Nepali TV talent show seeks the civil servant with the X-factor

Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:18am EST
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By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A Nepali talent show is in the final stages of finding a star who doesn't need to sing, dance or act - but has the X-factor when it comes to honesty in their job in the civil service.

The competition, Integrity Idol, is searching for the most honest civil servant as part of a campaign to promote greater integrity among bureaucrats in the Himalayan republic and tackle a perception of rampant corruption in government offices.

Wedged between China and India, Nepal was ranked 126th out of 175 countries in watchdog Transparency International’s global corruption perception index this month, down from 116 last year.

"This means Nepal is more corrupt and less accountable than it was in 2013," said Ashish Thapa, executive director of Transparency International Nepal.

The contest was organized by local non-government organization, Accountability Lab, which works to promote greater honesty in public offices and more government accountability.

More than 300 nominations were submitted and whittled down to five finalists including a health worker, two teachers, a district education officer, and two workers devoted to fight maternal and child mortality in remote villages.

Students quizzed the finalists last week in a 30 minute TV show and voters have until midnight on Monday to choose their favorite candidate through social media or by mail.

Organizers expect 10,000 people to vote with the results to be announced next week. The winner will get a certificate to mark their dedication, integrity and honesty in their work.   Continued...