From 80 lakhs in 1948 and 640 lakhs in 1986 to 1.76 lakh crores in 2011, even the Indian economy has failed to match the pace at which scams have grown since the independence. Corruption at both macro and micro levels have been the bane of the country — so much so that it seems almost impossible to stem the rot in the system. Drawing room discussions often veer around the values taught by Mahatma Gandhi, but when it comes to following his ideals we instead choose to part with a few currency notes with his images on them and get what is desired.
`India ka agenda` — an episode of the Bharat Bhagya Vidhata series— raised the topic of corruption. The show pointed out the areas affected, and also the statistics that show the extent of corruption plaguing the Indian society and the system of governance in our country.
The guests on the show included former leader of Samajwadi Party Amar Singh, former Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) N Vittal, Editor of Jansatta Om Thanvi, ex-Deputy Commissioner of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) GR Khairnar and former justice of the Supreme Court of India, former Solicitor of India and Karnataka Lokayukta NS Hegde. The learned guests shared their perspectives regarding corruption and their views on countering the menace.
Zee News Editor Sudhir Chaudhary, began the proceedings by asking Amar Singh if politicians alone were responsible for corruption. Singh opined that anyone entering politics should firstly be well-off, if not - they will resort to unfair means and corruption.
Stating that 50% of the Indians accepted to have bribed at least once, Chaudhary asked Vittal if there was a way to check this. "I am an optimist — and am confident that if we can focus on how the system functions then we can find ways to weed out corruption too. We can control corruption if we bring about changes in three things— values in an individual, values in the society and the system of governance" said Vittal.
When asked if corruption is now engrained in the DNA of Indians, Hegde said that from the Jeep scam to 2G scam, the magnitude of corruption in the country has indeed increased manifolds. There is no check over the corrupt people in the system and this will continue unabated unless strict action is taken.
"Certain sections of media too have fallen prey to corruption. Firstly, we should take somes step to remove this from our own professions. Each one should stop indulging in corrupt practices. I am aware that corruption has spread its root far and wide but I am not a pessimist. If we wish, we can," said Thanvi.
Carrying the discussion further Singh said that the problem has worsened further as there isn`t any fear of law in people. "The practice of ‘paid news’ too is rampant. And if political parties and administrators indulge in this, I fear what could be the future of our country," he said.
"Our government today is more corrupt than ever before. Politicians only care for their own and their party’s selfish motives. Deceptiveness has replaced honesty. And due to this they resort to newer ways of making easy money," Khairnar opined.
When asked about what the CBI, special CBI courts and anti-corruption units were doing to counter corruption; Khairnar said that these too have gotten corrupt. "The personnel of anti-corruption units are getting richer day-by-day. Government employees are supposed to be the presiding authorities, but they themselves are misusing their powers. There isn’t an organisation in this country that can listen to grievances of those who are forced to pay bribes," he said.
"Politicians with criminal backgrounds should be removed from the system. Ironically, the selection to anti-corruption units is made by taking bribes. The selection criteria should be changed. This can be rectified by correcting the system," said Vittal, while talking about rampant corruption among anti-corruption units.
"What could be the future of a country where you have to bribe to get birth and death certificates? Corruption is engrained in the system," said Thanvi.
When asked as to what was the solution to these problems, Vittal said, "By focussing on the 2 T`s — transparency and team factor — we can overcome this problem. We too can have a transparent system like the US and make our country a better place to live in."
"If only the politicians stop letting money corrupt their values, a lot of difference will be seen in the society," said Thanvi.
Khairnar summed up saying, "Corrupt politicians should be immediately removed from the system."