CORRUPTION has now spread its roots deep into the soil of our conscience. In our arguments we all silently acknowledge the existence of some acceptable limits in corruption. It is in this light that recently we have developed a dangerous trend of pleading innocence by showing that the scale of irregularity in which the person cornered is involved is negligible as compared to the other scams. This trend is visible in the Parliament which has come a long way in finally establishing that the Bofors Scam falls under ignorable limits.
In this run up, instead of taking measures to nail the scamsters, a new scam is being unearthed each day that dwarfs all other scams known till then. Taking money for something that you don’t deserve to demand legally and use/misuse of your facility/power beyond what the rules permit, defines corruption. Ignoring filing of income tax returns; paying agents to get some work done in any office; paying/demanding a payment over and above or sometimes less than the metered or billed amount; making cash transactions; paying bribe in return of favor; using the official vehicle/phone or such facilities for personal purposes and forcing your subordinates to work for your personal needs, all these are different forms of corruption.
You want to buy/sell a property, you want to construct your house, you need to throw a huge party, you want to get a loan sanctioned or you want to get your project approved, you can neither avoid cash transactions nor withhold payments to the commission agents. If you are picked up for scrutiny under income tax act, believe me probably you will never be able to convince them that you were observing all the rules. If you are under police custody for any reason it will be difficult to plead your innocence without paying bribe. No business can survive if you try paying all kinds of taxes. Nobody will be able to explain/remember each entry in his/her passbook for a period spanning last three years.
There is no way that one can avoid corruption in India. We must finally admit that we all are corrupt and the difference is only in the scales involved in each case.
Let us try to find a way out from this desperate situation.
Hope lies in the conclusion that this state of hopelessness is actually forced one on us. It seems we have not changed even after becoming independent. We somehow still live in a situation similar to the pre-independence era. The government still identifies itself with the ruler-class and engages itself in enacting rules that are simply non-observable so that it only helps them in providing teeth to bite the commoners and get away with any corruption in return. On the other hand we posses no respect to the rules, the attitude that we used to carry proudly before independence, as we still think that government is an entity separate from us and working against our welfare. With this sense we feel committing nothing wrong while draining out the government funds. Another factor that hugely contributes to the unlimited rise of corruption is the non-existence of social security to the citizens. While high end corruption is driven by an urge for acquiring luxury, the seeds of low scale corruption are generally sown with the social insecurity prevailing everywhere in our country. We become corrupt in our resolve to secure future of all our family members.
Instead of raising the acceptable limits of corruption by each passing day, let us resolve to wipe out corruption from our attitude itself. Let us urge the government first to make rules with an intention to make all of us feel that we all are living in an independent country where we are not merely stakeholders but also part of the policy makers and then follow a zero tolerance regime for any kind of corruption. Let us have simple rules to follow. Let us follow 5 per cent tax rule on all our expenditures. Let us abolish all tax saving schemes. Let the government start a decent social security scheme. Let us also end the era of cash transactions as these have the potential to go unnoticed. After this let us follow the rules strictly as now there are no soft options left. We must confront this menace by declaring a war against this or otherwise this has a potential to end our independence.