Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Corruption: The Cancer of India

            Corruption is the hottest topic to be discussed and debated on TV shows, five star hotels, tea stoles, drawing room, offices and every possible place where four Indians meet together. Most salient feature of these discussions is that every person who participate in the discussion starts acting like a self appointed judge and unlike our traditional judicial system which takes years and decades to punish the culprits (or to release the culprits!). Here under the sudden attack of patriotism quick and entertaining judgments are passed. Corrupt people should be hanged, all politicians should be sent to Pakistan, limbs of corrupt officers should be thrown to dogs, politicians should be fried in hot oil and many other kind of punishments. By doing all this we feel that we have done a great work of patriotism, as for us patriotism means cursing politicians, bureaucrats and blaming the system. Because it easily allows us to shed the responsibility of corruption from ourselves, in fact it also gives us a chance to indulge in corruption by saying when the whole system is corrupt how I alone can remain unaffected. 

        Before proceeding further let us glance through some statistics of corruption so that you understand the intensity and range of corruption in India. Media has provided lot of news and statistics about all the scams mentioned below so I will not elaborate it much.
  • 2G Spectrum scam - 1,76,465 crore  `
  • Common Wealth Games-  70,000 crore  `
  • Madhu koda’s scam- 8000 crore  `
  • Abdul karim Telgi fake stamp paper scam- 32000 crore `
  • Scorpion submarine scam- 18,000 crore  ` (Accused former naval chief Admiral Sushil kumar)
  • Sukhna land scam and Adarsh land scam- involves Armed forces land worth thousands of crore  ` And also involves top Army commanders like General Deepak Kapoor, Lt. General P.K Rath, Lt. General Shantanu Chaudhri, Lt. General Avdhesh Prakash and As many others.
Let us diagnose what are the reasons that the venom of corruption is running so deep in our veins?

1) Democracy- First of all roots of corruption are buried in our democratic setup. To contest election lot of money is required and due to this ordinary people can't contest election and those who stand in elections either have ancestral money or have earned this money through corrupt practices. Mayawati who was a poor school teacher few years ago has now a property of 52 crore
`, Prakash singh badal the former chief minister of Punjab has a property worth 1000 crore `, Mulayam singh Yadav has a property of billions of `. These are just few examples to quote, but the ground reality is that 300 M.P’s in 15th Loksabha are multi millionaires. What do you think these people are pouring their money for charity? Certainly not, for them this is an investment for which they will get rich dividend. This dividend is in the form of amount earned through manipulation of govt. Funds, taking bribe, settling their keens on good positions, allotting government contracts to fraud and unqualified companies, take money for appointing officers on various posts.

2) Bourgeoisie society- System always stems from top to bottom. There is a proverb in Sanskrit"
यथा राजा तथा प्रजा" which means like king like people. In Bhagwad Gita also it is said by lord Krishna यद यद आचरति श्रेष्ठस्त तददेवेतरोजनह: स यत प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते" which means behavior of elite class people is considered as standard by lower class people and hence they follow it as ideal behavior. Today’s kings are our honorable M.P's, M.L.A's. and most of them are corrupt and shares criminal background (according to a survey of an independent NGO 150 MP’s in 15th Loksabha have criminal records). Not only politicians but bureaucrats, commanders of armed forces and judges too are submerged in the mud of corruption. One retired Chief Justice of India had said that 20% judges of Supreme Court are corrupt and corruption is more ubiquitous in lower rungs of judiciary. Indian Army which was considered to be the holy cow of Indian democracy is also not spared from this. In such situation people feel that it is justifiable for them to indulge in corruption because if those who are on the top of hierarchy don't think about ethics than whom are we to care for ethics?

3) Corruption is an environmental phenomenon- A new born baby does not have notions of right and wrong but as it grows older gradually it learns what is socially acceptable and what is not. This social learning plays very important role in growth of civic sense. Have you ever wondered why is it that the person who breaks traffic rules in India, when goes to Singapore behaves very decently? No, it's not just the fear of fine that is restraining him but actually in India most of the people breaks the traffic laws and therefore no one is ashamed of it because everybody else is doing the same, where as in Singapore everyone follows the public etiquette and the law of land and hence no one dares to go against established norms of social behavior. In the countries like Denmark and Netherlands (which are least corrupt countries) corruption is considered as social evil and those who are involved in corruption have to face a kind of social boycott, hence very few people dare to indulge in corrupt practices. Unfortunately in India publicly we criticize politicians, bureaucrats and corporate for their corruption but privately people admire those who have earned money through illegal means. In such conditions corruption is bound to increase in society and as I said earlier corrupt people come from within the society.  To quote one senior judge of Supreme Court “judges too stay in society and share same social and moral values which other people share and if corruption is there in the society than it is going to be reflected in judiciary also, since we have not came from the heaven”.
4) Impotent and infertile laws- there are many laws to curtail corruption but unfortunately they are teeth less. They have so many loop holes that corrupt people easily escape from it and even if some of them are punished it take years to culminate the judicial process. If any politician or an officer of central government is found to be indulged in to corruption then complaint cannot be filed against them without the permission of central government. Central Vigilance Commission who is an independent agency to look after the cases of corruption in the central government employees can only give recommendation to concerned department regarding action to be taken on their officer, but its recommendation are not binding. Institutions like CBI, Anti Corruption Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax department and various other agencies are there to prevent corruption and financial irregularities, but there is lot of political interference in these agencies. Appointment, transfers and promotion of officers of these agencies is in the hands of politicians. CBI has become an agent of ruling party; it is used frequently to settle the score with opposition. In the past many instances have taken place when CBI has filled or withdrawn cases on people at the will of central government (remember Quatrochchi, Mulayam Singh and Mayawati case). Recent appointment of P.J Thomas as CVC is a vivid example of growing political interference in constitutional appointments. Thomas is accused of palm oil corruption case when he was chief secretary of Kerala and such person is appointed as CVC of India, whereas according to rules the person against whom FIR is filled is not even eligible for promotion. 

         After diagnosis of disease it is necessary to talk about cure, so what are the measures to reduce corruption?   

1) Strengthening of R.T.I- Right to information act 2005 is a revolutionary law which has penetrated in the age old secrecy regime of bureaucracy, but people still doesn’t have proper knowledge about it. For this information about profile and use of R.T.I should be included in curriculum of schools and colleges, R.T.I help centers needs to be established at village, taluka, ward (in urban and metropolitan areas) and district level. Government services and departments who are exempted from the preview of R.T.I needs to be shortened. The process of Computerization and digitalization of government records needs to be initiated.  

2) Lokpal- Indian system of Lokpal is based on Scandinavian Ombudsman system. 1st Administrative reform commission had recommended to enact the law and establish the institution of lokpal to permanently end corruption. Read more about it- Lokpal to Jan Lokpal
 3) Reforms in police machinery-  as per the recommendations of supreme court and National police commission, police establishment board should be established which will look after the matters of appointment, promotion, transfer, suspension and dismissal so that political interference in the work of investigating agencies like CBI and Anti Corruption bureau can be reduced. Police officers should be provided with fix tenure of minimum 3 years so that menace of punishment posting and frequent transfer can be overcome.
4) More powers to C&AG- C&AG means Comptroller and Auditor General, who as a comptroller controls the money issued for the spending purpose and as an auditor audits the government accounts. In Britain C&AG has both the powers i.e. power of comptroller and power of auditor but unfortunately in India C&AG only audits the government accounts and give its recommendation to parliament, then it becomes duty of parliament to take action on the report of C&AG, but in parliament ruling party either due to their majority or with the connivance of opposition suppress it and matter is rejected as C&AG’s over cautiousness.

5)  Right to recall- similar to U.S India should also enact a law of right to recall so that those M.P’s and M.L.A’s who are not working properly can be called back by the people of their constituency. So that fraud M.P’s and M.L.A’s like Govinda who shows there face only during election campaign can be get rid of. For this in every constituency one representative committee of some highly educated and respected people has to be created which will keep record of promises and commitments done by their leader during election campaign and will present peoples wishes and their problem to the elected representative and if he/she doesn’t work properly than he/she can called back by a referendum.
6) People’s awareness- Last but not least is people’s awareness and readiness to eradicate corruption. Nothing is going to change if people are not ready to change. Rather than blaming the system and politicians we should first fix our responsibility for the pathetic situation of the country. Corrupt people don’t come from Mars and Venus, they are the product of our society and while blaming politicians and bureaucrats about their corruption we simply forget about our corruption. Who sells subsidized domestic gas cylinder in black market? Who gives bribe to traffic constable after breaking traffic rules? Who travels in the train without ticket? Who manipulates electricity meters? The answer is "we the people of India". Somebody may argue that although common people also indulge in corruption but their corruption is not as serious as corruption of politicians and bureaucrats, since  the bribe taken by traffic constable or amount earned through black marketing of domestic gas cylinder is negligible in comparison to frauds done by A.Raja or Suresh Kalmadi. To some extent this argument may seem to be true, but we should not forget here that indulging or not indulging in corruption is matter of conscience, but amount of bribe is matter of opportunity. It’s not that common men doesn't indulge in corruption as huge as that of A.Raja's, because his conscience doesn't allows him to do so, it's simply because he hasn't got the opportunity to do such a great work. How can you say that a constable who takes 50 ` bribe will not take 5 crore or 500 crore ` bribe if given a chance? Remember the case of 1993 serial bomb blast, when RDX was landed on Mumbai dockyard with the help of 3 policemen by paying them millions of  ` as bribe. The police men who took bribe were knowing that what harm RDX can cause to Mumbai but still there conscience didn't stop them, because their conscience had died on the very same day when they had taken bribe for the first time.

          It's very easy to pelt stones at others but we need to look in our own conscience. If we have to eradicate corruption than rather than releasing emotional outbursts of punishing politicians and wasting our brain in crap ideas like those mentioned above we need to accept the responsibility on our shoulders too and from next time whenever we do anything wrong or illegal work we must think that we are no better than A.Raja and Suresh Kalmadi.


    1. I agree with you. It is WE, who are electing such corrupts in power and then blame the system. Basically we are culturally irresponsible lot. Look around us. We don't like to follow the rules, even common rules like traffic-rules. If police-man is not there, we happily cross-over the red light. Though crossing-over a red-light is not a big crime until it do not harm others, nevertheless it shows our mentality. We spit and throw garbage easily anywhere and when some epidemic occurs, comfortably put onus on the system for not maintaining the hygienic condition. We prefer short-cuts of giving bribe to get our work done then to ask for our rights. Yes, we need to change. Mahatma Gandhi had rightly said- BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE.

    2. Great work done!
      -indli viewer


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