By Dr Gazal Goyal
Every Indian mind seeks an answer to this question, but do we ever think why at the first place corruption exists?
Corruption is a malady that manifests in the mind first and then it comes into being. We tend to forget that everything begins from a thought, and if thoughts are corrupt, the whole being is corrupt.
Corruption is a worldwide phenomenon, well recognized, deeply rooted, and firmly entrenched facilitator, motivator, prompter and promoter. It oils the government machinery, provides speedy wheels and swift wings to the official files, and is termed as speed money. Corruption in public services is antithetical to integrity and probity.
In India, corruption levels have increased substantially with the passage of time, and its ramifications are so large and pervasive, that it has corroded the administrative machinery, and retarded efficiency and progress.
In the past 69 years, we have virtually nationalized and institutionalized corruption in the public life to such an extent, that it has indeed became a way of life.
Politics has become a deadly and nationally expensive joke.
The simple definition of corruption is improper or selfish exercise of power, and influence attached to a public office or to a special position in public life.
Politics being the seat of power, the manifestations of corrupt politics are observable at all levels of power hierarchy. Political corruption becomes paramount evil in developing societies, because masses in general are illiterate and poverty stricken. Political corruption is regarded as the mother of all kind of corruptions, which can be vanquished only by the collective effort of people.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “I would go to the length of giving the whole Congress a decent burial, rather than put up with the corruption, that is rampant”.
The disciples of Gandhi however ignored his concern over corruption in post independent India, when they came to Power.
Apart from other social and economic compulsions, corruption has grown due to steep fall in the standards of political leadership and an overall decline in the normal and ethical standards in the society. Nowadays politics is the most lucrative business, where money power and muscle power are the best investments. Politics is the shortcut to sleaze, black money and fabulous wealth.
Corruption in elections and in legislative bodies reduce accountability and representation in policy making. Corruption in the judiciary suspends the rule of law, and corruption in public administration results in the unequal provisions of services.
Corruption erodes the institutional capacity of government, as procedures are disregarded, resources are siphoned off, and officials are hired or promoted without regard to democratic values as trust and tolerance. People have lost faith in the integrity of public administration, due to increased corrupt practices.
Recently, the public and private partnership system has been put under the microscope, and is found to be actively working in partnership with politicos and bureaucrats, to perpetrate large-scale corruption.The same has been reported by none other than the Transparency International India (TII) which highlights the decay in the private sector, against the backdrop of the various scams.
In the last two decades or so, several scandals and financial irregularities have been reported in our country.
Bofors, Stock Market Securities, Hawala, Sugar, Animal Husbandry, Urea, Telecommunication, Tehelka, Kargil, Coffin Purchasing Scam, Taj Corridor Scam, Common Wealth Games, Ponzi Schemes, Coal Allocation, Satyam, NSEL, Banks NPA, Indian Premier League, Kingfisher are some important scandals in the sphere of Public Life.
Criminalization of politics is another facet of Corruption.
If the rulers are unprincipled and corrupt, people generally acquire the same colors, hues and proclivities. Corruption thus breeds at the top, and gradually filters down to the lower levels, eating into the vitals of the society.
Don’t we need to ponder over what make us corrupt?
No doubt, majority of the citizens glaringly developed a craze for easy money (a Practical Power – Shakti), without regard to the means, sources and method for earning it.
The forms and manifestation of corruption are beyond description. New methods are continually being found. Each new law or rule, dependent on government officials for enforcement, creates avenues for Corruption.
Is it possible to contain corruption in our society?
In the last 69 years, more than two dozen Commissions have been appointed by the Government of India, such as Santhanam Committee, Das Commission, Shah Commission, establishment of Lokayukta in various States, Central Vigilance Commission, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the System of Judicial Review, the provision of Public Interest Litigation(PIL), the Anti Defection Law, the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA), etc.
Various acts have been made to fight Corruption, such of Prevention of Corruption Act 1947 (later modified in 1988), Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, The Whistleblowers’ Protection (Amendment) Bill 2015 (pending presidential assent), The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act 2015.
All through the years, we have attempted to develop the nation through various plans and schemes, but virtually nothing has been done to try to weed out corruption, by simplifying the rules and procedures and making punishments more severe and exemplary.
Corruption is something that can infect every system in every country, but it can only thrive where there is indifference to it, or a reluctance to take swift, and effective measures. Combating corruption in India is not an easy task.
Evidently, the main source of corruption has been politics, and it is there where the process of eradicating it must start. Politics affects all aspects of the people’s lives. I believe, the best means to fight and wipe out corruption and bribery are:
(1) Building strong foundation through right education, by emphasis on positive thinking and positive attitude towards life.
(2) A strong emphasis on getting back to the basics of Indian Vedic Sciences, enabling people connect to their high consciousness.•
(3) Creating a balance between the ability to govern effectively, and the process by which those who govern are held to account.
(4) Curtailing of unlimited, unbridled and unchannelized powers exercised by political leaders in democratic setup, as Heads of the Department.
(5) The provision of Lok Pal in the Centre and the Lokayukta in the States are very necessary and measure to establish such an institution should be taken earnestly.
(6) Building Anti-Corruption public awareness and tolerance.
(7) Change in the ‘Chalta Hai’ attitude of the society.
(8) Effective role of the Mass Media, in uncovering corruption cases.
(9) Simplifying and providing transparency to the Administrative Rules and Procedures.
(10) Proper tapering of the vicious practices or Red Tapism, prevalent in the bureaucracy.
(11) Effective and speedy punishment.
(12) Reorganisation of Vigilance Departments.
(13) Mobilizing public opinion in a positive direction. Moreover, any reform, if it must be meaningful to establish, it must accrue from the top.
It may not be possible to root out corruption completely at all levels, but it is certainly possible to roll it down to contain it within the tolerable limits. It is a gigantic task which can be handled and accomplished only through strong measures.
A determined nation can of course work wonders. There are indeed a few honest men everywhere, because of whom the nation survives. As a national leader pointed out sometimes ago, corruption like diabetes can only be controlled but not eliminated.
To change something and build something new, the change first must begin from within. The present government has taken some strong steps to eradicate this menace. But it can only be possible if we as one nation join hands together, and firmly resolve to eradicate it from our lives.
As rightly said by our former President Dr Abdul Kalam, “If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher”.
Until and unless we change ourselves and our mindsets, nothing can change. To root out corruption and bribery from our society, it should begin from our home first.
We as parents and teachers must inculcate these values in ourselves and then nurture and nourish the same in the minds of our children. If our compelling reason and vision to see India as a corruption free country is strong enough, nobody can stop us from achieving it.
I imagine a nation where clear majority of people are for right principles, and building future based on righteous values and systems. But for the creation of such nation, there is a need to wipe out the unwanted weeds like corruption and bribery.
If Commitment towards change is consistent, change happens.
Dr Gazal Goyal is a Global Entrepreneur, working on the mission “Building Lives Together”. She works on the Philosophy of holding and guiding each other through every storm, and sailing together towards a broader vision and common goals.
She is an avid reader and a blogger. For her, entrepreneurship is a journey which is continuously evolving and exploring her innate-self.
A passionate writer, inspiring people through her soul-searching ideas, she is a radical thinker with a strong base in Practical Idealism.
Dr Gazal has a Doctorate in Political Science, UGC (JRF), and a Gold Medalist. She is the founding member of Conscience Connect, an organization working towards nurturing and inculcating the core values of community, with the right mindset and right attitude.