“India wants young people of ethics, youths of ethics. That will bring beauty in character and harmony in homes. We must have a corruption-free Nation. – Former President of India, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam.
Corruption has been defined by the World Bank as the ‘use of public office for private profit’. We may feel ashamed, but the reality is that India is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. As per Transparency International Report (2013), India ranks 94 among 177 nations in Corruption Perception Index. Indian media has widely published allegations of corrupt Indian citizens stashing trillions of dollars in Swiss banks. Many of the biggest scandals since the year 2010 have involved very high level government officials, including Cabinet Ministers and Chief Ministers, such as in the 2G spectrum scam (1760 billion), the 2010 Commonwealth Games scam (700 billion), the Adarsh Housing Society scam in Mumbai, the Coal Mining Scam (1860 billion), the Mining Scandal in Karnataka and the Cash for Vote scam.
In our country, even after 67 years of Independence, many people in remote villages still have no option but to live without Roads, Electricity or drinking water; forget about education, health care or a decent life. This is a good example of how common people are affected due to corruption in the country. Many corrupt officials, allegedly politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen have kept black money in Swiss Banks as reported in News Papers/National Media. In our country, there are five major players on the corruption scene, interdependent, strengthening and supportive of the vicious cycle. They are the neta, the corrupt politician; the babu, the corrupt bureaucrat; the lala, the corrupting businessman; the jhola, the corrupt NGO; and the dada, the criminal of the underworld. Corruption in our country has made the rich richer and the poor poorer, thereby creating a huge imbalance in the society.
The causes of corruption in India include excessive regulations, complicated government processes, illogical taxes and licensing systems, numerous government departments each with opaque bureaucracy and discretionary powers, monopoly by government controlled institutions on certain goods and services delivery, and the lack of transparent laws and processes. Many of the Government processes and laws are still in practice since British period. The various Government processes were earlier framed during British period with intention of harassing the citizens and such processes are still in use! Government should phase out such obsolete processes and frame new laws and introduce new processes that are relevant to present context, taking full advantage of Information and Communication (ICT).
Corruption can be eliminated or at least reduced to great extend with the introduction of appropriate citizen-centric E-Governance Projects. Country’s Unique ID (Aadhaar) Project can be a game-changer in implementing various citizen-centric e-governance projects. As per a PMO (Prime Minister Office) official, “India can save up to Rupees 50,000 Crores a year by making all subsidy or welfare related payments only through the fail-proof Aadhaar mode”. Unique ID Aadhaar has the capability to establish the identity of a person that he claims to be through his UID Number & his biometric data. Government can delivery various services to its citizens directly by eliminating all middle-men.
“Corruption” was one of the primary issues around which the recent General Election 2014 was fought. The People of India have great expectations from the new Government led by the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. It is a huge challenge for Mr. Modi to take suitable measures to fight corruption. The so-called “good days” will be a reality for the People of India only when there is an end to corruption in India. (Achhe din tab ayenge jab Bharat puri tarah vrasthachar mukt ho payegi).” – Srihari Subudhi – New Delhi, India