In the present era, the term corruption is not unknown to anyone, be it an official or a layman scenario. Almost every day, we interact with the corrupt, either knowingly or unknowingly. But what necessitates one to take bribes is a matter of debate in the blog.
Here, I will try to reveal the cause of corruption in public life and the steps taken by the Government of India to tackle corruption to date.
Corruption can be conceived as misuse or abuse of power by those in the government offices for their gains, either in the pecuniary form as bribery or other in the form of favours.
Corruption is the breeding ground of illegality, injustice, unequal treatment to equals, and a suffering ground for the underprivileged masses. It is observed that the offices of the higher ranks are prone to a higher level of corruption than the ones of lower rank.
I remember reading that an eminent politician had once said, “If the government provides ₹100 to the people as a welfare measure, they actually only receive ₹20”. The rest goes into the pockets of the chains of intermediaries who do not deserve it at all, and who are more affluent than the person for whom it was provided in the first place.
So, let us try to elucidate the cause of corruption in India under the following heads.
The use of black money in elections is the greatest form of corruption in India. Even though the India Corruption Survey 2019 reported that corruption has reduced by 10% in a year, the problem is far from solved. The contesting candidates are trying to evade their real election expenditure coming from unknown sources.
Again, the criminalisation of politics can not be overlooked. It is reported that 43% of the MPs have criminal cases pending against them in courts, and the BJP tops the list. Heavy muscle power and money power during the election campaign also fosters corruption and leads to the emergence of ill-minded authority in the Indian democracy.
Economic factors, along with political factors, also contribute to the emergence of corruption. The high rate of inequalities between the rich and poor classes is a major concern. It is estimated that 1% rich pockets almost 73% of the total wealth of India. People with a low standard of living are compelled to pay bribes to the affluent ones to get access to the basic necessities of life, that is, food, clothing, shelter, education, and medicine.
In India, the highest number of workforce is engaged in the informal sector, which is around 81%. These enterprises usually pay bribes to the officials to stay out of the ambit of laws where the compliance is costly and complicated. In some cases, the remuneration paid in public sectors is lesser than what is provided in private sectors.
These harsh low wages of the workers force them to fall into the ambit of corruption. Also, different social and ethical causes like change in lifestyle, social discrimination, failure of the education system also have their reflections on the increasing corruption in public life.
The government is not unaware of corruption in public life. In this regard, it has taken several legal, administrative, and economic reforms and initiatives to deal with it. The Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, Prevention of Money-laundering Act 2002, RTI 2005, Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013, Whistleblower Protection act 2014, E-governance initiatives, etc. are some initiatives taken by the government.
If such initiatives work without fear and favour, nothing can obstruct us from becoming the largest economy in the world. It will help us become an ideal state in the world, which is still a distant dream!