Recently it has become a fad in India, to talk about corruption and say how corrupt is everybody except the person who is saying this. But rarely do we see somebody going in a bit deeper to find out, what is cause of such Corruption in India.
If you will ask me I will say the cause is “us”. Yes, we are the cause behind it. We fuel the fire of corruption. We do things we know that we wouldn’t be able to do if there was no corruption.
I will give you some examples of what I am talking about.
- Many of my colleagues and some friends, passionately talk about corruption in India, but readily flout all kinds of traffic rules. Even the hefty fines doesn’t deter them. Why? because they know they can pay a small bribe if they ever get caught and don’t need to worry about laws.
- One of my friend’s friend was asking him that he wants to setup a factory, he was asking about a place nearby(the area is residential) where he can setup his factory. He said that the plant, would do some water pollution, so he wanted my friend to ensure that it wouldn’t be an issue with authorities. Why? because he feels, he doesn’t have any responsibility of upkeep of people’s health, he just needs to bypass the checks from the authorities(which with the right amount he could).
- Bribing the officials is even considered a norm in some departments. The Officer that will come to your house for Passport details verification wouldn’t leave without getting his “well-deserved” share. The postman wouldn’t hand you out your license/passport until you pay him the “happy news fee”!.
There are many many more examples, you might be knowing a lot too.
Why do we have such a behavior? Why do we feel it’s OK to give and take bribe? Involve in unethical businesses?
I will try to give possible reasoning for it.
- For giving out bribes – it might have been due to a tradition of giving back in the Indian culture, the culture to share from your happiness to the person who has been a part of it. But that is something not everybody would follow and nowadays having a driving license or a Passport isn’t anymore a dream come true. But the people at the receiving end have got stuck with that. So much so that they even force you to give them some sort of gift(read bribe).
- Another reason for it is our lack of knowledge or even willingness to know. You wouldn’t want to go through the procedures of something(like a license for something) , so you tell the first official you meet and ask him in a low and secretive voice “Sir, Is there a workaround?”(Hindi: “Sir, koi jugaad ho sakta hai?”). The officer might also be having more experience with the workaround than the actual process. Says a yes with a blink of an eye.
- It seems to be the easy way out. Some people who have enough, feel Money can buy everything, so they feel they don’t need to follow any kind rules. If somebody will come trying to stop them. They will simply buy them out, they have tried and tested this approach, and it had worked!. So now there is not turning back!
- Sometimes and the worst of all, you pay bribes because there is no other way around. Two of my friends run a business, one needs a standards verification every year and other needs food safety approval. Both say, that if they don’t pay the official who comes for checking, he will fail the sample, no matter how good is the quality of the sample, and once they are paid, you can be sure that your sample isn’t going to fail,, howsoever bad it is.
Is there a way out?
Although I haven’t been in my friends’ place, but if you fall under category 4 it might be difficult for you to get out from the clutches of corruption. But for other points I would say it usually happens from our un-willingness to know or to trust the system. Something keeps on stopping us from doing things the right way because of notions that corruption does exist, and nothing can be done about about it.
I have had two experiences of government work How to get back license after a court challan in Delhi? and How to get a second hand vehicle transferred to your name in Delhi? where everybody goes easier way(pay some extra money and get the thing done).
From these two incidents I learned that there is a right way only if you are willing to seek it.
Many people might say why go in the hassle? Pay some money and get your work done.
But I then question myself that, is this world for only those who have the money?
Should the person who doesn’t have or doesn’t want to spend that extra money keep waiting?
Should the officials only serve those who pay them extra than they are already being paid by the Government? Doesn’t the salary they are getting, hold any meaning to them?
When I seek answer to this I feel if I also go the same route, whereby I support corruption in some way or the other, I will keep on making the system lethargic, greedy and people with lack of resources will never get a fair service. They will be pushed to end of queue time and again because people who can shell out a little more, will keep on replacing them from front of the queue.