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Corruption Indias Bane

A lot has been said on the existing state of corruption in India. In fact the
term is so much in vogue, that it has become old hat and elicits an almost
blas reaction from the larger public in general. Understandably, one hardly
feels like hearing about the term, let alone reading about it anymore.
Nonetheless, I am still ofering my to penny orth of opinion on it.
!he Indian "tate has unfortunately not only succeeded in creating a society
hich at a fundamental level is organi#ed chaos but also here the socio$
economic, politico$bureaucratic, techno$corporate machinery is functional,
only if palms are greased and deep pockets are ell lined. !he blatant ease
and lack of hesitation hich accompanies the solicitation of a bribe %a very
small aspect of the generic term &corruption'( for instance, is both ama#ing
and appalling.
It is not as if the very act of corruption is anathema, for corruption has
existed ever since civili#ation daned and is thus not endemic to India alone.
)hat hoever is disturbing is the extent to hich it has percolated among all
segments and classes of modern Indian society. !he venerated layer
"orab*i in fact, had once stated that Indian democracy is based on
corruption.
Indian society is in danger of depreciating into a tilight #one beteen a
banana republic and a ma+a state. ,ur leaders seem to bask in an
iconoclasm secure in the facile assumption that India's ealth generation
process %based to a large extent on cronyism and corrupt practices( ill
continue to yield rich dividend and economic development ithout upsetting
the balance of the social moral cart.
-oever, the cart has been imbalanced and thinking citi#ens had taken
notice resulting in the vociferous protest movements by the likes of Anna
-a#are and his ilk. I do not ish to deviate into semantics or speculate as to
hether the mass protest movements that ere organi#ed by .r. -a#are
and his supporters in the year /011$/01/, ere politically motivated or not.
Irrespective of .r. -a#are's motivations, it as still heartening to see
someone ho had the gumption to try and bring this social menace to the
forefront of mass consciousness.
!hough the movement gained considerable momentum, it dre considerable
2ak from various segments of the society and even unsurprisingly from the
U3A led 4overnment, hich had leveled accusations of the movement being
backed by various groups ith vested interests and the opposition party in
particular. Although the charge as not an entirely baseless one, the
statement as made insipid by the very stupidity inherent in it. !he larger
issue at stake as %and still is( that of monetary$corruption hich permeates
through the hole system rather than that of political up$man ship and
pointing +ngers. !he U3A led 4overnment as either unable or unilling to
take measures to nip this malaise in the bud, thus bringing into 5uestion the
credibility of the political elite.
)hat is orse is the fact that there ere voices of dissent ithin the system
that asked for supporting evidence for the existence of this glaring moral$
social aberration. "uch people have either been providently lucky in not
having to face a situation here their sense of moral ethics has been
compromised6 or have more to gain from the perpetuity of a politico$
economic scenario that ensures massive gains to a select minority to the
detriment of a hapless proletariat ma*ority. -istory shos us that the ruling
elite and the ealthy in any society have alays taken umbrage to any
event, hich may challenge the status 5uo. .oreover so, there is a fatalistic
tendency embedded in the psyche of the Indian people best illustrated by
the &chaltha hai' attitude.
"uch a debilitating attitude does not augur ell for either economic
development or prosperity for vast sathes of the Indian populace. !he
existence of corruption in the monetary system as also implicitly
responsible for the economic slodon and policy paralysis that a7icted the
country in the years /010$/018 %!he rami+cations of hich are still being felt
in /019 as also the conse5uent economic fallout that the current :;3 led
government is grappling ith(. !rue enough that in an era of globali#ation,
economic crisis in one country has a ripple efect on other economies.
-oever, that does not absolve an economic < political system from
systemic errors inherent in it. .onetary corruption puts in2ationary pressure
on the economy and unchecked in2ation can have devastating
conse5uences %!he economic crisis of Argentina in the late =0's is a case in
point( In2ation is a precursor to economic instability and a sure sign for >?I
and >II to 2ee. !o add to the calamity of the problem, India has one of the
largest black markets in the orld and corruption, black money and in2ation
are all inter related and have a direct bearing on the gross domestic product
per capita.
It is not ithout reason that the economic adviser to then 3. .anmohan
"ingh, stated in early /01/ that the Indian economy as in dire straits. !he
voices of post$colonial condescension ould delight in the rot of the ne
&India "hining' or the ne &Incredible India'. !hey ould re*oice in their
resounding smugness of &e told you so@' Indians should be aare that the
)estern attitude toards India does not stem from ne found respect or
admiration based on e5uality but on hard$nosed business, political, and geo$
political vested interests. If e as a nation ish to elicit genuine respect,
then the current :;3 led government and e as citi#ens need to clean up our
act.
It is a matter of great shame for India and Indians that no political party or
the ruling political elite that form it, have not had an accusatory +nger being
pointed at them for alleged eak and callous governance and corrupt
practices. !he number of scams that rocked the previous government and
ruling party's political boat only serve as an ugly and unfortunate reminder
of the sorry state of afairs of Indian politics.
According to !ransparency International and the Aorruption 3erception Index,
India ranked B9 in the year /018. !hat puts us in the same bracket as African
and certain Catin American nations. And orse, this scale is greatly
augmented by our behemoth population@ Ahina %an unfair comparison
perhaps( ranks DE. Any dissenter, ho ishes to repudiate statistics as mere
+gures, is in need of an inard evaluation. !he methodology of surveys may
change as per the changing socio$economic reality and perceptions of a
country but the inference6 deductions and social message have bearing. 80
years ago one could perhaps have been forgiven for turning a blind eye,
forti+ed by the paltry excuse of being a poor country comprising mostly of
illiterate and uneducated people. No longer today, hat ith a 8E0 million
strong educated middle class. It is imperative that the young men and
omen coming into adulthood begin to turn an introspective glance inards
and become the harbingers of change. !hey have the necessary eaponsF
youthful optimism, energy and education %3. .odi's take that the older
generation needs to take a step back and let the younger generation take a
more proactive role in Nation building and formulation of policy, is orthy of
appreciation(
I must emphasi#e that I am not explicitly holding a particular
classGsegmentGsection of Indian society solely responsible for embedding and
perpetuating corruption as a ay of life in India, for it takes to to tango.
-oever that said, &heavy lays the head that bears the cron'. !hus the onus
on eeding out or at least putting checks on corruption falls s5uarely on any
ruling politico$bureaucratic elite. Any systemic change after all, 2os from
top to bottom and not the other ay round. !he common man and even the
not so common man must thus be devoid of any incentive to resort to
corruption.
!he Narendra .odi's led :;3 4overnment staunch crackdon on &black
money' stashed aay in International tax$safe havens is a elcome step to
putting checks on corruption. !he recent revelation of the names of three
individuals accused of concealing foreign assets from the tax authorities, as
also the "upreme Aourt's diktat that the 4overnment reveal the names of all
those guilty of stashing money in foreign banks, is indeed a positive step.
-oever, much still needs to be done, hat ith at least D00 Indians having
"iss :ank accounts and untaxed black money in foreign bank accounts
estimated to be in hundreds of billions of dollars.
,ne must remember that the greatness of a country or civili#ation depends
upon the character of its people. !hus, there is a dire need for putting in
place a system that prohibits monetary corruption hile bringing the guilty
party to book, if e are to arrest Indian societies' decline into moral apathy.
It is my earnest hope that Narendra .odi and the :;3 led 4overnment ould
be up to the task and do the needful.