Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday acknowledged that corruption negatively affects India's image abroad. In today's "conversation economy," perception is crucial for economic success, and the astute economist in Dr Singh could foresee the opportunities that India might miss if its image is associated with 'Corruption.'
Addressing the second annual conference of chief secretaries (top bureaucrat at the state level) of states in New Delhi, Dr Singh said:
"Corruption strikes at the roots of good governance. It is an impediment to faster growth. It dilutes, if not negates, our efforts at social inclusion. It dents our international image and it demeans us before our own people,"
This is very much in line with what I wrote in Sept. 2010, as to how corruption remains one of India's biggest perception management challenges. (Read: Corruption: India's perception management challenge.) At the Public Diplomacy in Information Age conference I participated in New Delhi, in December 2010, Shashi Tharoor too raised this point when he called for communication around the theme of "Credible India" to supplement current branding campaign of "Incredible India."
However, developing a line of communication on 'Credible India' may demand showcasing achievements at the ground level. This can be quite a task when we are yet to clean the mess of Commonwealth Games. What can be done instead is sustained communication on the "pace of progress" in India's fight against corruption that will eventually lead to a "Credible India."