DURING the Quit India movement launched on 9th August 1942, the inspiring slogan given by Mahatama Gandhi was ‘karenge ya marenge’ which meant that we shall achieve Independence or die. Today, after six decades of Independence, a grave situation has arisen in which it has become necessary for the nation to wage a war against corruption and win or die.
State of the nation
Confining to the topic of corruption prevailing in our country even after 63 years of Independence the state of nation is extremely perilous. Starting from election to education and to every other field of administration corruption has percolated. It has spread like blood-cancer.
The tree of corruption has its root in the highest echelons of administration. It is like water which flows downwords up to the lowest level, has trickled down to every branch of administration. Common man is adversely affected right from his requirements of food, education employment and health etc.
We have witnessed and are witnessing daily about the large scale corruption, from defence purchase or projects so vital for the security of the country to all other commercial transactions including cricket as seen in IPL and sports from what we are hearing in the affairs of common-wealth games.
For getting admission to school or college or treatment in hospitals or in revenue offices or municipal offices for change of khata or getting licence for construction of house, payment of bribe has become inevitable. Not only commercial matters but even for entertaining of complaints in police stations, Police demand bribe as also for not taking action on genuine complaint infact one finds conception in every field of life.
Further even for transfer and posting of Government officers including Police officers bribe is being taken by ministers. Having paid heavy bribe to ministers, officers, in turn collect double or more than double amount from the citizens in the form of bribe and feel justified in doing so.
As corruption is rampant for admitting children to schools and colleges, parents whose income from salary is low feel justified in collecting bribe with the object of educating their children.
The position now is whether God is Sarvantaryami or not, bribe is certainly Sarvantaryami. Situation is explosive. It looks as though the nation is sitting on a volcano awaiting explosion endangering the very safety of the nation both from internal and external dangers caused on account of corruption. Recently, we have come to know that an officer in the office of Indian Embassy in Pakistan had been passing on vital information under the influence of corruption. Thus the corruption has even spread to sensitive fields of law and order and the security of the nation.
While the corruption was growing in and among the members of the Executive and even Legislature, in the early decades after Independence by and large Judiciary was free from charges of corruption except the fact that ministerial officers of courts were not free from corruption. Now there is allegations against Judges also which has completely shaken the confidence of the people in the judiciary.
Vishwa roopa darshan of corruption
Apart from wide ranging corruption, as indicated above, in an incisive article titled ‘India’s illegal wealth abroad’ by R Vaidyanathan Professor of Finance, Indian Institute of Management, Bengalure published in Eternal India July 2009 issue is greatly disturbing. A few exerpts from the article are as follow:
The average amount stashed away from India annually during 2002-2006 was $27.30billion. It means during the five year period, the amount parked in different tax havens, including Switzerland was $136.5 billion. The share of Swiss Bank in the dirty money from India is at least one third, due to historical and geographical reason. These illegal funds lying in tax haven are not just related to the issue of tax evasion. It is capital flight from India and part of a corrupt nexus between businessmen, bureaucrats and politicians. Substantial sums have been accumulated abroad due to under invoicing/ over-invoicing and also commission from defense and other major contracts
The President in her address to the joint session of the 15th Lok Sabha on June 4, 2009 has enunciated thus:
“My Government is fully seized of the issue of illegal money of Indian citizens outside the country in secret bank accounts. It will vigoursly pursue and all necessary steps in coordination with the countries concerned will be taken.”
In response to a writ petition before the Supreme Court the Government of India’s Ministry of Finance has indicated that it is taking steps to recover such amount and also mentioned that the German government has given a list of names of persons who have kept money in the LGT bank of Liechtenstein. The response also avers that steps have been taken in the case of Hasan Ali Khan’s (a Pune based horse breeder) illegal transaction through USB bank of Switzerland. Interestingly the response of the Union government in the Supreme Court indicates that tax demands of Rs 71,848 crore have been raised against the said person, his wife and other associates. If this were the tax demands then the income on which this would have been raised may be more than 1.5 lakh crore of rupees taking into account compounding, penalty, etc. These are mind-boggling figures pertaining to one case since our national income for the current year is Rs 50 lakh crore. Tax havens are against transparency. It is a commonly shared concern that a lot of money is generated by most unscrupulous methods – bribery, kickbacks, drug trafficking, insider trading embezzlements, computer fraud, under invoicing and other tainted activities.
We are debating not about the NRIs. But about the Resident Non Indians RNIs who have accumulated wealth in Swiss Banks.
The average amount stashed away from India annually during 2002-2006 was $27.30billion. It means during the five year period, the amount taken away was $136.5 billion (Ford Foundation Report) It is not that all of the amount had gone to Switzerland. It has gone to different tax shelters. The share of Swiss Bank in the dirty money from India is at least one third, due to historical and geographical reasons.
The Supreme Courat in the case of STATE OF MP VERSUS RAM SINGH (2000(5) SCC 88 ) has observed thus: ” Corruption in a civilized Society is a disease like cancer if not detected in time is sure to malagnise the polity of the country, leading to disastrous consequences. Corruption is termed as a plague which is not only contagious but if not controlled, spreads like a fire in a jungle. Its virus is compared with HIV leading to AIDS, being incurable. It had also been termed as royal thievery. The socio political system exposed to such a dreaded communicable disease is likely to crumble under its own weight. Corruption is opposed to democracy social order being not only anti people but aimed and targeted than against them. It affects the economy and destroys the cultural heritage. Unless nipped in the bud at the earliest, it is likely to cause turbulence- shaking the scio-economic political system in an otherwise healthy, wealthy and effective and vibrating society.”
Corruption violates human rights, undermines the rule of law, distorts the development process, and dis-empowers the Indian state. The way forward is to increase the say of civil society in governance issues.
Two recent events have brought to the forefront the issue of corruption in India. The first is the saga of the demolition of illegal structures by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). It has demonstrated how corruption and abuse of power are deep rooted in India as no action was taken when all these structures were being built. Palms were greased to break every law in the book; it took an order from the Delhi high court for the MCD to do its long overdue duty.
The second concerns the recent revelations about receiving cash for putting questions by 11 MPs. Ten of them have now been found guilty of breach of privileges by the Lok Sabha’s own inquiry committee, which had recommended that 10 of them should beaccordingly expelled.
That corruption ultimately hurts the Indian state and its legitimacy needs to be impressed upon by many Indian Parliamentarians and bureaucrats who are persons of integrity and are performing public service with utmost rectitude. The way forward in the fight against corruption in India is to ensure responsibility and accountability for strengthening, not weakening, sovereignty, along with large- scale efforts to increase the say of civil society in the governance issues. A corruption free Indian state enhances its ability to govern, reduces possibilities of unwarranted external interference, and raises its international stature. A non discriminated against, content and well governed population confers internal stability, a key requisite for projecting power internally and externally.
Indian administration is tainted with scandals. India is among 55 of the 106 countries where Corruption is rampant, according to the Corruption Perception Index 2004 report released by Transparency International. Corruption in India leads to promotion not prison. It is very difficult to catch big fishes. Corruption in India has wings not wheels. As nation grows, the corrupt also grow to invent new methods of cheating the government and the public.
We are a billion people and with at least two billion houses. Corruption begins at home and around 60 million houses are estimated corrupt and it is the duty of each student to curb corruption in their own homes first, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam(Former president of India) said while interacting with engineering students of Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute at Matungathat. Student should rise in revolt against corruption.
(To be concluded)