One sign of the pervasiveness of corruption in India is this statistic: 54% of Indians paid a bribe in the last year, according to a 2010 study by Transparency International. "Day-to-day corruption is eating away at people's ability to live life in a normal way," says Ramesh Ramanathan '91, co-founder of the governance-focused nonprofit Janaagraha.
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[This article has been reproduced with permission from Qn, a publication of the Yale School of Management http://qn.som.yale.edu]
As an ex-government officer, I joined with lofty ideas of public service and patriotism. To my horror, I found corruption an unwritten condition of service, and huge corruption an absolute necessity to become a secretary. I was frustrated - every posting brought me face to face with the same problem. In my mind, things were bad enough, but multiplied after political appointees started heading government and public sector departments by Indira Gandhi, as checks and balances envisaged in the constitution are gone. Short term ministers/chairmen dont care much about action later - bureaucrats know their retirement can be hurt. So 2 of the 3 pillars of indian governance framework (executive, legislature, judiciary) became one, and corruption rampant. while law making suffered. The recent skirmishes between politicians and regulators show their desire to curb judicial and semi-judicial powers. The 'reforms' led to many-fold growth in corruption, as old frameworks were removed, and new ones were not set up. In my view, this will lead India to the league of undeveloped countries, if unchecked. People need to end the legislator-executive-criminal nexus. Legislature should only step in at policy and law level, and focus on judiciary delivering justice - a Lokpal with judicial powers is a must, as it's organized crime. RTI can enable. Also electoral reforms, to ensure public offices do not become offices of profit. Me? I quit 12 years ago, and was lucky to be taken up by a for-profit company. Never regretted not being in the safe job and sleazeball rackets. Happy ending (I hope)on Jan 15, 2013
Paying a bribe in India is a part and parcel of existence. I head a business and i see how things get inevitably delayed by not paying up! For ppl in business, where time is money, the cost of bribing works out to be lesser than the cost of delaying projects and clearances. Online services greatly reduce bribery at lower levels. This has been very well visible in the upgradation of Sales Tax dept of Karnataka. Bribing is not something an ethical business person would resort to, but given the circumstances in India, and the phenomenal difference of speed in greased and ungreased transactions, we are left with no choice. I myself feel soo degraded to deal with red tape that i have now appointed a manager just for this purpose!on Apr 22, 2011
The first step is to remove discretionary powers at all levels and introduce online services to minimise contacts with govt officials. Although this may not entirely remove corruption it may at best reduce it. Resistance to bribing should build up amongst us. Bribing/corruption is not only in the govt depts/sectors but in private sectors too. Purchase orders/payments are always released for a consideration in many private conglomerates. Bribing has shown us an easy way out in almost all matters. Can you better that?on Apr 5, 2011
Well said, if legislators legislated as they are supposed to instead of donning monarchical powers of bestowing benefits then half of the problems would be solved.on Apr 5, 2011