(Sample Material) SSC CGL (Tier -3) Study Kit "Essay - "Corruption in India rooted deeply"

Sample Materials of SSC CGL (Tier -3) Study Kit

Subject: Essay

Topic: Corruption in India rooted deeply

One would say the corruption in India has an ancient linkage, and it is deeply rooted in our tradition. The author of the Arthasastra made some remarks on government officials of his time which are relevant even today: “Just as it is impossible not to taste the honey or the poison that finds itself at the tip of the tongue, so it is impossible for a government servant not to eat up at least a bit of the king’s revenue. These in the post-war world became only bolder while eating up government money and accepting bribes. A corrupt person is termed immoral, dishonest and unscrupulous in his dealings. His disregard for honesty, righteousness and truth results in his alienation from society. He is treated with contempt. But as erosion of values leads to decadence, remedies for the social malaise remain elusive, and so no amount of contempt can eradicate corruption which is a symptom of decadence.

When we ask a question to ourselves that why India is still not a developed nation even after 60 years of independence? Why there is not enough development when India is having immense potential and talent at par with any developed nation has? The answer is very simple. The main culprit behind this situation is widespread corruption in every field. To get an admission in a college…to get a legal paper from a Government office…to get an approval for the construction of a house…to get an electricity connection…to do an urgent surgery for life saving……. Thus not even nook and corner of the daily life is spared from this evil. Now, people so adapted and well familiar with the situation and ready to give bribe without any hesitation and accepted as a part of the system. They also will demand bribe when they are sitting in a decisive position. This is the epicenter of this deadly evil which spread over the entire system from executive to class IV level. The only motive to become a people’s representative, a civil servant or even an attender is how to get the undeserved money.

The more dangerous fact…bribes and corruption got reputation in society. If there is an official who doesn’t accepts bribe…he will be isolated even in public and will have an image of useless person.In today’s India these officials representing all government departments are very close to the most corrupt businessmen who are too unscrupulous to let any opportunity of amassing profits slip.

This collusion broadens the base of the vicious circle and corruption spreads ‘like wild fire to engulf the entire society. The political and social guardians depend only too much on the richer communities and they look indulgently on while these communities hold the entire society and the government to ransom. Corruption starts at the top and percolates down to the whole society. Such corruption cannot be confined to the towns alone. It is as widespread in the villages where the dishonest officials and the traders carry the germs of the disease. Economic need and exposure to western luxuries are tempting factors in society for the youth. They try to find means and ways to make money, however deceptive or defective these methods may be. It is meaningless to blame the system; it is the defect of people who handle the same. A number of reasons like lack of stringent legislation, slow and delayed judicial systems, poverty, illiteracy, lack of faith in “Dharma” or righteousness, greedy mind and a tendency to be smart are responsible behind corruption.It is not prevalent in India only but Corruption is today a world-wide phenomenon.

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Let us diagnose what are the reasons that the venom of corruption is running so deep in our veins?

(1) Democracy: First of all roots of corruption are buried in our democratic setup. To contest election lot of money is required and due to this ordinary people can’t contest election and those who stand in elections either have ancestral money or have earned this money through corrupt practices. Mayawati who was a poor school teacher few years ago has now a property of 52 crore ‘, Prakash singh badal the former chief minister of Punjab has a property worth 1000 crore ‘, Mulayam singh Yadav has a property of billions of ‘. These are just few examples to quote, but the ground reality is that 300 M.P’s in 15th Loksabha are multi millionaires. What do you think these people are pouring their money for charity? Certainly not, for them this is an investment for which they will get rich dividend. This dividend is in the form of amount earned through manipulation of govt. Funds, taking bribe, settling their keens on good positions, allotting government contracts to fraud and unqualified companies, take money for appointing officers on various posts.

(2) Bourgeoisie society: System always stems from top to bottom. There is a proverb in Sanskrit” which means behavior of elite class people is considered as standard by lower class people and hence they follow it as ideal behavior. Today’s kings are our honorable M.P’s, M.L.A’s. and most of them are corrupt and shares criminal background (according to a survey of an independent NGO, 150 MP’s in 15th Loksabha have criminal records). Not only politicians but bureaucrats, commanders of armed forces and judges too are submerged in the mud of corruption. One retired Chief Justice of India had said that 20% judges of Supreme Court are corrupt and corruption is more ubiquitous in lower rungs of judiciary. Indian Army which was considered to be the holy cow of Indian democracy is also not spared from this. In such situation people feel that it is justifiable for them to indulge in corruption because if those who are on the top of hierarchy don’t think about ethics than whom are we to care for ethics?

(3) Corruption is an environmental phenomenon: A new born baby does not have notions of right and wrong but as it grows older gradually it learns what is socially acceptable and what is not. This social learning plays very important role in growth of civic sense. Have you ever wondered why is it that the person who breaks traffic rules in India, when goes to Singapore behaves very decently? No, it’s not just the fear of fine that is restraining him but actually in India most of the people breaks the traffic laws and therefore no one is ashamed of it because everybody else is doing the same, where as in Singapore everyone follows the public etiquette and the law of land and hence no one dares to go against established norms of social behavior. In the countries like Denmark and Netherlands (which are least corrupt countries) corruption is considered as social evil and those who are involved in corruption have to face a kind of social boycott, hence very few people dare to indulge in corrupt practices. Unfortunately in India publicly we criticize politicians, bureaucrats and corporate for their corruption but privately people admire those who have earned money through illegal means. In such conditions corruption is bound to increase in society and as I said earlier corrupt people come from within the society.  To quote one senior judge of Supreme Court “judges too stay in society and share same social and moral values which other people share and if corruption is there in the society than it is going to be reflected in judiciary also, since we have not came from the heaven”.

(4) Impotent and infertile laws: there are many laws to curtail corruption but unfortunately they are teeth less. They have so many loop holes that corrupt people easily escape from it and even if some of them are punished it take years to culminate the judicial process. If any politician or an officer of central government is found to be indulged in to corruption then complaint cannot be filed against them without the permission of central government. Central Vigilance Commission who is an independent agency to look after the cases of corruption in the central government employees can only give recommendation to concerned department regarding action to be taken on their officer, but its recommendation are not binding. Institutions like CBI, Anti Corruption Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax department and various other agencies are there to prevent corruption and financial irregularities, but there is lot of political interference in these agencies. Appointment, transfers and promotion of officers of these agencies is in the hands of politicians. CBI has become an agent of ruling party; it is used frequently to settle the score with opposition. In the past many instances have taken place when CBI has filled or withdrawn cases on people at the will of central government (remember Quatrochchi, Mulayam Singh and Mayawati case). Recent appointment of P.J Thomas as CVC is a vivid example of growing political interference in constitutional appointments. Thomas is accused of palm oil corruption case when he was chief secretary of Kerala and such person is appointed as CVC of India, whereas according to rules the person against whom FIR is filled is not even eligible for promotion. 

It is shameful that the officials meant for administering public welfare themselves provide enough scope to the offenders to commit the offence and go scot-free, for equal compensation that they get from the offenders. Here, if the statute provides severe punishment (more than the one provided to the offender) to the erring official, perhaps, corruption could be minimised.Society itself has had a drastic change in its behaviour today, to what it was earlier. The need to be morally upright is irrelevant, under the speed of its activity.

Let us glance through some statistics of corruption so that you understand the intensity and range of corruption in India. Media has provided lot of news and statistics about all the scams mentioned below so I will not elaborate it much.

  • 2G Spectrum scam - 1,76,465 crore  ‘

  • Common Wealth Games-  70,000 crore  ‘

  • Madhu koda’s scam- 8000 crore  ‘

  • Abdul karim Telgi fake stamp paper scam- 32000 crore ‘

  • Scorpion submarine scam- 18,000 crore  ‘ (Accused former naval chief Admiral Sushil kumar)

  • Sukhna land scam and Adarsh land scam- involves Armed forces land worth thousands of crore  ‘ And also involves top Army commanders like General Deepak Kapoor, Lt. General P.K Rath, Lt. General Shantanu Chaudhri, Lt. General Avdhesh Prakash and As many others.

Remedies

Corruption cannot be abolished overnight, first, political parties should take the responsibility and highly principled & determined personalities have to lead the executive. With persistent efforts, the mindset of the public has to change. Can’t say how much time it will take… this evil spread over and established by taking 50 years…any way let us transfer the hope and luck to next generation. There are many legal as well as illegal means and methods with which one can come out unscathed after committing any offence. It requires only a management skill to convince the right forums. Therefore, if society has to be cleansed from being immorality and illegal doings, just legislation, however stringent will not help. The resistance to commit offences should be developed from one’s conscience or heart and it can never be created fully by legislation. Hence, inculcating moral values in people right from infancy could provide the remedy over a period of time. If the economic levels of the society could be improved, so that luxuries become basics and the value for them also become affordable, corruption would be unnecessary.

Democratic spirit can flourish only in an environment of openness and trust. Every citizen should know what the administrators, working under the overall control of people’s representatives, are doing. Since administration in a democracy serves the public interest, there is no need or justification for hiding the decision making process from the public scrutiny Transparency in public administration will bring about a fundamental change in the attitude of people. Tenets of transparency will require the civil servants to publicly display the names of beneficiaries of a development scheme along with selection criteria and the procedure for making the selection. The requirement for public disclosure will ensure that civil servants take correct and defensible decisions. They will, henceforth treat all the citizens as their masters and they will have to keep them in good humour if they have to retain their jobs and privileges. Government agencies are financed by taxes and levies imposed on citizens. They are, therefore, answerable and accountable to the public for their acts of omission and commission. Freedom of Information Act will put premium on probity and integrity in the functioning of the civil servants. Since all their activities sub serve the public interest they have nothing to hide. They will readily supply all the information about government policies and decisions to the people whenever approached by them. People will then give them respect and recognition that they rightly deserve. It is only the dishonest and the devious that would be hard pressed to hide their partisan decisions.

In a modern welfare and development administration, the government provides a large number of services to the citizens. If these services are indifferently or inefficiently performed, people can rightfully protest and complain. They can insist on optimum utilization of the taxes and service charges paid by them to finance the civic services like water supply, power supply, sanitation and public health care. Dereliction of duty by public servants will be immediately detected and publicized and criticized by the public. It will put a tremendous pressure on the civil servants to perform or lose their face or even their jobs. The advancement of Information technology is very much conducive to the successful implementation of the Right to Information if enacted by the government now. The storage, retrieval and dissemination of vast amount of information have been greatly facilitated by the successive improvement in computers. Since the enforcement of Right to Information requires an enabling Freedom of Information Act, the existing government can always formulate the provisions of the Act in such a way as to leave for the government sufficient leeway to conceal many decisions or decision making processes from public scrutiny. The Freedom of Information Bill, which has been presented to the Parliament, has a very long list of exceptional situations wherein it is not incumbent upon the government agencies to part with information. It is, however, expected that once the people get used to obtain information contained in the government files, their appetite for information will be whetted and they will ask for more information. Lokpal can be another milestone towards abolishing corruption from India. After diagnosis of disease it is necessary to talk about cure, so what are the measures to reduce corruption?   

(1) Strengthening of R.T.I: Right to information act 2005 is a revolutionary law which has penetrated in the age old secrecy regime of bureaucracy, but people still doesn’t have proper knowledge about it. For this information about profile and use of R.T.I should be included in curriculum of schools and colleges, R.T.I help centers needs to be established at village, taluka, ward (in urban and metropolitan areas) and district level. Government services and departments who are exempted from the preview of R.T.I needs to be shortened. The process of Computerization and digitalization of government records needs to be initiated.  

(2) Lokpal: Indian system of Lokpal is based on Scandinavian Ombudsman system. 1st Administrative reform commission had recommended to enact the law and establish the institution of lokpal to permanently end corruption.

(3) Reforms in police machinery:  as per the recommendations of supreme court and National police commission, police establishment board should be established which will look after the matters of appointment, promotion, transfer, suspension and dismissal so that political interference in the work of investigating agencies like CBI and Anti Corruption bureau can be reduced. Police officers should be provided with fix tenure of minimum 3 years so that menace of punishment posting and frequent transfer can be overcome.

(4) More powers to C&AG: C&AG means Comptroller and Auditor General, who as a comptroller controls the money issued for the spending purpose and as an auditor audits the government accounts. In Britain C&AG has both the powers i.e. power of comptroller and power of auditor but unfortunately in India C&AG only audits the government accounts and give its recommendation to parliament, then it becomes duty of parliament to take action on the report of C&AG, but in parliament ruling party either due to their majority or with the connivance of opposition suppress it and matter is rejected as C&AG’s over cautiousness.

(5)  Right to recall: similar to U.S India should also enact a law of right to recall so that those M.P’s and M.L.A’s who are not working properly can be called back by the people of their constituency. So that fraud M.P’s and M.L.A’s like Govinda who shows there face only during election campaign can be get rid of. For this in every constituency one representative committee of some highly educated and respected people has to be created which will keep record of promises and commitments done by their leader during election campaign and will present peoples wishes and their problem to the elected representative and if he/she doesn’t work properly than he/she can called back by a referendum.

(6) People’s awareness: Last but not least is people’s awareness and readiness to eradicate corruption. Nothing is going to change if people are not ready to change. Rather than blaming the system and politicians we should first fix our responsibility for the pathetic situation of the country. Corrupt people don’t come from Mars and Venus, they are the product of our society and while blaming politicians and bureaucrats about their corruption we simply forget about our corruption. Who sells subsidized domestic gas cylinder in black market? Who gives bribe to traffic constable after breaking traffic rules? Who travels in the train without ticket? Who manipulates electricity meters? The answer is “we the people of India”.

Somebody may argue that although common people also indulge in corruption but their corruption is not as serious as corruption of politicians and bureaucrats, since  the bribe taken by traffic constable or amount earned through black marketing of domestic gas cylinder is negligible in comparison to frauds done by A.Raja or Suresh Kalmadi. To some extent this argument may seem to be true, but we should not forget here that indulging or not indulging in corruption is matter of conscience, but amount of bribe is matter of opportunity. It’s not that common men doesn’t indulge in corruption as huge as that of A.Raja’s, because his conscience doesn’t allows him to do so, it’s simply because he hasn’t got the opportunity to do such a great work. How can you say that a constable who takes 50 Rs. bribe will not take 5 crore or 500 crore ` bribe if given a chance? Remember the case of 1993 serial bomb blast, when RDX was landed on Mumbai dockyard with the help of 3 policemen by paying them millions of ` as bribe. The police men who took bribe were knowing that what harm RDX can cause to Mumbai but still there conscience didn’t stop them, because their conscience had died on the very same day when they had taken bribe for the first time.

It’s very easy to pelt stones at others but we need to look in our own conscience. If we have to eradicate corruption rather than releasing emotional outbursts of punishing politicians and wasting our brain in crap ideas like those mentioned above we need to accept the responsibility on our shoulders too and from next time whenever we do anything wrong or illegal work we must think that we are no better than A.Raja and Suresh Kalmadi.

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