By: Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit
One would find that corruption is so deep-rooted menace that it has eaten into the vitals of society distorted all values and made mincemeat of morality, truth and virtue. Like the air we breathe, it has become all-pervasive and entered every sphere of life. It is now regarded as a fact of life and an evil that we have to live with. Sometime one wonders whether time has come to accept this menace as the price of socialism, progress and civilization. Our society has become extremely corrupt and we cannot hope to weed out corruption completely; we can simply minimise it.
The opportunities of bribery and palm greasing have increased greatly with the dawn of independence and the growth of democracy and industry, the system of licenses and permits for setting up enterprises etc. The loud talks of anti-corruption measures, stringent laws and deterrent sentences have no meaning. The philosophy of corruption operates interestingly. So long as there are people to offer bribe, there are also people to take it, directly or indirectly.
Promises and oaths of honesty are soon made and forgotten. However, measures calculated to produce a social climate both among public servants and in the general public are essential.
Poor salaries compel lower level officials to be corrupt. The standard of living is constantly rising, soaring prices of essential commodities have broken the back and we indulge in corrupt ways for our children’s sake and since everyone else does it, why not us? Must we be the only angels on earth? Every man, it is said, has his price. When the entire economic and social set-up breathes of what is called “SPEED MONEY” to push things through, it is almost impossible to resist temptation- human beings are, after all, human beings. People accept bribes under the table, then come out to raise anti-corruption slogans at the top of their voice and urge others to be honest and pure.
It is not difficult to locate the causes of corruption. Corruption breeds at the top and then gradually filters down to the lower levels. Our politicians have been making promises from time to time and pledging to do so many things but shedding only crocodile tears. If there is corruption in the administration, the ruling party leaders or ministers are at first and finally responsible for it. Their philosophy is guide by the familiar saying, “Touch one, touch all; therefore touch none”. If the ministers are honest they can prevent corruption in the whole administrative machinery of the government.
Today the people’s confidence is shaken. Everything is bogus; their representatives have no religion or faith or justice and fair play. False returns are filed. Taxes are not realised honestly. There is much waste and extravagance in public expenditure; people are burdened with fresh and heavier imports. Crimes are increasing at an alarming rate. Who is responsible for this? Corruption is primarily and ultimately responsible for all this. It is so deep-rooted that it is very much difficult to root it out completely. The fact is that everybody in the ruling party wants to be a minister or at least a member of some board or corporation to make money. The spirit of selfless service to the people has evaporated.
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. Several steps have been taken to make the bureaucracy more efficient, performance-oriented and accountable. The Government is committed to ensuring probity among public servants and to protect them from frivolous allegations. 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 country with pride, virtue, and honesty for the welfare of the people of India. Corruption may also be controlled by openness, transparency and information costs, intergovernmental competition, localism, party competition, decision rules, collective action problems and public administration.
Let us be honest and admit that our conduct and character lack that grace and strength which are the distinguishing marks of free people everywhere. Once we have realised this, it should not be difficult to end corruption at all levels of life. (The author is a freelance writer & a cartoonist. He can be reached at email@example.com)