The Times of India
Say No To Corruption
भ्रष्टाचार को ना कहें
بد عُنوانی کو مُسترد کرو
“A corrupt system cannot be reformed, it must be dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up.” “Corruption is a form of violence that destroys the lives and futures of millions of people.”
“Corruption is the biggest threat to our democracy, and we must fight it with all our might.”
“The fight against corruption is not a one-time battle, it is a continuous struggle.”
“A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.”
Bribery and Corruption in India
The term “corruption” is commonly used in everyday language, so most of us are familiar with it. What is the definition of corruption? In our minds, various images emerge. “Corruption is just another type of tyranny,” said Joe Bidden, America’s 47th Vice President. According to the statement, corruption is on par with cruel and tyrannical government rule. Corruption, on the other hand, is a struggle that a common man or woman encounters every day in order to maintain his or her fundamental rights and other benefits as human beings granted by the Constitution. Corruption in public life is a means of obtaining personal benefit through illicit means and the abuse of public office and property. Private-sector corruption is all about making unjust profits by exploiting employees and consumers while skirting government regulations. Corruption exists in every sector and at every level of government in the country, large or little. People in the public and private sectors employ corrupt methods and unfair methods to complete a variety of large and minor tasks. This is because people desire to make a lot of money without putting in a lot of effort.
“Corruption and bribery are against the very nature of democracy and freedom.”
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It is not easy to define corruption. But in a narrow sense, corruption is mostly concerned with “bribery” and it takes several forms. Corruption today is a world-wide phenomenon and India is one of the most corrupt nations in the world.
Corruption is an indication of decadence. A corrupt person is termed immoral and dishonest. Only a person with greatly eroded values indulges in corruption. The problem with corruption is that it threatens the very existence of the society. Corruption is like a leech draining the blood of the society. The worst part is that it affects every part of human life: the flourishing black market in essential commodities, adulteration of even food, bribe, fraud and economic, political and administrative manipulations etc have made the people feel greatly miserable and helpless.
At least one in every two people in India have paid a bribe in the past year, according to a new national corruption report, which branded the practice “part and parcel of daily life.”
The survey, conducted by independent anti-corruption advocates Transparency International India (TII) and social media platform Local Circles, found that bribery had actually reduced by 10% over the past year. But it remains rampant, with 51% of respondents admitting they had paid bribes.
Corruption remains “part and parcel of daily life in India,” said a press release from TII. It’s particularly widespread in local-level citizen services, which are “ridden with bribery and kickbacks.”
The survey, published Tuesday, gathered 190,000 responses across 20 of India’s 28 states. Some 24% of respondents said they had paid bribes several times in the past 12 months, while the remaining 27% said they had done so only once or twice.
Property registration and land issues were the biggest sectors of corruption, with more than a quarter of respondents having paid bribes to the relevant local departments. The police force was next; 19% of respondents said they had paid most of their bribes to police in the past year.
People also paid bribes to the tax department, transport office, municipal corporations, and other local authorities, the report found.
“Corruption is a disease that eats into the morals of the nation.”
The Indian government has tried to crack down on bribery and corruption, amending an anti-corruption bill last year and setting up watchdog institutions. Under the amended bill, bribery is punishable by up to seven years in prison or a fine, or both, the report said.
The new deterrents and measures are “starting to show some effects,” the report said – but that change has not trickled down to the local level. Only 6% of people said that their state or local governments had taken steps to reduce corruption, and many reported that nothing had changed at all.
According to Transparency International, the parent organization of TII, India has a score of 41 on a scale of public sector corruption – 0 being highly corrupt and 100 being clean. Any score under 50 indicates “a serious corruption problem,” according to the organization’s website.
India has the highest bribery rate in Asia and the most number of people who use personal connections to access public services, according to a new report by corruption watchdog Transparency International.
“With the highest bribery rate (39 per cent) in the region, India also has the highest rate of people using personal connections to access public services (46 per cent),” the report said.
Bribery in public services continues to plague India. Slow and complicated bureaucratic process, unnecessary red tape and unclear regulatory frameworks force citizens to seek out alternate solutions to access basic services through networks of familiarity and petty corruption, the report said.
Although reporting cases of corruption is critical to curbing the spread, a majority of citizens in India (63 per cent) think that if they report corruption, they will suffer retaliation, it said.
“Corruption is the enemy of progress and development.”
Most Indians will immediately recognize facilitative corruption from their regular interaction with the state machinery: officials demanding bribes to perform or expedite the basic functions of their job, like issuing passports or ration cards. Collusive corruption involves bribes paid to circumvent regulations, kickbacks from government procurement, and bribes paid to illegitimately obtain government contracts or licences all fit into this category. Extractive corruption comprises diverse crimes, from embezzlement and harassment bribery to shirking and simply not showing up to work. The empirical evidence of these three categories of corrupt activities is widespread.
Corruption is a poison that really has taken root in the human brain of those who place themselves above society, community, and even country in order to take advantage of ill-gotten profits. It is the mistreatment of public resources with the intention of obtaining unfair benefits in order to satisfy material goals. It is concerned with the inappropriate and needless use of authority and position by anyone in power, whether in government or non-government organizations. It has a negative impact on both individual and national growth, lowering both personal and national income. It is a major contributor to the current state of inequity in our society. It stifles a country’s social, economic, and political growth and progress on all fronts.
Growing corruption is also a result of unbridled greed and increased market competitiveness. People have become exceedingly selfish in recent years. They desire to make more money than their relatives and friends, and in their haste, they are willing to use corrupt tactics to achieve their goals. Everyone wants the country to be free of corruption and condemns the government for not doing enough to combat it, without blaming oneself for contributing to the problem.
Corruption has well-established causes. It is believed that identifying the root of an issue is half the battle won. Rather than debating the issue over and over, it is now time to seek for answers. The government must rid India of corruption; else, our country will be unable to prosper. Corruption must be eradicated at its source. For example, India’s expanding population is linked to a shortage of adequate work options, which leads to corruption. To keep the country’s population under control, the government must adopt severe measures. Similarly, it must work on all fronts to create a corruption-free India. We can defeat corruption if we stand unified and committed to rid the world of this evil. Another factor contributing to the rise of corruption is a lack of knowledge. To a considerable extent, spreading education can assist to alleviate this problem. People who engage in corrupt practices such as receiving and offering bribes, using unlawful means to build their enterprises, acquiring black money, and other advantages that they do not have legal access to must face harsh penalties. These people must be severely punished. The media and the government should work together to organize sting operations to expose corrupt individuals in various industries. Such sting operations will not only expose corrupt individuals, but will also deter others from engaging in such behavior. Each of us must accept it as a personal obligation to follow the proper procedure for getting things done rather than paying bribes to get things done or avoid fines.
“Corruption is a curse that harms the nation at every level.”
Technology can also support in the reduction of corruption. CCTV cameras must be put at government buildings, at red lights, and other locations where bribes are frequently taken and given. Recorders can be used in situations where cameras are difficult to deploy. People might also take the initiative to record any corrupt practices that are taking place in their area on their phones and then share the information with the local police station. People in India are afraid of coming to the police station, even to file a complaint against corrupt officials. They avoid going to the police station for fear of becoming entangled in the nitty-gritty of the police investigation and gaining a poor reputation. The processes at the police station must be set up in such a way that persons who desire to assist the cops are not inconvenienced. Though corruption is widespread in India, it is also true that the majority of Indians are honest and have a strong distaste for corruption. Corruption, no matter how deep seated, may be successfully eradicated with political resolve and public knowledge. While individual efforts can help to rid the country of corruption, the government’s involvement is also required if the problem is to be addressed at its source. To address this issue, the central government must enact severe legislation. Individuals, the media, and the government all need to work together to help achieve a corruption-free India. To make the country a better place to live, they must collaborate.
But we just have to understand corruption is not going to go away. This goes all the way up to the very top. Everybody has their own self-interest. And to a degree, when the legal system is a little weak, when the wages of a lot of these officers is very low to start with, headwinds make this happen.
Low-level, everyday corruption, however, has persisted unabated, harming the country’s most vulnerable citizens.
“Corruption is a silent killer that takes from the poor and gives to the rich.”
Recent studies have demonstrated, for example, that it is India’s poorest men, women and children who are the most acutely affected by corruption because they are forced to pay bribes they cannot afford in order to obtain basic services like electricity, clean water and protection from law enforcement.
Today, although India is free, the government officials have enslaved the general public with their corruption. Most of them are hand in gloves with businessmen and thus the whole system is corrupt. What starts at the top percolates down to the lowest rungs of the society. It has thus become widespread even in villages.
Tackling corruption in India is a massive task, but the enormity of the challenge should not dampen reformers’ spirits. The stakes are high—left unchecked, corruption will hamper India’s ability to grow its economy and to provide opportunities for its young population. Worse, corruption also risks diminishing the faith ordinary Indians have in the rule of law and the democratic system; such distrust can trigger a negative spiral as even honest reform initiatives are viewed with suspicion and stymied. Reformers should take comfort in knowing that they are not forging a new path; the literature is replete with examples of effective, inexpensive and logistically simple solutions. India stands to gain immensely from combining these fixes with the more arduous task of strengthening important institutions and State capabilities. While the ability of these solutions to circumvent weak public sector institutions has its limits, the potential gains from reform suggest that such an agenda should be pursued with urgency.
“Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country.”