Corruption in India Hello! I’m Harish Shenoy and I’ve come to express my views on corruption, specifically in India. As we all know, today India is synonymous with corruption, unfortunately that is! Everyone is going crazy and is involving themselves in some sham. What they don’t know is someone’s going to crack a whip on them, not just someone, but the 1.2 billion population. Let’s walk down the lane, say 1930’s? Indian freedom struggle was intensifying, the freedom fighters were just worrying about driving away the invaders, they thought the foreigners were draining our treasury, exploiting us and looting our resources, little did they know that even after the independence the same thing would continue, but this time it would be Indians themselves who would do the evil job. The earliest leaders were optimistic that once we drive the British off, we would be world power in the making, yes we are but at slow a pace and the main reason is corruption. Today we could have been much more if it wasn’t for corruption. The taxes would have gone to the govt. and the govt. would have spend the money rightly and we would be leading the world by today, but the selfish bureaucrats looted our wealth, moving to the grass root level any work today can’t be done without greasing someone’s palm. Right from birth to death our lives is filled with corruption, to get any kind of a work done we have to pay bribes. These bribes started as tips but the ones accepting it thought it was their right and to just get our work done without any kind of obstruction we pay up, but where does that money land? It goes directly into their pockets no tax, no account. The nation is deprived of money and we can’t move forward, we lose all our money like this. We elect our representatives to govern us but what do they do? They Use their powers to make money. Award contracts to the highest briber and overlook their duties of inspecting the work, the nation looses the assets and is deprived of quality products and it directly affects us. These so called representatives denotify the govt. property to benefit them, what was meant for the people, illegally belongs to the politicians and people in power. A number of scams have broken loose in the previous year or two, which just shook up the govt. and captured our breath by just looking at the lost figures the public were awestruck! I’ve chosen 7 major scam which just appealed to me as biggest scams in the history of India Bofors scandal: in 1984 Ottavio Quatrochi a close friend of then prime minister had allegedly influenced a contract, the army needed howitzer guns of range 30kms sofrna guns were the ideal guns needed who matched the needed description, but the tender was awarded to bofors guns which didn’t do so well, the firm AE services is suspected to have paid 3% of the deal to quatrochi, and when this matter came to light rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi defended him, later the case didn’t cover a lot of ground probably because the congress govt. was in power and they could have influenced the trial. Cash for vote scam: in the monsoon session of the parliament the UPA govt. faced a trust vote and it survived but a member of the opposition ashok argal and two others waved bundles of note saying the UPA govt. tried to bribe the MPs to just vote for them, the trial are going on but major questions have arised in these years about the legitimacy of those allegations, hope we’ll find out in the coming days. CWG scam: what was believed to be the pride of the nation, i.e hosting common wealth games turned out to be a far worse disaster than expected. Huge amount of money was spent over the smallest things, this just proved that the organizers made a lot of money in the games, a normal tissue paper was worth something around 1000 bucks and when the organizers could have bought equipments at a far cheaper price, they shelled more money than its cost, this just proves that they were corrupt and selfish. Those guys didn’t think about the nation’s pride. Suresh Kalmadi was arrested on 25 April 2011 over misappropriation of funds. Mining scam of Karnataka: B.S. Yedyurappa was indicted on the accounts of granting mining lease to companies, the Lokyukta report showed that one South West Mining company had donated 10 crores to Yedyurappa ‘s foundation, he was soon arrested on charges of corruption. Adarsh Housing Society Scam: in 2010 the media brought to light a new housing scam, a high rise adarsh society was constructed for army personnel involved who took part in kargil war. But, instead it went to top bureaucrats, politicians and army personnel who had nothing to do with kargil war. Then chief minister Ashok Chavan resigned soon after this issue came into light. Sukna land scam: in what appeared to be a case of army officials to be the culprits, Sukna land scam came to public light and the army officials who were involved were Gen Prakash and Lt, Gen Rath, they issued a no objection certificate violating the laws to allow a complex next to military station, they were tried and found guilty. 2G scam: termed as the biggest worst scam in Indian history, believes to have cost 1.76 lakh crores to the state exchequer. The 2G spectrum scandal involved officials in the government of India illegally undercharging mobile telephone companies for frequency allocation licenses, which they would use to create 2Gsubscriptions for cell phones. The issuing of licenses occurred in 2008, but the scam came to public notice when the Indian Income Tax Department was investigating political lobbyist Nira Radia. A. Raja of ministry communication and IT, ignored all rules to allot the spectrum to the favored companies instead of highest bidders, along with him a lot of top politicians like Kanimozhi, P.Chidambaram are named in this scandal, Kanimozhi and Raja have been imprisoned along with other bureaucrat and businessmen waiting for the judgment. Lokpal the magic wand The word Lokpal was coined in 1963 by L.M.Singhvi, a Member of Parliament during a debate in Parliament about grievance redressal mechanisms. His son Dr. Abhishek Singhvi is now the head of the Parliamentary Standing Committee reviewing the bill. The prefix Jan (translation: citizens) was added to signify the fact that these improvements include input provided by "ordinary citizens" through an activist-driven, non-governmental public consultation. The Lokpal bill was first introduced by Shanti Bhushan in 1968 and passed the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969. But before it could be passed by Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha was dissolved and the bill lapsed. The Subsequent versions were re-introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008, but none of them passed. The bill was inspired by the Hong Kong Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) But in April 2011 the demand for passing the bill was strengthened by the India against corruption group and social activist demanded an effective lokpal to be passed and proposed a better janlokpal bill, the prime minister reacted by saying the govt. would propose the bill but the govt’s was not so well constituted, according to the lokpal bill lokpal would just serve as an advisory, this agitated the activists and they demanded for a better one. The prime minister vowed to pass a stronger bill and constituted a th team to draft it and presented it in parliament on 9 of December. Difference between the proposed lokpal bill and Janlokpal India today has a number of independent bodies to check corruption but they are ineffective because of the rules which bound them. Lokyukta: it’s an optional agency which is at state level a govt. can appoint lokyukta in their state. They have their own powers they can investigate, but the drawback is they can’t convict even if they have evidence they just act as an advisory council to the court. CVC (central vigilance commission): started in late 1960’s this is the council which looks after the guard job at the center, they have their own vigilance dept. but they cannot investigate. They have to sort investigation details from either CBI or departmental chief vigilance officer. And their main job is to advice the govt. on the wrong doings and inform them of how it was done so that it can’t be repeated and show where the machinery failed. CBI (central bureau of investigation): CBI the premier investigating agency of india has a lot of responsibility to crack a whip on corruption, but it couldn’t work for all these years either because of political interference, lack of powers, or corruption from within. Today CBI is known as a very ineffective agency of India because of its mishandling of the all the case. CAG (comptroller and auditor general): CAG audits every kind of bills by the govt. and thus its potential tool to keep an eye on corruption. Even though India has all of these agencies to check corruption there is no decrease corruption, in fact it’s on the rise. Failure of all these agencies mainly points at two reasons 1: political interference 2: lack of power and enough resources. I would recommend a new solution to all of this, making them an independent body and giving them enough power to probe everyone in the country with a few exceptions like intelligence agencies, Prime Minister’s office, and Defense ministry, because these powers have to work in absolute secrecy, the only way to check them would be after their term or declassification of documents or through electing the right person who can trusted upon. Moving to figures of black money stashed way by Indians. A November 2010 report from the Washington-basedGlobal Financial Integrity estimates that India lost at least US$462 billion in illicit financial flows, another word for black money, from 1948 through 2008. The report also estimated the size of India's underground economy at approximately US$640 billion at the end of 2008 or roughly 50% of the nation's GDP. Black Money in Switzerland According to a 2010 The Hindu article, unofficial estimates indicate that Indians had over US$1456 billion in black money stored in Swiss banks (approximately USD 1.4 trillion). While some news reports claimed that data provided by the Swiss Banking Association Report (2006) showed India has more black money than the rest of the world combined? a more recent report quoted the SBA's Head of International Communications as saying that no such official statistics exist. Another report said that Indian-owned Swiss bank account assets are worth 13 times the country’s national debt As we know corruption today has metaphorically drained our lives out, the money lost to corruption cannot even be estimated, in the case of 2G spectrum allocation, CAG estimated the loss to be about 1.76 lakh crores, just imagine that amount being spent on something for the people, maybe like educational institutes, hospitals, loan to the poor people to pull them out of poverty, infrastructural development, creation of job opportunities and I can go with this for an hour………….. then imagine all the black money and losses caused due to corruption put together, just imagine how much richer we all would be. This certainly is a matter of national shame, can we boast about ourselves before someone from other country while striking a conversation? Would you really feel proud of your country’s selfish background? If it was me I would cover my face. We have a lot of good things in our nation, but this ink blot spoils the beauty of it all, manmohan Singh had said it once and I quote “India is a very rich country by poor people”. And true he spoke, our country is so rich but the major portion of the population is poor. Just talking and advising the corrupt among the crowd……. Would it help? I certainly don’t think so; time’s calling for a change, it’s time we changed ourselves, as I said earlier it isn’t just the top bureaucrats who are corrupt, a lot of the govt. officials are corrupt and we face it, just to get our job done we shell so much of money!!!!! Do you think small amount won’t make much difference? Let me tell you these oceans are made up of small drops of water, so just imagine 1.22 billion people paying a govt. official say, 1000 bucks throughout one’s life, wow! The govt. official would be super rich he would be worth 1.22 trillion rupees, so; still think it doesn’t matter? Well there was something I observed earlier this year, there seems to be great unity among people against corruption. When the IAC movement started everyone were supporting it(except for me: I mean I supported the movement a lot but I felt that the people leading it were not right well leave that, my opinion on the leaders doesn’t matter) the only thing which matters is everyone were united and I never saw something like that, I was very happy at that movement…..coming to what I was saying is, we tried tolerance all along let’s try to be adamant, lets come out on the roads asking for a stronger system against corruption, let’s not give bribe to anyone whatever maybe the matter, if we don’t agree to pay they can’t force us to, can they? Just within hours they’ll be without any job, what will they do then? I’m pretty sure they would do their job sincerely. Every one of the 1 billion population does it, we’ll be richer i.e. directly and indirectly. Our nation would be far more better than the rest of the world, within a short few years we would be leading the world, just imagine how proud we all would feel, I would be so happy that I can assure you now there would be tears in my eyes. I believe in ending with a positive note always, so I would just say “be ethical, do remember where you hail from, the nation where great souls like mahatma gandhi and a lot more were born, bapu always advocated for truth and for what is right, follow the same and this path will lead to glory, glory for yourself, glory for your nation and an example for the world to follow”.