What is Corruption?
Corruption is an offence. It is an act of misuse of power and being dishonest towards the process that we are part of, usually involving payment of black money in the form of bribe.
In an act of corruption, there is no transparency involved and everything happens for the need and want of illegal money for one’s own private use.
Corruption exists in every field of governance and bureaucracy. It exists in countries, irrespective of whether they are small or big, developed or a developing nation, government or private sectors.
Every field of governance in our country is submerged in the acts of corruption. It starts with politics, the field that is most corrupted. But other areas also join the big bandwagon and part of the horrible act of corruption, right from educational institutions, hospitals, religious institutions, employment sectors, etc.
There is no field that is devoid of corruption and it just seems another thing, just another act that is part of the horrible system.
Meaning & Definition of Corruption
Corruption in the broadest sense means acquiring public money in the form of bribe in return for a task that is essentially required to be completed by the individual offering the bribe.
Using public money for one’s personal and private gains in return for work that was promised while taking the bribe is the usual process involved in corruption.
The individual who offers the bribe as well as the individual who accepts the bribe, both are offenders of law and they are said to be corrupted. The system that involves such corrupt individuals in its task force, in its entirety is termed as ‘corruption’.
Corruption can be defined in various forms, depending on the type of system that the act is associated with. Political corruption being the most common forms of corruption is spread worldwide and every year the country’s exchequer loses Crores of money in the act of corruption.
Use of unaccountable money to satisfy one’s personal needs and gains, or the act of getting work done by paying a bribe for it is the simplest definition associated with corruption.
Corruption in India
Corruption in India is a stigma attached with the country. One of the biggest issues that our country faces today is corruption.
It is a big challenge to root out corruption from the lands of our country since it has become a deep rooted issue and irrespective of the solutions and answers at hand, successive governments have been unable to root out this issue.
The governments who aim at plucking out the issue from its roots may themselves be stealthily involved in acts of corruption. further leading to deterioration of the system than seeking any sort of betterment out of it.
The economy and the financial spheres of the country are worsened and deeply affected by acts of corruption. It weakens the entire system as a whole. The entire machinery operating the country goes for a toss when there is no proper system that is devoid of corruption.
Corruption is at every place and every sphere of our country. We find corruption prevalent everywhere. All aspects of our life are somehow brought down when we think of being part of a system that is out rightly corrupt.
Corruption began many years ago in India. It started with politicians of our country. There was a time when politicians took money illegally as bribes for doing all the wrong things. Today, the situation is such that, even for doing the right things, one needs to shell out inappropriate bribe.
The situation in India is such that if we visit a government offices to get some work done; our work actually won’t be done without shelling out bribes. For the rightful thing that we need, we have to pay a bribe.
We have to grease the palms of officials who are seated in powers to get our work done. The ranges of bribes are also fixed depending upon the complexity of the work that needs to be done.
Politicians, people vested with powers and in authorities plus those who back those, i.e. the criminals of state are all involved in the loop of corruption in our country. Here, corruption is part of the system and even small children are not new to it.
Right from childhood, children get accustomed to seeing their parents shelling out money to get their admission done in schools, to send them to higher educational institutions, etc.
This system is prevalent everywhere such that even persons who are against the act of corruption are forced to provide bribes to get their work done in a short span of time in an easier route.
Let us imagine that a person needs to get a birth certificate done for his new born child, so he goes to the concerned government department to get his task done. Initially he is offered a form to be filled.
Unaware of the system in entirety, he fills up the form and attaches relevant documents and goes to submit them to the designated official.
There, he is informed about the bribe amount that he would have to shell out in order to obtain the needed document. Now, let us look at two possibilities.
If the person goes against the system and thinks paying a bribe is not one that he would prefer on moral grounds, he would inform the official that he would only pay the requisite fee and not a penny more than that.
The official who, on legal grounds is supposed to provide the document rightfully after obtaining the requisite prescribed fee from the person, does not do the dutiful.
His willingness to earn a bribe amount in the process tells him not to do his duty in the right way. So, he puts a restrain on the simple job and in the process of easy money making, irritates the person and finally may agree or disagree from doing it for him. Any which way, this process is one that is filled with a lot of hassles.
In another possibility, if the person readily agrees to pay a bribe, the official would rather specify the amount straight away and upon receiving that amount, he would easily give him the required document without any hassles.
So we can see the difference in the two sequences. We can see how money power and the wrong route of acquiring money play wonders in every field of life.
Examples of Corruption in India
Way back many years ago, we can very well remember the IOC (Indian Oil Corporation) scam that killed an innocent Mr. Manjunath.
There were irregularities in two of the petrol bunks that were operated under IOC. Mr. Manjunath, a prompt official working for the IOC did not tolerate irregularities when he came to know that the two petrol bunks were selling adulterated fuel at their bunks.
He immediately ordered closure of the two petrol bunks. But within the system, the other concerned officials were so much steeped in corruption that somehow the managers of the petrol bunks managed to bribe the officials and let their bunks operate without any changes.
The internal system was a rotten one and the misuse the money and power was rampant. The issue got so worsened that Mr.Manjunath himself approached a petrol bunk in person to pull down shutters on the bunk and to teach the corrupt officials a good lesson.
Before he knew it, just after his arrival two gunmen shot him dead at the petrol bunk and the owner of the petrol bunk was responsible for this act. Mr.Manjunath’s father who had spoken to his own a couple of days ago was trying to reach him on the phone, but in vain.
The family was devastated after the incident. A probe was ordered into the incident and inquiries were conducted. The accused persons were awarded imprisonment. This particular incident brings to light the presence of corruption at every step of bureaucracy.
Prompt and sincere individuals who dare raise their voices against a corrupt system are just not allowed to thrive and they are made to face worse consequences, both for themselves and their families.
The recent scams of 2G and 3G spectrum allocations, the endless fodder scams in the states of Bihar etc are all real life examples of how the country is steeped in the act of corruption and easy money making by taking bribe.
Even a section of media that portrays and brings news to its citizens is bribed to only telecast paid news items on their channels.
If TV channels try to broadcast news that is not in the welfare or good interest of politicians, then such news are just canned from being telecast. Channels are paid huge bribes to put a hold on spreading such news items and so far this is the kind of system that we are a part of.
Many other examples relate to such incidents and it would be an endless matter to describe them all here.
Different Types of Corruption
Corruption exists in different circles of our nation. To top it all, political corruption is the most rampant types of corruption in our country. Next comes administrative corruption. The last one, professional corruption. Let us now go in a little depth with each one of them.
Political corruption is the blatant misuse of money and power within political circles of the country, that involves politicians, people vested with authoritative powers, people who rule the nation etc. The scenario of corruption is even more evident during elections.
After the announcement of results, when candidates with majority are approached by political parties in a bid to pull them towards their party and seek power through them. Many independent candidates who have won in elections face similar situations.
Political parties lure them with money to provide their support to them. The party that offers the highest amount thus becomes the one whom the candidate will successfully offer to join and serve their interests.
Talking of administrative corruption, if we ought to get any document that belongs to the government administrative departments, we surely know how much we have to pay in terms of bribes to get even a small task done.
Higher officials, clerks, right from the highest to the lowest ranks, all of them are involved in acts of corruption. If you ever had to get a driving license in your name, just pay a visit to the RTO office and you would know the role of money in getting you that document.
For that matter, persons who are ineligible to get a license may also end up getting one, because the credentials of the person does not matter, the power of money does.
Professional corruption is one which involves adulteration in every business and profession operated in the country. If you had to buy loose oil or spices from a nearby grocery store, you would be amazed to find the mix of ingredients inside the oil.
The harmful and cheap composition of any such product leaves you with a product that is totally a different variant from that of the original content or quality.
If you had to face music while getting your child admitted to a good school or educational institution, please beware that its part of the system and probably you didn’t shell out as much bribe that officials expected from you.
Causes of Corruption
Some of the causes of corruption are:
- Sometimes, low earning potential from a regular job causes individuals to resort to cheating and corruption.
- To get the desired job or position, individuals resort to offering bribes to higher authorities in order to claim the lucrative position that they eyed for. Merit thus takes a back seat and the power of money wins the game.
- There are no strict regulations or check on acts of corruption. Law is still not very tough on individuals who plan an easy route to escape even after committing worst acts of corruption.
- A person ends up being part of a corrupt society to even get the right things done. The system has just become so accustomed to the evils of corruption that it is taken very lightly and paying a bribe is almost a norm at many places today.
- The public speaks of a corrupt free system. But in return, they themselves fall victims to it. A person who has to pay 20 visits to an official to get his job done prefers the easy route of paying a bribe to get the same job done in just one visit. So, the citizens and the public at large are encouraging acts of corruption in their country.
- Be it government offices, private firms, hospitals or educational institutions, there is absolutely no transparency in the system.
- Political parties are the main spheres where money and power speak more than anything else. They are the main cause of corruption in India.
- There is nobody to keep a tab on corruption. If you paid a bribe to get a small task done, like getting your child admitted to school, there is absolutely nobody to check and ask you why you paid that bribe. IT is a well accepted form of irregularity in our country. There is no accountability or record keeping to register such acts of corruption and thus we see them as part of our society and survival.
Effects of Corruption
- People will lose faith in the bureaucratic system and governance. People may elect their representatives, yet they may not believe their words and may not hold any faith in them.
- Faith comes when there is transparency in the system, when there is absence of any form of transparency; faith also takes a back seat.
- The quality of services rendered by the government will be taken for granted to not meet good standards and people will blindly come to a conclusion about the government being a provider of poor quality of services.
- In the sector of employment, meritorious and deserving candidates may lose a chance to people who shell out money for the same posts. Though notifications get published in newspapers and in the media for employment purposes, the rich people may just sweep the chance off deserving candidates by paying huge bribes and grad positions at once.
- In the health care sector, hospitals and health care centers may opt to provide services to the rich and ignore the poor owing to non payment of bribes. This becomes a partial treatment of the society where money becomes the deciding factor in every aspect of life.
- The economy of the country on an overall basis sees a sharp decline in terms of growth and development. Foreign investments take a huge beating and international trade relations suffer huge setbacks.
Solutions for Corruption
- A separate governing council or body that looks into each and every matter of corruption and takes matters seriously and enforces imprisonment has to be set up in the country.
- Laws governing acts of corruption should be made stringent. Any person involved in paying or accepting bribes should be brought under the confinements of law and stringent actions to be taken to avoid future incidents.
- Awareness should be created about the existence of punishment for accepting/offering bribe to the public through advertisements in media.
- Doing online transactions is one of the best possible ways to curb corruption at source. Consumers end up paying only the prescribed amount through online transfer. Where there exists less cash transactions, the system will slowly reduce activities of corruption.
- One should demand a bill after every purchase made. Demanding bills increases accountability and ensures transparency in the system.
How to Stop Corruption
Corruption cannot be stopped in any system or country at one single go. Not everybody can change their mindsets overnight to be more transparent and accountable in a system such as ours. It can be gradually achieved through successive attempts.
The legal system of the country should be made stringent; higher degrees of punishment should be awarded to whosoever is involved in the acts of corruption. The society should push itself towards an impartial thinking where no route should be assigned for politicians or big powers to escape from backdoor.
This might look impossible to achieve. The system of corruption is so deeply rooted in our system that everything starts and ends with corruption. Change can be brought about only when there is a transformation initiated and perspectives of people change.
We should look out for examples where people in other countries that are free of mass corruption unlike out nation, have achieved greater heights of economic progress and strengthened the backbone of their nation by holding strength in science and technology rather than misuse of power and authority.
- “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.” – Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam
- “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” – Kurt Cobain
- “Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it’s set a rolling it must increase.” – Charles Caleb Colton.
- “One of the biggest curses from which India is suffering – I do not say that other countries are free from it, but I think our condition is much worse – is bribery and corruption. That really is a poison.” – Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
- “Corruption is the enemy of development, and of good governance. It must be got rid of. Both the government and the people at large must come together to achieve this national objective.” – Pratibha Patil.
- Corruption is the biggest enemy of growth and development in a country.
- Stop corruption, stop paying bribes, stand up for human rights.
- The true potential of a country is realized only when the nation defeats corruption.
- Corruption is the most evil act deteriorating the society by eating into its culture and values.
- Accepting or offering bribe, both amount to endless and punishable acts of corruption.