and that too limiting itself to the operation of senior Gazetted Officers. Although political appointees apparently come within its purview in their capacity as “Public Servants” CVC has never dealt with exposure of misdeeds of non-government servants or launched persecution for any misdeeds of political figures. It has to depend upon CBI for conducting investigations in cases involving non-government servants or examination of unofficial documents CVC in its turn is under obligation to submit all cases to the Home Ministry. The strength of staff of CVC is over 200.00 in one year it receives as may as 4000 / 5000 complaints including cases referred to it for advice. As an institution for checking corruption CVC has actually not come up to the expectations and does not appear to have felt it competent to exercise authority to investigate cases of corruption relating to senior Bureaucrats or political figures. Its functioning gives the impression of its being only another branch of the Minister of Home Affairs.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is an institutional which is charged directly with the responsibility of conducting and investigating organized crime and corruption. Its investigations cover all, including political figures as well as Government Servants, and its operations range over Departments organizations of the Government and public Sector Units including banks. It has staff of about 35000 persons including 650 investigating officials. Its operations cover the entire country. It has offices in all the States. It makes secret enquiries where any cases of crime or corruption are referred to it, collect all the relevant facts including information about assets disproportionate to the normal source of income. On the basis of its findings FIRs are registered and prosecutions are followed up. It has a branch specifically charged with the responsibility of investigating cases of corruption. There have been cases, though very rare, where political figures have been subjected to investigations by CBI, though there are quite a number of cases cases where it has initiated action against officials including senior Bureaucrats. It does operate under the handicap that it cannot initiate action against any official or political figure of State Government without permission of that Government which may not be easily forthcoming.

There is a Department of Public Grievances in the Ministry of Personnel, Pubic Grievances & Pensions and there is also a Grievance Cell in the Cabinet Secretariat. Large number of grievances are addressed by the people to these, but the general impression is that these operate mostly as post offices for passing on to the concerned organization or Departments. Following up all these grievance seldom comes about. Similar position obtains in most of the states where too such machinery for receiving public grievances exists, but where, likewise, the impression prevails about their functioning as mere intermediaries for passing on the complaints to the concerned departments.

The Prevention of Corruption Act was enacted as long ago as 1947. It has no doubt been amended from time to time but there is a general feeling that it does not meet the present day requirements of effectively curbing and punishing corruption. Objects and Reasons forming part of this Act are indicative of its inadequate approach to the problems of curbing and punishing corruption. It at most serves to strengthen the provisions of Sections 161 and 165 of Indian Penal Code prescribing that offence under this Act will be deemed to be cognizable offence and laying down the criteria and circumstances for pursuing the persecution of quilt of the person accused of the offence. There are instructions laid down in this Act regarding officers who are authorized to conduct investigations of corruption, and permission that the authorized officers have to take before they can enter upon any investigation. This act enables action to be taken against the “Government Servant” and the “Public Servant” for the purpose as defined in the Indian Penal Code, which includes also political functionary besides “Government Servant”, but it is seldom that in actual practice this enactment is used for launching prosecutions against any political appointees and functionaries.

Against this entire background of the Departments and functionaries appointed for curbing corruption, one feels that there are certain important steps which need to be taken for achieving the objective of curbing corruption. One major step that was considered necessary and which has not hitherto been taken is that of the establishment of institution of LOKPAL which was conceived as long as in 1964 and was strongly supported by Administrative reforms commission in 1966. It was recommended that LOKPAL in the shape of Ombudsman will be established at the Centre and that similar arrangements would be made in the States by establishment of Lokayuktas, these persons to be equated respectfully to the Chief Justice of India and Chief Justices of High Courts. Bills for the implementation of these recommendations, in particular for the establishment of Lokpal at the Centre, were prepared and introduced in the Parliament on five different occasions, in 1968, 1971, 1977, 1985 and 1989. It was conceived that the offices of Prime Minster and Central Ministers would also be brought within the purview of Lokpal whereas the Offices of Chief Ministers and Ministers of States would come under ambit of operation of Lokayuktas. Despite every possible effort it is unfortunate that till now no legislation has been enacted to implement recommendations of appointment of Lokpal in the last forty years. Lokayuktas have been established in certain States : these include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashta and Rajasthan. In some States Up-Lokayuktas hae also been set up. In certain States Lokayuktas have been able to deal with allegations against corrupt senior political functionaries; in others the position is not clear.

November 04 (Special Issue)