India 87th on corruption list – Will we ever improve?
Have you noticed how a bunch of ants surround a cube of sugar? Similarly, where there is big money involved – the corruption will most likely find its roots dug deep into the system. It is literally under every stone you turn. And, by now, most of us in India have learned to live with corruption as a part and parcel of our life.
In India, the tentacles of corruption are spread far and wide in all horizons of life and not just limited to government organizations. Recent instances of IPL scam and the Commonwealth Games fiascounderscores as to how a big moolah can attract corruption even in a Gentleman’s game.
Moreover, corruption is not just limited to India. It is a massive phenomena and a real cancer destroying the benefits of globalization in many poor countries.
The 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that three quarters of the 178 countries in the index have fared miserably in terms of corruption problem.
Specifically, India has slipped three places in global rankings of most corrupt countries, from 84 in 2009 to 87 this year.
On a positive note, only 5 countries – Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland and Sweden – managed to score higher than 9 points which indicates the list of least corrupted nations. The countries that ranked as most corrupt nations were Somalia, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Top Corrupt Countries in Asia
(1 being least corrupt)
The report released by Transparency International, which is based on input from 13 different experts and business surveys, further indicates that the global financial crisis took a toll on people’s views of corruption in government.
Notable among decliners over the past one year are some of the countries most affected by the financial crisis precipitated by transparency and integrity deficits. The survey highlighted the fact that few of the improvers were from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Can India do better in the next edition of the survey?
Corruption In India: A Billion Dollar Industry
It is a no brainer that Corruption In India is at its rampant best.There is not one section of the society that is spared from it.Corruption in the form of bribery takes the cake and given that it begins at the grass root level makes it even more difficult to monitor and control.TheÂ Corruption and Bribery Reportpublished at trak.in earlier , gives a detailed breakdown of the scale of the bribes and the reasons why bribes are given.
The striking though well known findings of the report points out that close to half the bribes are requested by the Government Officials both at the state and national level.The same government personnel who are entrusted with the development of the nation are filling their own pockets.No wonder then the nation’s politicians are the most corrupt lot.
However, it it was only for the petty money minded officials filling their own pockets, the enormity of the bribery might be restricted to a certain level.What if corruption takes the shape of a billion dollar behemoth.According to Management Guru C.K.Prahalad , the cost of corruption to the country might as well exceed Rs. 250,000 crores.
The total spending for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections is pegged at a whopping Rs. 10,000 crore.The breakup of this spending throws up some interesting insights too.
- Rs 1,300 crore (Rs 13 billion) by the Election Commission
- Rs 700 crore (Rs 7 billion) by the Centre and state governments
- Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion) were spent by political parties and individual candidates
8000 crore spent by political parties and individual candidates ? Where do they get hold of this kind of money to spend. Again, it comes as a no brainer that it is hugely attributed to the Private Funding that political parties attract from big pocket industrialists.The reasons why private spending of this scale happens again is rather simple Favourtism.It is a well known fact that government support is crucial for industries small and large.One favourable swing in a huge tender or a favourable policy, and all the benefits can be reaped.
Is this enough to curb corruption in India?
Do you know that Indian Government has a website giving you details of people who have been caught taking bribe?
I happened to look at the latest July 09 report to check out how many of them have been caught taking bribe and the action that was taken against them.
With India being one of the most corrupt countries in the world, I was pretty sure that monthly number would be quite sizeable. But upon seeing the report, I was left in utter dismay.
Out of literally lakhs of Government officials only 522 cases were referred to Central Vigilance commission – 258 cases will see some action against them.
Of these 258 corruption cases Government will launch prosecution cases again 22 of them and 236 may be imposed major penalty.
Here is the interesting part – Due you know what a major penalty means?
A small cut in pay (from 5% to 25%), a small cut in pension or gratuity (5% to 30%) or probably temporary suspension from duty (3 to 6 months). Out of all these cases only 3-4 of them will face dismissal from service.
Here is the July 09 CVC report – Have a look and decide for yourself.
Also, the surprising part is that all of them who are caught are just the smaller pawns – who is looking at Politicians and senior officers in the Government – They are the biggest culprits, not a single case will be ever registered against them.
Are we truly a democracy? How long will we let Spectrum Raja’s continue to thrive?
With the saga of Spectrum Raja coming to a final inglorious end, it is time for catharsis & reflection. It is unbelievable that such a scandal feels like a new story, every time. The DMK and the Congress have shown defiance and have yet to accept any guilt of wrong doing. It is sad that the Congress, reportedly denying a Joint Parliamentary committee’s enquiry, have, worse still, found a precedent in the Tehelka scam, when the BJP did not convene an enquiry either.
It appears that the fundamental rules of Indian politics is to plunder, deny any knowledge and defy any accusations by slinging mud, right back. It is indeed true that the memory of the Indian public is so short that they fail to remember past one election, the atrocities of the then incumbent.
The CAG estimates that Raja has caused a loss between Rs. 90,000 Crores and Rs 1.76 Lakh Croresto the Indian government. Granted, this money would have come indirectly from the Indian public and may be argued as slowing the growth of telecom. However, this could have been a significant life changer to many. A few more roads could have been laid and a few more streets lit and a few schools built. Thank you Mr. Raja, you have continued to reinforce the west’s notion of India being a third world country where corruption alone reigns supreme.
The sad state of affairs is that the saga of Spectrum Raja did not unfold over this past weekend, nor over this past month. It has taken a long time for it to unfold.
The other scams have followed a similar route – The on-going shameful CWG scam, the Reddy scam in Karnataka, the Tehelka scam, the swami scandal, the bofors scandal and one can go on. Karunanidhi who has mentored, praised & stood by Raja was likely a beneficiary and can certainly attest to prior experience in being accused of several scams, yet the tamilians keep electing him.
The choice in Tamil Nadu feels limited to Mr. Karunanidhi or Ms. Jayalalitha, who have repeatedly been elected & ousted from power by highlighting each other’s atrocities and personal profiteering. The same seems to happen all over India. In the 60+ years of Indian Independence, the Congress still leads the number of times it has been in power and has been ousted for wrongdoing multiple times as well.Rahul Gandhi, despite the promise isn’t quite on the scene here.
Who is at fault here? As the general electing public, we are!
Why do we keep electing folks such as these, whose only motive is personal profiteering. In the entire nation, there are likely but, a handful of public servants who are truly public focused. Is the idea of a democracy, as we know and follow, flawed? The imposition of a single leader from the party with the absolute majority, forces alliances of uneven ideas and then, the quest becomes more for power than to use it towards public service.
Is Indian politics truly a free for all, with survival of the fittest and the richest, the motto behind our working? or have we become so numb to corruption that we do not care? Should the west continue to think of us as the third world, where every decision can be obtained for the right price? or will we go register to vote, pick up public service and make a difference – I seem to only have questions, but am sure as hell going to register to vote!!
Top 10 Corruption Scams in India
his is the season of scams and the biggest ever corruption cases in India have been unearthed more recently. So, we decided to dig deep to see which scams were the biggest and most damaging to the country and its citizens alike.
In our daily life, most of us must have been a witness to or a victim of the corruption thriving in some or the other part of the country. It could be in the form of a taxi-driver manipulating the meter to jack-up the reading or a government officer taking bribery to promptly transfer your file to the next department or even yourself offering bribe to a traffic police on breaking a signal.
An average Indian citizen is hard working and diligent, but it is the people in charge of the system (The Babu’s) or with whom the power lays, that act as a cancer spreading the venom, slowing down progress and what all not. But, somewhere down the line, we ourselves are responsible for allowing and being taken for a ride by these people, aren’t we?
However, it is during a multi-thousand crore scam, that a tax-payer actually realizes the heartburn of being cheated from his valued contribution of funds towards the development and well-being of the nation. But, that’s what a scam, be it big or small, means – the act of swindling by some fraudulent scheme or action.
The Top Scams in India
1) 2G Spectrum Scam
We have had a number of scams in India; but none bigger than the scam involving the process of allocating unified access service licenses. At the heart of this Rs.1.76-lakh crore worth of scam is the former Telecom minister A Raja – who according to the CAG, has evaded norms at every level as he carried out the dubious 2G license awards in 2008 at a throw-away price which were pegged at 2001 prices.
2) Commonwealth Games Scam
Another feather in the cap of Indian scandal list is Commonwealth Games loot. Yes, literally a loot! Even before the long awaited sporting bonanza could see the day of light, the grand event was soaked in the allegations of corruption. It is estimated that out of Rs. 70000 crore spent on the Games, only half the said amount was spent on Indian sportspersons.
The Central Vigilance Commission, involved in probing the alleged corruption in various Commonwealth Games-related projects, has found discrepancies in tenders – like payment to non-existent parties, will-ful delays in execution of contracts, over-inflated price and bungling in purchase of equipment through tendering – and misappropriation of funds.
3) Telgi Scam
As they say, every scam must have something unique in it to make money out of it in an unscrupulous manner- and Telgi scam had all the suspense and drama that the scandal needed to thrive and be busted.
Abdul Karim Telgi had mastered the art of forgery in printing duplicate stamp papers and sold them to banks and other institutions. The tentacles of the fake stamp and stamp paper case had penetrated 12 states and was estimated at a whooping Rs. 20000 crore plus. The Telgi clearly had a lot of support from government departments that were responsible for the production and sale of high security stamps.
4) Satyam Scam
The scam at Satyam Computer Services is something that will shatter the peace and tranquillity of Indian investors and shareholder community beyond repair. Satyam is the biggest fraud in the corporate history to the tune of Rs. 14000 crore.
The company’s disgraced former chairman Ramalinga Raju kept everyone in the dark for a decade by fudging the books of accounts for several years and inflating revenues and profit figures of Satyam. Finally, the company was taken over by the Tech Mahindra which has done wonderfully well to revive the brand Satyam.
5) Bofors Scam
The Bofors scandal is known as the hallmark of Indian corruption. The Bofors scam was a major corruption scandal in India in the 1980s; when the then PM Rajiv Gandhi and several others including a powerful NRI family named the Hindujas, were accused of receiving kickbacks from Bofors AB for winning a bid to supply India’s 155 mm field howitzer.
Most of all, the Bofors scam had a strong emotional appeal because it was a scam related to the defense services and India’s security interests.
6) The Fodder Scam
If you haven’t heard of Bihar’s fodder scam of 1996, you might still be able to recognize it by the name of “Chara Ghotala ,” as it is popularly known in the vernacular language.
In this corruption scandal worth Rs.900 crore, an unholy nexus was traced involved in fabrication of “vast herds of fictitious livestock” for which fodder, medicine and animal husbandry equipment was supposedly procured.
7) The Hawala Scandal
The Hawala case to the tune of $18 million bribery scandal, which came in the open in 1996, involved payments allegedly received by country’s leading politicians through hawala brokers. From the list of those accused also included Lal Krishna Advani who was then the Leader of Opposition.
Thus, for the first time in Indian politics, it gave a feeling of open loot all around the public, involving all the major political players being accused of having accepted bribes and also alleged connections about payments being channelled to Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Kashmir.
8) IPL Scam
Well, I am running out of time and space over here. The list of scandals in India is just not ending and becoming grave by every decade. Most of us are aware about the recent scam in IPL and embezzlement with respect to bidding for various franchisees. The scandal already claimed the portfolios of two big-wigs in the form of Shashi Tharoor and former IPL chief Lalit Modi.
9,10) Harshad Mehta & Ketan Parekh Stock Market Scam
Although not corruption scams, these have affected many people. There is no way that the investor community could forget the unfortunate Rs. 4000 crore Harshad Mehta scam and over Rs. 1000 crore Ketan Parekh scam which eroded the shareholders wealth in form of big market jolt.
So, can we live a scam-free life in India for a while now?