Looking at the present scams in India reminds me of a quote from Ayn Rand which fittingly describes the current state of affairs
“when you see money flowing to those who deal not in goods but by favors,
when you see that men get richer by Graft and Pull than by work,
and the law does not protect you against them but protects them against you,
when you see corruption is being rewarded and honesty becomes self sacrifice,
you know your society is doomed “
Let’s not be too pessimistic and look at the brighter side of it, we can see that even in this poor state of affairs our Judiciary and Electoral systems are functioning independently and have restored some credibility but the question is that enough? No certainly not, it’s not practical in any country to approach the courts for day to day issues like obtaining ration card, driving license and we can’t afford to wait for 5 years to vote out a corrupt government or leader.
Moreover corruption or any malpractice is not function of individual person’s or particular political party’s morality, it’s about the system’s loopholes which need a fix. The solutions for these lie in institution building and strengthening our systems which does not allow a bureaucrat, a politician to ask for bribe and for corporate’s to offer bribes.
The solutions for these are obtained by a multi fold approach which includes taking measures in minimizing the dependency of the people on Government based public delivery systems to eliminate corruption faced by common man and bringing strong anti graft laws will ensure transparency at the top level for the big ticket corruption.
So corruption India can be categorized in to two kinds:
1) Low Level Corruption
2) High level or big ticket corruption
Measures to eliminate low level corruption:
Low level corruption means the corruption which a common man faces on a daily bases for obtaining his basic needs like ration card, Passport, License, opening bank account etc. so in order to reduce corruption at this level we need to minimize the interface between the public and the government for these services there by effectively reducing the need for the people to depend on government for these services and as a result of which there is no scope for corruption. To achieve this, the following measures need to be taken:
1) Minimizing the Interface between public and Government
This can be achieved by the use of technology where in every citizen of the country is provided with their identity in the lines of the “Social security number”
in the USA, what this kind of system does is by just giving this number your entire record can be traced and reduces a lot of paper work and empowers many poor people for whom all the paper work for each and every service they require may be overwhelming due to which they depend on that PDS officials.
2) Empowering consumer with more choice :
More choice can be created by privatizing the many public limited services as privatization creates more choice and results in competition among the different players involved there by empowering the people to choose a company which gives them the best value, take the example of the telecom sector where 10 years ago there was only Government run telephone company was operating it was difficult for people to obtain a new connection where as today when there are so many private operators due to the heavy competition just a phone call is enough to obtain a new connection.
3) Simpler laws :
In India to start a business or to even build a house there are numerous layers of departments and licenses to be obtained and getting all these done can be a herculean task than the business it self and exploiting these archaic system bureaucrat’s pressure the common man for corruption. Compare this to a system in USA where to build a house all you need to know is a set of guidelines given in a book let and follow them stringently and at the end of your construction there is only one officer who inspects it and approves the house if your house meets the requirements, so if we can replace these archaic laws with simple laws it can reduce corruption to a large extent.
Measures for Big Ticket corruption:
Big ticket corruption refers to the corruption at top level like the 2G spectrum scam and coal block scam. To eliminate this we need the following measures:
1) Lokpal with Lokayukta law: A strong anti graft law like the lokpal which also includes the lokayukta’s for the states and which is independent of the Government is the need of the hour.
2) Transforming Politics: last but not the least in order to achieve all the measures above we need to transform the way our politics function because the solution to all our problems only lies with politics and for the transformation to happen we need leaders of society to enter politics and we need more active participation of public especially the educated class, middle class and Youth to participate actively and forcefully like we did in the Lokpal movement.