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Indian Democracy is tainted with corruption

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A BJP lawmaker Surendra Singh, in Uttar Pradesh, well known to shoot his mouth off, has equated government officials to the sex workers in his latest outburst. Mr. Legislator asked his supporters to throw a “ghoosa” (punch) at the officials who ask for “ghoos” (bribes). This particular BJP leader always spoke headless but for once, his statement makes sense, though a bit harsh. He said that the prostitutes are better than government officials; at least they take money, do their work and also dance on the stage. But these officials, even after accepting money, don’t do their work. There is no guarantee that the work will be done. This remark on getting work done in government offices by the lawmaker is true for the whole country and not only at Uttar Pradesh. Such comments in private are heard regularly. This motormouth lawmaker has spoken the truth that may not be liked by his party. Anyhow, what he has said is true, irrespective of which party rules the state.

A few months ago, a survey revealed that Asia’s most corrupt country is India. We beat Thailand at 3rd and Vietnam at 2nd for this most ‘hankered’ of titles, and why not! The nuisance of corruption runs deep here; it’s permeated into every institution, every social program, and every strand of our country’s nervous system. 54 per cent of India’s population has paid a bribe when accessing public services and institutions, that’s more than 1 in 2 citizens. Anyhow, here’s a few other numbers about the discredited state of affairs in India. 38 per cent of land and property deals in India involve bribes. The entire nexus of the government officials, politicians, judicial officers, real estate developers, and law enforcement officials control the property trade, wherein they acquire and sell land illegally. These groups also remain well protected and are highly connected for the most part, making it nigh impossible to renege on a deal.

The police personnel collect the highest amount of bribes. Passport verifications make up 30 per cent of the average bribe paid by a regular Indian in a year, while traffic violations make up 45 per cent. The methods are numerous and the amounts are far-reaching, ranging from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000 for passport verification. 60 per cent of road stops for truckers are for extorting money. According to the Transp-arency International, truckers pay Rs 222 crore in bribes every year. Authorities such as the government regulators, police, forest and sales and excise force stoppages on roads, and 60 per cent of these are for extorting money. These delays lead to an egregious loss in productivity. 60 per cent of people who got their driving license from an agent haven’t taken the driving exam.

The procedure to get a driving license in India is highly askew, with research showing that it is possible for people with little to no ability to get a license through the use of agents. A study showed that agents helping unqualified drivers obtain licenses and bypass the legally required driving examination was a widespread practice. Among those surv-eyed, around 60 per cent of the license holders hadn’t even taken the licensing exam and 54 per cent of those license holders had failed an independent driving test.

31 per cent of members of Parliament have criminal cases against them. Modiji might have said that he will make sure that India has corruption-free government under his rule, but the irony is that he has given ticket to all the corrupts and criminals from opposition party who joined BJP. Political parties have a corruption rate of 4.4 on a scale of 5 (1 being least corrupt rate and 5 being highest).

With a booming economy throughout the 2000s, India was touted as one of the most promising major emerging markets. But that breakneck growth sputtered to a decade low, with many observers pointing to the corrosive effect of endemic corruption β€” including a spate of scandals under former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh β€” as a culprit. Perhaps more than India’s weak currency and rising inflation, the graft problem has undermined institutions and thwarted efforts to reduce poverty and catalyse sustainable growth in the world’s largest democracy. Public revelations of corruption, including major scandals in the telecommunications and coal industry, have galvanized a rising middle class with increased demands for better governance. The tide has spurred new political movements and forced the government to address transparency and marshal reforms.

Corruption in India can be traced back to the country’s colonial past but as usual, he just spoke and forgot. Historically, the roots of India’s corruption came from the proliferation of licenses. The idea was to ensure economical use of resources, so you would not waste foreign exchanges. To this day, this is what Indians have been very aware of: that the institution of licenses and permits was responsible for creating corruption on a massive scale. There’s been corruption in India for thousands of years β€” it’s endemic. In the past two decades, there’s been a shift toward grand corruption: the recent scandals are just qualitatively and quantitatively bigger than anything we’ve seen. And a big reason for that is India’s rapid growth. Growth has expanded the possibilities for rent seeking. Voters’ complex relationship with corruption; research from a wide range of states finds that political candidates often promote their criminality as an indication of their ability to defend the interests of their communities.

An increasingly activist judiciary has also taken a stronger stance against corruption; in early 2011, the Supreme Court asked all trial courts in the country to fast-track corruption cases. The next year, it limited the amount of time the government had to decide whether or not to prosecute a public official for corruption. And in July 2013, the top court ruled that it was illegal for politicians convicted of crimes to continue holding office, although, in a highly controversial move, Singh’s cabinet withdrew the decree in October. Modi announced in an August 2014 speech that his government will initiate tough initiatives to battle corruption, likening the problem to a β€œdisease.” But now our PM has forgotten what he said, slowly and slowly BJP is also losing its lustre.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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