Politicians should be model of honesty:Survey

New Delhi: Cautioning that market economy cannot function if people are totally self-serving, the Economic Survey today called upon political leaders and policymakers to become role models of honesty and integrity. "If the political leaders and policymakers act as role models in terms of … qualities of honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness, that can set the ball rolling (for better governance)," said the Survey, tabled by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Parliament.

Regretting that non-economic facets of life did not get adequate attention, it said, "we …know that a market economy cannot function if people are totally self-serving." It further pointed out that while self-interest is a is a major driver of economic growth, "it is important to recognize that honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness constitute the cement that binds society. Honesty and integrity can be nurtured and aversion to corruption can be shored up."

The Survey further said that literacy has an added value which implies that ordinary people would demand policies which are truly better, rather than those that merely look good on the surface "and, in a democratic setting like India, this will incentivise politicians to adopt better policies".

Further, basic literacy and better education are helpful since people can then, on their own, reason and reach these conclusions. Citing work of political scientist Yoshihiro Fukuyama, it said, societies that managed to develop higher levels of trustworthiness among the people were societies that had achieved greater economic prosperity.