Everyone thinks about it, talks about it and everyone has an opinion on how to resolve it.There is no doubt that this evil is not only creating an impediment in our nation’s progress, but it is also making us morally empty. How can we teach our kids to do things that are morally right and at the same time cannot be followed by us practically? It is not that we don’t have a desire to fight, but a common man’s common sense prevails. There is a trade off that one does, and very often this trade off prevails and goes against our inner conscience. So, is there a solution to this disease called corruption?
I think corruption comes in two varieties; one is like 2G, CWG and coal-g corruption, where a common man is not affected directly and other form of corruption exist in form of a citizen when he or she interacts with different Government Service Providers and Departments. The term ‘public servant’ is actually a biggest joke and it is actually public who becomes servant, though normally payment is given to servant, but here servant has to give money. This is strange but not funny.
I would like to quote from Archimedes Doric speech of Syracuse- “Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world”. The beauty of using a lever is that it uses minimal force to get maximum result. Can we apply this principle to our endemic issue of corruption? I think we can.
People have been offering various solutions for this problem, such as the Jan Lokpal Bill, making tough laws for fighting corruption etc… In my opinion these are not the solutions but may be like antibiotic medicine to treat an infection. When I say solution to the corruption problem I am referring to second type of corruption- that affects the common person. First of all it is very difficult for current legislature to make a law that will negatively impact their own interest. In the corporate world this is termed as the conflict of interest. So, how can we even think that a law will be made that will be effective enough to curb and eradicate corruption. May be we will see some form of law which will help in reducing corruption to some extent, but this will definitely have some other provisions that will further negatively affect the common man.
In my view if we have to choose a single reason why corruption exists in India I can pinpoint to one reason and that is how the political parties are funded. In India, like any other country fighting election requires money and we all know that all funds do not come from the sources that we call as legal sources. If we have to solve the corruption problem we will have to address the funding issue. Anyone working in government sector will confess that there is chain of commands, there are targets given to various departments and PSUs to raise funds for the ruling party. This is an open secret.
I am of the view that let political parties be openly funded. Let us constitutionally allow lobbying. People may say that this will tilt the lawmakers towards the lobbyist. Well, the situation is no different today. On the contrary today this is so secretly practiced that we don’t know about it. The lobbying will create a national awareness and ultimately no matter how hard lobbyist tries, if it is something that does not favour the majority, it will never see the light of the day. This single step will bring transparency into the system. I will not claim that this measure will completely solve the corruption problem, but it will definitely address a major part of it. When political parties are legally and openly allowed to take money, the incentive to take money under the table is reduced drastically. The black money that is being circulated will come down drastically. The parties will no longer be dependent on the executive machinery to provide them the required funds. And if one can add one more radical idea to eliminate the limit of money that a candidate can spend in election and allow them openly to fund their election
campaign this will go a long way in diminishing this menace. Even more radical is to permit candidates to pay the voters. Voters are also now smart enough to know what is good for them. It is a win-win situation for everyone. And a solution that is a win-win for everyone has a high probability of getting implemented.
I understand that this is such a monumental topic and people have different approaches and solutions towards it. But in my opinion the prior mentioned cause is one of the key causes of corruption that is affecting all of us.
The author is a Software Entrepreneur and
Consulting Editor, Intellectual Post