Corruption today can be called a malaise attached to the largest democracy of the world i.e. India. From getting your birth certificate to your driving license to getting a loan passed to build your home, nothing goes without giving a bribe. The numbers of scams appearing one after another, plus the amounts of money roped in, acts like a slap on the face of an honest civilian who is working hard day and night to feed his family. In a developing nation like ours, the development will soon cease instead of spreading. The citizens have become so accustomed to it that the dividing lines between the corrupt and non-corrupt are merging.
Some Saddening Facts
By definition, corruption can be called a problem of routine deviation from the established norms set by public officials and parties. World Bank defines it as the misuse of public property for private gain. It can range, however, from embezzlement of public money to abuse of power i.e. asking for bribes. A study conducted by Transparency International in 2005, said that in India, more than 62% of Indians have had a first-hand experience of paying bribes or influencing to get jobs done in public offices successfully. Later in 2012, India was ranked 94th out of 176 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, tying with countries like Colombia, Djibouti, Greece, Mongolia, etc.
As revealed by many studies, “The more the corruption, the slower the economic growth”.Other effects include the rise of inflation, increase in black money, an unstable marketplace and risk of investment, thus the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer. At times, corruption in India is so habitual that it is believed that it’s a natural or inborn feature of the Indian democracy.
A few Solutions to Control Corrution
The increasing corruption in India has increased the frustration of the people. This was witnessed when the Aam Aadmi came on the streets to support the activist, Anna Hazare who sat on a fast. He demanded the implementation of the Lokpal bill that will appoint a Lokpal to look into the officials indulging in corrupt practices at both state and central level. All over India, there was an immense support reckoned to Hazare by the commoners and the Government finally had to submit to the demands of the people.
- Stringent actions must be taken to ensure that corruption is reduced. Since the government itself is seen involving into scams like 2G spectrum scam, Commonwealth scam, Adarsh Housing scam, Coal mining scam, etc, the citizens and the statutory bodies must take initiative to curb this malpractice. People have taken initiatives to fight against corruption through citizen-created websites and social media activism like ipaidabribe.com and India Against Corruption Movement. The problem still is the slow working judiciary that takes time to pronounce any conviction in most corruption charges. Moreover, with the growth of cities, corruption also grows as more and more intermediaries are needed between the central government and the people.
- Setting up of strict laws and along with them, strict enforcement of these laws will help the fight against corruption. As indicated by an article in Harvard International Review (HIR), there are plans to update anti-corruption laws by “eliminating loopholes and introduce an amnesty period of three months during which all those who have black money can claim it legally by paying an income tax of 21%.”
- There are bodies like CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) to look into cases of high officials getting involved into corruption. There should be no control of the government on these bodies and they should act independently to bring in effective results.
- Research indicates that India can control corruption by training its civil servants to a more professional level with skills in auditing, accountancy, and legal matters. If this step would have been taken at the time of liberalization, the scenario could have been much different as oversight and scrutiny from within the administration would have increased. Moreover, there would have been a greater understanding and respect of administrative procedures, thereby reducing corruption and increasing development in India.
The nation’s reputation and the future of the youth are at a stake and it is the responsibility of the politicians as well as the bureaucrats to pave a path of bright future for the nation.
By Pratishtha Kaura