CWG scam… NRHM scam… Adarsh Housing Society scam… Kargil Coffin scam… Bofors scandal… and the list continues!!
Be it ministers, industrialists, film stars, cricketers, social activists or corporate executives, everyone seems quite proactive and resourceful in terms of bending the rules and making some quick bucks!
So, the question that comes to my mind is – does corruption run in our genes or are we conditioned to be corrupt socially?
Let’s take the example of our government officials and politicians. The Commonwealth Games, which received international media coverage, could have been used to boost India’s image. Ironically, Kalmadi’s priority seemed to be his own bank balance, as opposed to the country’s image. When Arjun Munda became the Social Welfare Minister in 2000, his first endeavor was to beautify his home in Jamshedpur! Maybe he misunderstood the saying “charity begins at home”!
Clearly, their sense of duty and responsibility extends to their own families or communities. The ongoing trend seems to be that of ‘shared prosperity’ – the benefits of being successful is shared with family members or even distant relatives. In most cases, the success of one individual leads to the creation of opportunities for many.
The overwhelming tendency to serve the biradiri has, since a very long time, become a source of unauthorized social welfare for many Indians. Ashish Nandy, a political psychologist and critic, had rightly said in the ThinkFest, “A poor person brought into power immediately has his family, community waiting to share the benefits of that power.” This adds greater pressure on the person to stay in power. Added to this pressure, is the insecurity of power and money, both of which are unstable and short-lived. Therefore, “he becomes desperate to make money by whatever means possible.”
Not only, are we inclined to bend rules, we are forever looking out for loopholes, or as we would like to call it, jugaad. In fact, we are congratulated by friends and family or hailed as ‘intelligent’ or ‘smart’ when we are able to pull up a source, pay a bribe or even jump a red light. Ironically, for every ‘smart’ move we make, we can quote a shloka from our celebrated epics. After all, Lord Krishna cheated six times, as depicted in The Mahabharata. Furthermore, each time someone pointed out the rule of law to Him, he simply pointed out that the goal was to win.
So, what breads corruption? Shouldn’t making money be linked to success and ability? Shouldn’t the rewards be tied to the creation of value? But give the government too much power and there is bound to be corruption. And this corruption will loot almost half the national income. Isn’t socialism slowly spelling our demise?
Corruption occurs, when a businessman has to approach a government official for a permit, licence, quota, laying taxes or some other regulatory clearance. The only way to eliminate corruption is to eliminate as many activities as is passive, where passive interaction with government is required. End most taxes, government welfare schemes, permits and quotas, and corruption automatically ends. How to do that? Watch out for it in future articles!