We must Fight Against Corruption

Why Should We Support Anna Hazare and Ram Dev in their crusade against Corruption?

Some time ago, Anna Hazare and Ram Dev had all of sudden become so significant in the millions of Indian minds that all problems such as price-hike, unemployment etc. were out of their think-tank. Why so? They had taken up a noble cause for the revival of the society, they were exhorting the people to fight against the root of all the evils, that is CORRUPTION. Their purpose is pious notwithstanding the fact their working methods be different or same.

Corruption as we usually define is moral perversion; depravity or you can say it is perversion of integrity. You do some job or abstain from doing the same and take money or some other consideration, for that act beyond reasonable remuneration. Corruption is a misuse of power. It undermines political, social and economic stability and damages trust in institutions and authorities. It also fuels transnational crime. Terrorists and organized criminals are aided in their illegal activities by the complicity of corrupt public officials. Corruption is of particular concern for the world’s police and judicial systems, as corruption in one country can compromise an entire international investigation.

Corruption is authority plus monopoly minus transparency. Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely. There is clear recognition by the international community that further work to enhance co-operation between law enforcement authorities, which is needed in order to co-ordinate global action against corruption.

Unfortunately, corruption has prevailed from time immemorial in one form or the other. It is a result of the connection between bureaucrats, politicians and criminals. Earlier, bribes were paid for getting wrong things done, but now bribe is paid for getting right things done at right time. Apart from financial corruption, social corruption like less weighing of products, adulteration in edible items, and bribery of various kind have incessantly prevailed in the society.

In today’s scenario, if a person wants a government job he has to pay handsome bribe to the higher officials irrespective of satisfying all the eligibility criteria. In every office one has either to give money to the employee concerned or arrange for some sources to get work done. There is adulteration and duplicate weighing of products in food and civil supplies department by unscrupulous workers who
cheat the consumers by playing with the health and lives of the people. In the assessment of property tax the officers charge money even if the building is built properly according to the Government rules and regulations.

Political corruption is prevalent everywhere in some form. The major cause of concern is that corruption is weakening the political body and damaging the supreme importance of the law governing the society. Nowadays politics is only for criminals and criminals are meant to be in politics. Elections in many democracies have become associated with a host of criminal activities.

Tax evasion is one of the most popular forms of corruption. It is mostly practiced by Government officials and politicians who lead to the accumulation of black money which in turn spoils the moral of the people.

There are many reasons that create corruption almost in all the walks of life. It is prevailing world over and we all need to fight against it with tooth and nail for making the life smooth for the next generations.

Major Factors Responsible For Corruption World wide:

1. Extreme price hike.

Today, the People in general is terrified with the price hike misbalancing their family budgets. Though they too see some increase in their income through increased salaries etc., the price hike eats up all such increases. The unemployment has compounded the problem and the people fighting for minimum needs have to get involved in all unscrupulous activities that result in monetary or material benefits for meeting their basic needs.

2. Depreciation of Moral and spiritual values.

With the increase of materialism world over, moral and spiritual values are not being given utmost importance in educational system, which is highly responsible for the deterioration of the society. Students are not keeping due respect to their teachers. Teachers are also not lesser responsible for such depreciation because their attitude, working methods and lack of sincerity towards the development of their disciples due to financial stress. Some time back, in a family, father had been one earning member to feed others. But today, the children are not giving proper care to their father. This attitude is shattering joint family system. Similarly, we have started to attach more importance than to the humanity factor in our dealings.

3. Inadequacy of the punishments to the criminals

The punishments imposed on the criminals are inadequate. With the change in the attitude that we must hate the crime, not the criminals, those persons who have been habitual criminals get easy acquittals at the cost of those who are victimized by the Police with the vested interests. A corrupt official gets easily free by bribing the Investigation Officer. Lack of proper accountability promotes corruption.

4. Money Oriented Politics

Now, the people join politics for earning money. The concept of service to the public by joining politics has lost significance. The political leaders have spoiled the society completely. They lead a luxurious life and do not even care about the society which had given mandate to govern them. Lack of education and awareness to the duties and rights on the part of the people have also made corruption easy to prevail.

Measures To Control Corruption:

There can be some measures to control increasing corruption :

1. The Right to Information Act (RTI) gives one all the required information about the Government, such as what the Government is doing with the tax payments. Under this act, one has the right to ask the Government on any problem which one faces. There is a Public Information Officer (PIO) appointed in every Government department, who is responsible for collecting information wanted by the citizens and providing them with the relevant information on payment of a nominal fee to the PIO. If the PIO refuses to accept the application or if the applicant does not receive the required information on time then the applicant can make a complaint to the respective information commission, which has the power to impose a penalty on the errant PIO.

2. Another potent check on corruption is Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) setup by the Government to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the areas of vigilance. If there are any cases of corruption or any complaints thereof, then that can be reported to the CVC. CVC also shoulders the responsibility of creating more awareness among people regarding the consequences of giving and taking of bribes and corruption.

3. Establishment of special courts for speedy justice can be a huge positive aspect. Much time should not elapse between the registration of a case and the delivery of judgment.

4. Strong and stringent laws need to be enacted which gives no room for the guilty to escape.

5. In many cases, the employees opt for corrupt means out of compulsion and not by choice. Some people are of the opinion that the wages paid are insufficient to feed their families. If they are paid better, they would not be forced to accept bribe.

6. None must be allowed to keep unaccounted for wealth for any reason and none must be granted any special privilege on the cost of others as all are equal in the eyes of law.

The one thing that needs to be ensured is proper, impartial, and unbiased use of various anti-social regulations to take strong, deterrent, and timely legal action against the offenders, irrespective of their political influences or money power. Firm and strong steps are needed to curb the menace and an atmosphere has to created where the good, patriotic, intellectuals come forward to serve the public with pride, virtue, and honesty for the welfare of all.

Anti-Corruption Movement launched by Shri Anna Hazare and Ram Dev is required to be successful because

1. In 2010 India was ranked 87th out of 178 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

2. A 2005 study conducted by Transparency International in India found that more than 45% of Indians had first-hand experience of paying bribes or influence peddling to get jobs done in public offices successfully.

3. Transparency International estimates that truckers pay US$5 billion in bribes annually.

4. In July 2008 The Washington Post reported that nearly a fourth of the 540 Indian Parliament members faced criminal charges, “including human trafficking, immigration rackets, embezzlement, rape and even murder.

5. India tops the list for black money in the entire world with almost US$1456 billion in Swiss banks (approximately USD 1.4 trillion) in the form of black money. To put things in perspective, Indian-owned Swiss bank account assets are worth 13 times the country’s national debt.

6. The political web of India does not permit serious action against the corrupt political leaders and officers/staff due to their own vested interests. They take eye-washing steps only as we see in the case of 2G spectrum scam, Hasan Ali Khan, Common Wealth Scam and many others.

7. There is no in-depth enquiry of the independent reports published through 1991 to 2011 which calculated the financial net worth of India’s most powerful and traditionally ruling family (the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty) to be anywhere between $9.41 billion (Rs 42,345 crore) to $18.66 billion (Rs 83,900 crore), most of it in the form of illegal monies. Harvard scholar Yevgenia Albats cited KGB correspondence about payments to Rajiv Gandhi and his family, which had been arranged by Viktor Chebrikov, which shows that KGB chief Viktor Chebrikov sought in writing an “authorization to make payments in US dollars to the family members of Rajiv Gandhi, namely Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Paola Maino, mother of Sonia Gandhi” from the CPSU in December 1985. To save themselves, they keep blind eyes over their supporters and whenever required, they protect them too.

8. Judicial corruption in India is attributable to factors such as “delays in the disposal of cases, shortage of judges and complex procedures, all of which are exacerbated by a preponderance of new laws. The clerks take bribe openly even in the presence of the judicial officers. A string operation if carried out can reveal the details.

9. Officials often steal state property. In cities and villages throughout India, Mafia Raj consisting of municipal and other government officials, elected politicians, judicial officers, real estate developers and law enforcement officials, acquire, develop and sell land in illegal ways.

10. Government officials having discretionary powers in awarding contracts engage in preferential treatment for selected bidders and display negligence in quality control processes. Many state-funded construction activities in India, such as road building, are dominated by construction mafias, which are groupings of corrupt public works officials, materials s
uppliers, politicians and construction contractors. Shoddy construction and material substitution (e.g. mixing sand in cement while submitting expenses for cement) result in roads and highways being dangerous, and sometimes simply washed away when India’s heavy monsoon season arrives. Over-measurements and fake construction or development activities also account for major budget allocations.

11. In Government Hospitals, corruption is associated with non availability of medicines (or duplicate/fake medicines), getting admission, consultations with doctors and availing diagnostic services. There have been cases of diversion of medical supplies from government hospitals and clinics] as well as supply and distribution of medicines of inferior quality.]

12. A quality required by a candidate to get admission in a private Engineering college is either good marks or good money. Engineering college receives upto a million of Indian Rupees per seat in the name of donations, which varies based on the reputation of the college. Some of these colleges are owned by a politician or his/her relative/friends. A seat in private medical college ranges from 1.5 millions (For non reputed college)to 5 millions of Indian Rupees or even more. After admission there would be several other fees which have to be paid compulsory other than tuition fee. No other fees are regulated by the government other than the tuition fee. And government has not taken any action since most of the colleges are owned by politician.

13. There have been several cases of collusion of officials of the income tax department of India for a favorable tax treatment in return for bribes.

14. Land in areas with short supply is relatively common with government entities awarding public land to private concerns at negligible rates. Other examples include the award of mining leases to private companies without a levy of taxes that is proportionate to the market value of the ore.

15. Recent sukhna land scandal involving four defence officers has shaken public faith in the country’s growing military at a time when large sums are being spent on modernizing the armed forces. A string of eye-popping fraud cases has damaged the institution in recent years. The latest Adarsh land scam is another example of the nexus between the armed forces, bureaucracy and the politicians in the embezzlement of government property.

There are many examples which indicate that not only our politicians and bureaucrats are corrupt, in our general life, we too have been infected with this virus. For easy solution of our problems, we promote corruption. Since this illness has become cancerous to endanger our life, we need to give up our corrupt practices. First we must improve ourselves. Then, we can trust other one to do. We must oppose corruption. To oppose corruption is the highest obligation of patriotism.

Social welfare worker Anna Hazare and Yog Guru Ram Dev have led a movement against corruption. We must support them not only for the sake of our great India but for the world over as this illness is prevalent everywhere in some form.

We can be happy if we live in corruption-less society.

Be Happy – We must Support Those Who fight against Corruption.