‘Trial Opens in Indian Telecoms Case’
‘Graft Scandal Hits Indian Opposition’
Are these the newspaper headlines we have gotten so accustomed to reading? Whenever I come across such news, I wonder whether India will ever be free of corruption. Is corruption so deep-seated that it cannot be erased? Is corruption built into the basic functioning of the government? Has corruption become a part of our psyche?
Don’t get me wrong. India is moving towards better governance and will seek direction from more promising leaders. Numerous initiatives have been taken to free the country from the chains of corruption. The ‘India Against Corruption’ movement is a sign of this. But are social activists like Anna Hazare really working in the interest of the people? Is it really a movement to free India or a technique to gain power? I ponder on these thoughts and hardly ever find a satisfactory answer.
However, whether or not the folks who are currently in power are willing to fight corruption, one thing is clear- The youth today is no longer willing to sit back and take it. If you’d been to Jantar Mantar or India Gate during the ‘India Against Corruption’ movement, you’d know what I mean. People want their grievances heard and social media is playing a huge role in this.
However, one Jan Lokpal Bill will not change things. All it needs is one corrupt politician to find millions of loopholes in the bill. To deal with corruption, India needs to:
• Go down to the grass-root level.
• Limit the role of the government.
This first, is important because the lack of education and vocational training gives rise to the lack of awareness and dissatisfaction. But what is most critical is to limit the role of the government. Regulating industry and enterprise is not governance. Ensuring law and order is. If government approval is required for the private sector handles, it will give rise to positions of power, which forms the basis of corruption. Power corrupts and absolute power does corrupt absolutely.
If government can withhold or licence, tax you extortionately, refuse you permission to expand, then rest assured corruption will result. Leave alone a businessman, an ordinary person too will pay a bribe if that is the only way to get the government official to stop obstructing him.
Get government out of people’s hair and you will reduce corruption drastically, that would be the first step. After we have got corruption down to manageable levels, we can discuss eliminating it.