How to tackle Corruption in India
Most people are unaware of how their everyday actions and behaviors affect others and impact the whole society. People are becoming very greedy and egotistic which has resulted in inhuman exploitation of others. Everyday you read or hear so money stories and news about people whose desire for earning more and more wealth leads them to do unethical, cruel and even criminal things. So many people have gone to the extent of snatching others basic necessities of life. Black-marketing, corruption, murder, or even adulteration hold no bar for them. They can adulterate food-stuff such as milk, ghee, spices,etc., and even the lifesaving stuff such as medicine.
Although we can not ignore the fact of money and I also agree that money is much needed to survive and live a good life but in general we see people are running after money, even if they have enough for themselves and their generations. In this race of earning endless wealth and power, we have completely lost our moral values, social responsibilities and even the meaning of happiness and peaceful life.
We often blame government, politicians and other people but hardly take any responsibility to improve ourselves. We talk about the corruption, unethical behaviors, crimes, etc., but hardly take any action to promote honesty, integrity, ethics or to eliminate corruption.
What is corruption?
As per the Transparency International (TI); Corruption is operationally defined as the misuse of entrusted power for private gain or the use of public office for private gain. In other words, use of official position, rank or status by an office bearer for his/her own personal benefit. Therefore the corrupt behaviour would include, bribery, fraud, stealing the public resources, partiality/favouritism, seizure of public assets for private use, etc.
Transparency International (TI) further differentiates between "according to rule" corruption and "against the rule" corruption. Facilitation payments, where a bribe is paid to receive preferential treatment for something that the bribe receiver is required to do by law, constitute the former. The latter, on the other hand, is a bribe paid to obtain service.
Corruption in India
The most shocking part of the widespread corruption in India is the fact that it is not anymore within the parameters of how TI defines corruption, it is no longer limited to politicians or the public servants, it has become very common amongst almost every section of the society at every level. It is not only prevalent amongst rich who are greedy in spite of possessing enough but also prevalent amongst poor. The fact is that large number of Indians are now involved in corrupt practices in one way or the other, either due to greed or due to so called compulsion. People have gone even to the extent of adulteration of food-stuff such as milk, ghee, spices and also lifesaving medicines.
International Perspective on India
On the international stage, India is considered a nuclear power and one of the fast growing countries in the world. Despite of the very high level corruption, the world's economists consider India as Emerging power in the world. The US government is talking about India's world power status (http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-381es.html). The Forbes magazine lists 53 Indian billionaires in the world. India has also become the biggest exporter in the world of software services and software workers. The Indians are contributing to American and Global progress; a few facts are: 12% of scientists in the US are Indians 38% of doctors(physicians, dentists, PhDs, etc) in America are Indians; 36% of NASA scientists are Indians; 34% of Microsoft employees are Indians; 28% of IBM employees are Indians; 17% of INTEL scientists are Indians(German Magazine).
BUT same time India is amongst the most corrupt countries of the world with a score of only 3.4 out of 10. It ranks 84th amongst 180 countries (Corruption Perceptions Index 2009, ( http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2009/cpi_2009_table ). India is worse than many countries in Asia and Africa such as Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, Taiwan, Korea, Bhutan, and China.
In the world competitiveness scoreboard, which is the assessment of several factors, e.g. Government system, Business efficiency, infrastructure, etc., it is dragging only at 31st position.
Though India boasts of a high economic growth, it is shameful that there is still large scale poverty in India. It has the world's largest number of poor people living in a single country. The recent study confirms that India has more poor people than in 26 African Countries.(VOA news). One of the main reasons of this poverty is ‘CURRUPTION'. A recent news on IBNLive ‘Corrupt Indians siphoned out $125 bn in 8 years', more than $125 billion worth of funds meant for the uplift of Indians were illegally siphoned out of the country by corrupt politicians and corporate sectors, between 2000 and 2008. Last year there was shocking news in Indian media reporting on trillions of dollar black money Indians have in Swiss bank. Almost every day we hear about many scandals and corruption cases in several government and corporate sectors in India.
The government of India has taken a few steps to reduce poverty, stop corruption and improve delivery of public service but most of them did not get much success due the corruption and bureaucracy in whole system and at each level. Several international investors and development agencies are always afraid to invest in India due to the high level corruption. The recent example of misuse of fund and corruption in commonwealth game is shame for our country.
Main cause of corruption
Why do officials misuse public office for private gain and steal public money? Why does a common man get involved in the corruption and unethical activity? Although there are many causes of corruption but based upon several research, surveys and studies, the following are most common causes in most of the governments and societies:
- Lack of rules, regulations, transparency and accountability in public sectors.
- Lack of control, supervision and auditing.
- Lack of articulated Code of Conduct for public servants and politicians.
- Attitudes or circumstances that make average people disregard the law.
- The change in the value system and ethical qualities of people. The moral and ethics have declined and most people give more importance to money than excellence.
- Bribe may provide a convenient means of getting work done or avoid any punishment.
- Bad incentives, such as any employee not earning enough to live on; so he supplements his income with bribes.
- Tolerance of people towards corruption.
- Absence of strong public forum or civil society to oppose corruption.
Consequences of Corruption
Corruption is found to be one of the most damaging consequences of poor governance and poverty, classified by lack of efficiency, transparency and accountability. Corruption diminishes investment and suppresses economic growth and development and also reduces the effectiveness of public administration. It diverts the public resources towards corrupt politicians and officials and away from the needy and poor people. So, corruption can be considered anti-poor and anti-development.
How to eliminate corruption in India
Many people think that only government has responsibility for eliminating corruption and we often blames the government; however in view of the level of corruption and the existing framework that we have in India, it is very clear that government alone cannot stop corruption. If we, the people of India and civil society institutions remain unconcerned and hopeless in fighting against corruption then it can never be eliminated or even can't be reduced. Thus, it is the responsibility and duty of every Indian to fight against corruption and take some actions to promote honesty and integrity and contribute in the motion of ‘Honesty' in India. We need to promote excellency and teach our young generation the actual meaning of success.
No matter what your position is, what your age is, whether you are a government employee or working in a private sector, a student, a retired person or even a housewife, each and every individual has the ability to contribute in eliminating corruption in India and push government, civil society and policy makers to implement more measures at each level. .
Furthermore, fighting corruption requires more than government policy, laws, tools and legal system; it requires awareness of our social responsibility, moral values, excellence in our daily work, etc. We need role models, campaigns, debates, and many different approaches to educate our people, to inspire our young generations, to change the mindset of corrupt people and to tackle with every cause. Moreover it need willingness, commitment and active participation of media, civic associations, voluntary groups, teachers, students, social workers, etc.
Overall, India has a strong potential for being a reasonably corruption-free society if every citizen of India, joins hands together and take some actions to deal with every cause. In this 21st century we have knowledge and proven mechanism to fight corruption. We also have the power of media and technology to spread the message to millions of people within a fraction of second.
So don't sit back; every one of us needs to come forward and take actions. If you are not affected today you will be affected tomorrow.
In addition to the ongoing initiatives such as Citizens' Charters, RTI Act, social audit, e-governance, lokayukta, etc., which needs some improvement and harmonized approach across all states, the followings are a few other good initiatives which could help to tackle corruption and every cause:
1.Initiative taken by St Joseph's School in Darjeeling to award a certificate of merit — of honesty — to students who desist from cheating is an excellent example. Another example of opening a bookshop without salesman at Bhagat Puran Singh Memorial Senior Secondary School and Girls College at Rajewal town in Ludhiana, is great initiative ( http://www.inewsindia.com/2008/07/28/limit-of-honesty-a-bookshop-without-a-salesman )
2.Introducing anti-corruption classes in the school curriculum in Indonesia is another great example to fight against corruption. ( http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Sunday-TOI/Taking-lessons-in-honesty/articleshow/4130109.cms#ixzz0zwFCSMhK )
3.The Citizens Charter in Indian Government (http://goicharters.nic.in ) which was introduced to improve the quality of public services to ensure accountability, transparency and quality of services provided by various government organizations was also a good approach but it has not been very effective as many people are not aware of it.
Our media can help to bring awareness of these kinds of initiatives, so that others also can learn from them. We have so many TV channels in India, if these channels start inviting role models, social workers, celebrities and youths on one platform to hold debates/discussions and bring awareness of consequences of the increasing corruptions, I believe people will become more active in fighting corruption and improve their ethical qualities.
The media can interview general public, government officers, etc., if they know about Citizens Charters.
Our teachers can also play a major role in teaching moral values & integrity to our young generation. To bring the awareness and educating the young generation in upholding the honesty, they can also organize debates, discussions and plays in school to encourage the new generation to be an honest citizen.
If not you, then who? If not now, then when?" Join the ‘Indian Honesty Movement' group on Yahoo to build a network of the honest people in India like you to share your thoughts and ideas. If you like this article, forward this to all your Indian friends to create more awareness.