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Company corruption increases under Modi sarkar

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New Delhi: Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s repeated vows to reduce corruption in India, a recent report shows that the country has one of the largest fraud problems in the world.

The Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by New York-based risk consultancy firm Kroll Inc., surveyed senior executives from around the world operating in a wide variety of sectors and functions in order to assess the current fraud environment.

The survey of 768 senior executives from a broad range of industries worldwide this year yielded some surprising insights. The overall picture is that fraud has continued to increase, leaving businesses feeling more vulnerable and at risk than ever before.

In the report, fraud includes corruption, bribery, and stealing of proprietary information among other things.

India has one of the largest fraud problems of any of the countries covered in the report, according to Kroll. In fact, in the past one year the number of companies affected by fraud has increased. According to the survey, 69% Indian companies were affected by fraud in 2013-14 while in 2014-16 the affected firms were 80%.

India report card
Courtesy: Kroll

Its 80% overall prevalence is third in this group compared to Colombia’s 83% and Sub-Saharan Africa’s 84%. It also has the highest national incidence of corruption (25% of companies), regulatory breach (20%) and IP theft (15%). It also ties for the highest national level of money laundering (8%).

The outlook for the future, the report says, is also worrying: 92% of Indian respondents reported that their firms had seen exposure to fraud increase in the past year, adding that for every fraud covered in the survey, respondents from India are more likely than average to report that their firms are highly or moderately vulnerable.

In particular, they have the highest proportion reporting this level of exposure to a vendor or procurement fraud (77%), corruption and bribery (73%) and regulatory or compliance breach (67%).

While companies in India are willing to spend to improve their level of anti-fraud protection, it appears that such funds are not being invested appropriately, the report opines. For respondents that had identified the perpetrator, 59% indicated that junior employees were leading players in at least one such crime.

Despite these vulnerabilities and the high proportion of fraud perpetrated by insiders, only 28% of companies in India invest in staff background screening and only 55% invest in vendor due diligence.

Greater attention to employees and reputation-focused due diligence might significantly bolster other fraud efforts at firms in India, the report opines.

Globally, 75% of companies experienced a fraud incident in the past year. 81% of companies affected by fraud reported insider perpetrators and Whistleblowers were responsible for exposing 41% of fraud incidents.

Reshmi Khurana, a Managing Director and head of Kroll’s India office, says that corporate governance in India is evolving in a positive way, and this is being led by a new generation of entrepreneurs.

“They have experienced the many benefits of following sound corporate governance practices, from being rewarded by investors to seeing firsthand how transparency in their financial reporting helps them make the right business decisions.

“The question is, once these businesses grow to a particular size and scale, will these entrepreneurs and the corporate governance foundation they are establishing be able to withstand the external pressures that often accompany growth?” she says.

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Twitter Takes Multiple Steps To Curb Misinformation Before Elections in India

More than 80 per cent of the Twitter accounts linked to spread of disinformation

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Twitter, tweets, India
The Twitter logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.. VOA

Twitter is taking “multi-variable” steps, including the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, to curb the spread of misleading information on its platform ahead of 2019 general election in India, Co-Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey said here on Monday.

Addressing a Town Hall-style meeting at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D), Dorsey said fake news is a way too big category.

“The real problem is not misinformation per se as jokes can also be categorised as misinfomation. But misinformation that is spread with the intent to mislead people is a real problem,” stressed the Twitter CEO who is in India on a week-long maiden visit.

Dorsey, who got a rousing reception at IIT-D with the students wildly cheering the young entrepreneur, likened solving the problem of misleading information to that of addressing a security issue, or building a lock.

Twitter, India
Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations and their use of social media on Capitol Hill. VOA

“No one can build a perfect lock, but we need to stay ahead of our attackers. AI could probably help,” Dorsey told the audience.

Earlier in the day, the Twitter CEO met Congress President Rahul Gandhi and discussed various steps the social network was taking to curb the spread of fake news and boost healthy conversation on its platform.

Dorsey also met Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama over the weekend. He was also expected to meet Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the wake of the growing criticism over Twitter’s role in the spread of misinformation and fake news as India faces Assembly polls in five states in November-December ahead of next year’s general elections.

Twitter, India
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

Twitter, along with other social media platforms, including Facebook, came under intense scrutiny of policymakers in the US for their failure to stop the spread of misinformation by Russia-linked accounts on their platforms during the 2016 Presidential election.

The micro-blogging site since then has stepped up its efforts to curb the spread of divisive messages and fake news on its platform.

To further protect the integrity of elections, Twitter recently announced that it would now delete fake accounts engaged in a variety of emergent, malicious behaviour.

India, elections
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the ‘Global Mobility Summit’ in New Delhi, India, VOA

As part of the new rules, accounts that deliberately mimic or are intended to replace accounts that were previously suspended for violating rules may be identified as fake accounts, Twitter said recently.

Also Read: Twitter Giving Its Users More Freedom to Report Fake, Suspicious Accounts

However, according to a Knight Foundation study released in October, more than 80 per cent of the Twitter accounts linked to spread of disinformation during the 2016 US election are still active. (IANS)