If we were to conduct a poll to find out top 10 words that one instantly associates when they hear "India", then I bet "corruption" is one that would inevitably make it to the list.  Everyone of us have our share of seemingly never ending stories - some annoying, many frustrating and a few rib-tickling ones - from our own encounters with corruption. Term it as a societal norm, but we have been living, some of us rather conveniently, with corruption. But whenever we Indians are confronted with being corrupt we quickly defend and blame it on the culture that we inherit and cannot perhaps influence or change. 

Of course the evidence of widely cited corruption can be traced back to 300 BC, when Kautilya in his work Arthashastra (The Science of Wealth), India's classical political text, wrote "Just as it is impossible to know when a swimming fish is drinking water, so it is impossible to find out when a government servant is stealing money". But is this nature of we getting defensive by seeking solace in the inherited culture excusable? Can we safely distance ourself by blaming the elected politicians and administration as the culprits?  Well, even they seem to have an excuse for being part of the system. Indira Gandhi, who was the Prime Minister for most of 1970s, when asked about the widely prevailing corruption in India remarked "What can we do about it? It is a global phenomenon".

Some may dismiss this as a casual remark. But for me it seems to reflect the sad reality that corruption has been accepted as a necessary evil. What is more concerning is that this is the image that we have been portraying over years to the rest of the world. Do we even care how much this would tarnish our "Incredible India" image? India consistently ranks among the worst countries in annual "Transparecy Index" of corruption conducted by a non-profit group in Germany. With a Corruption Perception Index of 3.5, India ranks 72 among 180 countries, sharing its rank with China and Brazil. But, as per the Bribe Payer's Index, India ranks 1 making it the number 1 bribe payer in the world.

The WorldBank group recently released a project report that benchmarks the regulatory cost of doing business in 178 economies. While Singapore ranks top, India is ranked 120. While not contemplating on whether this rank is something to be complacent with, I would like to bring to your notice one disclaimer in the report which says -  "It is assumed that all information is readily available to the entrepreneur, that there has been no prior contact with officials and that all government and non -government entities involved in the process function without corruption". I wonder whether our ranks would have got any better if "corruption" was factored in.


12/10/2007 04:04

Its just the way it is!
You can't call it escapism et al.
If you were given an option of being a Govt servant or working for a Social pro profit organization, I bet you would go for the second option...
It does not mean escapism.. It is just conviction to do something... sadly the feeling does not exist for Govt Services.. coz we always associate Govt with 'Politics' - That says it all!

12/10/2007 07:47

You are right on my choice :)

12/11/2007 07:14

So after my cribbing, looks like the name of the blog has been changed. heheh

12/11/2007 20:58

Yeah Ameya, changed for good :)


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