|By Alfie D'Souza, U.S.A. [ Published Date: June 8, 2012 ]|
It seems like corruption in India is one of the deadliest growing and non-curable disease --it is like cancer which is hard to cure, unless it is detected in the earlier stage. The biggest danger is that by not tackling this problem soon enough, corruption will become the routine and the norm. Corruption in India is dragging the whole country down. Political, bureaucratic, corporate and individual corruption are major concerns of corruption in India. The trend of corruption has become a major habit in India that majority of Indians opt for bribes or influence peddling to get their work done in public or government departments successfully. According to sources, India was ranked 95th out of 178 countries in Transparency Internationals Corruption Perceptions Index.
In India all government departments are corrupt but the worst of the worst are: Customs (what a surprise!), public works (technically there's money to develop the roads or slums, obviously it's disappeared), and agencies in charge of licenses and permits. Oh and the best of all: the organised corruption in railways, with an elaborate system of redistribution of bribes according to seniority!! team spirit in action, boys! Watch and learn, I suppose. The most simple daily routine administrative tasks cannot be performed with a bribe to the civil servant in charge of the paperwork. Got your valuables stolen? Had a traffic accident? Need to register your name for a permit, a loan, a government grant or subsidy? Need your vehicle registered or want to obtain a driver's license? Need a admission to a school or college? Need your burial place reserved? Need a police clearance for your passport or immigration needs? Etc; Etc;--Don't forget your bribe money!!
From small time clerks to the high profile politicians, commissioners, police inspectors and constables, traffic police, stock exchange brokers, military establishments, recruiters, sportsmen, judiciary, and most of the government employees, corruption is seen and felt in every transaction from bottom of the chain till the top. The low salaries of the people made them susceptible, bringing with it more inefficiencies and the easy way of making money with less or no accountability. If you stay to be honest and live a decent and truthful life you will be still poor in India -- whereas on the other hand the corrupt ones, get richer by swindling money from poor and innocent people, through scams, bribes and crime. Seems like as if India is a rich country filled with poor people!!
The recent scams involving unimaginably lumpsum of money, such as the 2G spectrum scam, are well known. Indians' anger over rising corruption has reached feverish levels. What people are calling a "season of scams" include the alleged theft of billions by officials ( Suresh Kalmadi, a politician who headed the games) behind 2010 Commonwealth games in Delhi; crores of rupees lost from the crooked sale of 2G telecoms licenses ( Cabinet Minister Andimuthey Raja was the man behind this racket); crores of rupees stolen in Uttar Pradesh alone from schemes subsidising food and fuel for the needy. Bribes suck a significant of poors' income. Corruption leads to poverty -- so there's no doubt poverty and corruption are linked. The more the corruption, the slower the economic growth. Corruption has already become a major obstacle to investment in India.
Bribery exists everywhere and in every country and in many different forms, but corruption in India sometimes look like civil servants' favorite contest nationwide. The more the corruption, the slower the economic growth. Corruption can be defined as the misuse of public property for private gain -- it ranges from embezzlement of public money to abuse of power i.e: demanding bribes! "Show me the money, and your work is all done!" -- that's what corruption is all about!!
Corruption is not limited to atheists, even the most corrupts are highly religious and have close family ties, in other words corruption has no boundaries. Need a admission to a school or college at a Catholic or a non-Catholic institution, some of them insist on bribes in the name of donation money --we are talking donation money in lakhs and not thousands! Bribe will get you a seat in the school or college, no matter what. Seems like not fair at all to me! It's time that religion and religious congregations should support and promote anti-corruption drives.
Talk about RTO Department and the Driver's License facility --they are one of the biggest corrupt administrations. Need a driver's license even though you may not be a qualified driver, you can hire a agent and you got your license just by paying bribes. Agents are channels of inefficient corruption in India's bureaucratic driver licensing system, facilitating access to licenses among those who are unqualified to drive. Pay extra and bribe the concerned license issuing officers, you can have your license ready, and bypass the driving test. No wonder that we have so many accidents in India caused by these unqualified drivers who received their driving licenses illegally.
Yes, corruption in Mangalore is also on the rise --while the City is getting richer fast, and the faster the economy grows, the more chances arise for mind-boggling theft. I did visit a few public sectors in Mangalore just to find out how the administrations are functioning in handling citizens requirements. Although rules and regulations were posted on the walls of these administrations corridors, but seemed like no one went by those regulations--bribes and corruption have replaced these rules and regulations. It's really a pathetic situation that Mangalore has become one of the worst corrupt city in the nation . Regulations are not, by and large, deterrents to corruption, but a source of it. Wake up Mangaloreans, it's time for us to fight and weed out corruption/bribe activities in all these public sector offices.
I know it is very hard to control or stop corruption in India, but our slow by slow efforts will surely ease out the problem. India must redouble its efforts to liberalise. The government should implement a plan for a universal, computerized ID scheme ( In USA, they have Social Security Number) --it would allow welfare payments to be paid into individuals bank accounts hindering theft by State workers. Other solutions may include population control to improve the quality than the quantity; computerization of processes; privatization of public sectors, eliminating the chain of corruption by not just punishing the first level but also the higher levels authority involved. We can fight corruption by promoting a more open and transparent government. Media coverage should intensify and activist organizations should gain weight in fighting corruption in India.
Yes, corruption can be stopped if citizens stop patronizing those bribe-minded civil servants. If you notice corruption acts, report to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), which is in charge of implementing the prevention of Corruption Act, focusing on high officials; or you can also notify the Lokayuktha Law Enforcement Department. We have seen these days that CBI and Lokayuktha personals are doing a good job in cracking down on corrupt politicians and other public sector servants. Good job folks! We need to improve co-operation between the CVC, government departments, and law enforcement departments to take action against the corrupt civil servants when they are caught red-handed, and make sure they get severe punishments or lose their jobs, in order to avoid further overwhelming the sluggish legal system.
Finally, all I can say is that corruption in India, in our State, in our town need to be handled very cautiously: acting for the short time only or not acting at all would make the government look like it's unable to act on its own and establish long term goals. Law abiding Indians should strive and fight to end corruption, thereby help the poor hardworking citizen of India to survive. Jai Hind!
About the Author
Alfie D'Souza, was a well known name in Mangalore before he immigrated to United States in 1990. During his college days at St. Aloysius, Mangalore, he was Secretary of Co-Life Association, and also the editor of Co-Life magazine. He was editor of Mangalore Jaycees Bulletin, which twice won the Best Bulletin Awards in Karnataka State Jaycees. He was also the president of Rock Society, a entertainment organization which organised various local and international shows/concerts in the 80' and 90's.
In Illinois, USA, Alfie D'Souza is a regular columnist for The Times--a newspaper published daily in Ottawa,( a Chicago Suburb)who covers various stories of Indian and western origin on various events. He is also the editor of District 1-K Lions Illinois newsletter, and also the editor of Marseilles Lions Club, Illinois newsletter. He is an active member of Indian Catholic Association, Chicago; Mangalorean Konkani Christian Association, Chicago; Knights of Columbus, Ottawa; Ottawa Fine Arts and Music Association; Ottawa First Recreation Association; Ottawa YMCA; Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and Industries.