Everyone is concerned about corruption today. Anna claims a strong Lokpal will end corruption; Kejriwal says corruption is the root of all problems in the system. PM Modi had claimed that if elected he would he will bring back all black money stashed abroad-the money gained by illegal and corrupt means and taken out of the country-back.
What exactly is corruption? Is it just policemen taking bribes, government officials taking bribes, ministers pocketing money? At least that’s what most of us think (or at least something like that) and that is what is propagated. But that’s not the way to define it. Corruption is the use of public office for private gains. Any property meant for the public, that is used for any other purpose is corruption. By this definition, don’t you think that any tax money – our money collected by the government – used for any purpose other than the public welfare is corruption? But the budget of the central government does this year after year. It gives huge tax subsidies to the biggest industrialists. So should we not say that this is officially approved corruption?
Is corruption in the country an issue which came into existence recently? No! Many of our thousands of years old historic texts talk about the existence of rules of severe punishment for the misuse or misreporting of public funds by government or any authority. Corruption came into existence when the gap between the ruling people and the rest came into existence. Some people had so much wealth that they would use it to gather even more wealth by influencing government decisions in their favour.
The scale of corruption is definitely much higher today than ever before. Everything can be bought for a price today, including government posts, ministerial portfolios, and court judgments. A specific feature of corruption in our country is that it infects the system from top to bottom. Many have to pay additional amounts to get even small jobs done in time in government offices. This level of corruption constitutes robbery of the people. It adds to the already heavy economic burden on their backs. Firstly do we get even basic amenities after paying taxes? On top of it, we also have to suffer in some way or the other to get our official public documents ready.
Petty corruption, encountered by people in their day-today life, must be removed. However corruption of thousands of crores affects us even more, though many of us don’t realise this. The fact is that policies harmful to us people and beneficial to the richest people are made because of their money power. This high level corruption happens पर्दे के पीछे. Another form of corruption is when government officers pocket part of public funds meant for investment projects or social programs.
Now let us look at the common ideas spread amongst us. One common belief is that a strong Lokpal will help curb corruption. The truth is many anti-corruption institutions such as Central Vigilance Commission and state level vigilance establishments already exist. Karnataka is show-cased as an example of a state that already has a strong and active Lokpal. But corruption has not reduced in Karnataka! What can even a strong ‘non-corrupt’ Lokpal, do? How many people can he catch?
Is corruption a problem only limited to our country? During the economic crisis of 2008, many of the big banks and insurance companies in the US were on the verge of bankruptcy due to their greed for profit. The crisis hit millions of working people very severely. Many lost their jobs and even homes. These people were in deep trouble with no houses, very few employment opportunities and not enough money! Under such situation people were in need of support from the US government. But what did the government do? It bailed out the huge banks but there was no bail-out of people!
What is the amount of bail-out? Nearly one trillion dollar (1000 billion dollars). And from where did this money come? It was the tax money of the ordinary Americans! The US government used the public funds not to help the public, but to help big bank owners. Was this not corruption of the highest order?
So it’s obvious that whether it is India or the US, the rich always use their money power to get even richer, even if it requires bribing. So don’t you think that corruption will go only when the gap when the super-rich and ordinary people is removed? Think about it and share your views!