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How Corruption Can Bring A Country To Its Knees

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corruption in India
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Corruption is a big challenge to economic growth. It corrodes democracy by weakening and hampering economic growth, further aggravating inequality, poverty, and environmental crisis. We need to understand how corruption works so that corruption can be ended.

Corruption comes into picture when large sums of money are involved, multiple ‘players’, or huge quantities of products are at stake. It is known that corruption attacks the very basics of democracy by overriding the rule of law and creating a bureaucratic swamp.

Fighting the issue of corruption is assumed as ever more important today. Not just government, but media interventions also focus more on corruption and scandals. The recorded data by World Bank registers a loss between $1 trillion and $1.6 trillion globally every year for illegal activities. Corruption brings down the wealth in a nation, and the standard of living comes down. The economists consider corruption as a major roadblock to economic development. It throws low-income groups into critical poverty traps.

Corruption means “the abuse of public power for private gain“. There is a large amount of money lost due to bureaucratic corruption. It includes bribe to judges, bribing in commercial and criminal courts, payments to inspectors for overlooking violations of rules, payments to obtain licenses, to obtain property rights during privatization process, trying to gain public procurement contracts, and more.

The desire for luxury, money, and more power tends to motivate sidestepping the law and makes space for more corrupt practices. Due to lower literacy, people get attracted to illegal practices. Micro-institutions to macro-institution, local to government institutes have their own set of corruption activities. The executive body in India has many selfishly motivated politicians and bureaucrats.

India fares a very strong position in terms of the financial institution’s strength, business sophistication, and innovation. But for corruption, we are ranked at 85th by the Corruption Perception Index. This changes the perception of international business for India. And the worst part is that there has been no considerable change in India’s position in a few years.

Negative Impact Of Bureaucratic Corruption On Growth

  • Due to corruption, there is a misemployment of talent and skills from productive activities. Corruption has been in our societies for long, and governments are still struggling to combat this devil. Also, corruption is very hard to measure, and the economic research on this is fairly meagre too.
  • Corruption itself misrepresents the decisions about what public goods to produce and its costs. So there is a differential impact on the investment and various other areas influencing the growth outcomes. According to an economist (Mauro), if corruption in India came down to the level of Scandinavian countries, investments would rise by 12% annually.
  • It limits the inflow of foreign direct investments by limiting the country’s trade openness. The effects of corruption can be seen in trade policies and political instability and contribution to various channels.
  • The public revenue is reduced, and public spending goes up, contributing to larger fiscal deficits. It becomes a challenge for the government to maintain a sound fiscal policy.
  • Corruption also distorts markets and reduces the government’s ability to impose regulatory controls. The fundamental role of the government comes to a low. Injustice increases along with disregard for the rule of law.
  • Petty corruption affects the elementary rights and services of the common man. Beyond that, scandals and scams also come into the limelight many times. The status of bribery in India can be established from the report published by Trace International; it states that – government officials demanded 91% of the bribes. The most noticeable effect of corruption can be seen in the loss of national wealth. Millions are lost in scams like 2G spectrums, Indian Coal Allocation Scam, and many more.
  • This serious issue promotes inefficiencies, promotes compromise on quality, and lately has become a threat to national security.
  • Poor and weaker sections of the economy get deprived further. Some surveys have predicted a loss of ₹2 lakh crores annually to the government because of tax evasion. ₹40,000 crores were lost due to deferment in projects.
  • If corruption were not there, Public Sector Enterprises would perform well and improve profits by at least 20%.
  • In the case of India, corruption is the foremost hindrance in the way of development. Many ambitious infrastructure projects are delayed consciously seeking more government funds, which finally puts an end to such projects or leads to their failure.
  • India has been left behind by many countries in the fields of Defense, Research, etc. Despite every facility being offered in these sectors, the end-user still suffers due to inadequate supplies.
  • In the wake of corruption, the higher costs of government are filled by incompetent candidates at higher positions. They lack leadership and other skills required for the job, and the administration suffers more.
  • Criminal activities rise due to corruption in Police administration. It gives way to Injustice and anti-social activism.
  • Economies like India afflicted by a high level of corruption are not capable of flourishing because the economy’s natural laws go inoperational, and governments cannot function freely. This causes its entire society to suffer.
  • Transparency Index-TI pointed out that India is one of the worst offenders in terms of press freedom and political graft. This is an indicator of the extent to which politicians use the power for personal gains. In India, corruption is an accepted evil due to personal convenience.
  • The kind of corruption India is facing may lead to the formation of oligopolies and monopolies. Those who can use connections to bribe government officials also manipulate policies and market mechanisms. They may want to ensure that they are the sole provider of goods or services in the market. This is done so that they do not have to compete against alternative providers. Consequently, they keep their prices high at the low quality of goods or services. Such costs also represent illegal costs of corruption that were necessary to reach such a monopolistic stage.
  • It leads to the irregular distribution of wealth due to which small businesses have to face unfair competition. A lot of small businesses do not get qualified to win government contracts because these projects are often awarded as a result of bribery.
  • Education and healthcare also depreciate in such economies, bringing down the country’s citizens’ overall standard of living. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), corruption increases the cost of education and health in such countries. Also, corruption in various stages of healthcare for the recruitment of personnel, procurement of medical supplies, etc. leads to insufficient healthcare treatment. There is substandard or restricted, medical supply and lowered quality of healthcare.
  • A Shadow Economy starts to exist simultaneously as the small businesses avoid having their businesses registered with tax authorities. This is done to avoid taxation, and therefore, the income generated by many businesses exists in the official economy. They are not liable to pay taxes and are thus not included in the calculation of the country’s GDP. Such businesses pay decreased wages and do not provide acceptable working conditions.

Various Legislative Provisions For Fighting Corruption

Government servants come under the purview of the following acts if caught taking bribes. Public servants in India can be penalized for corruption under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 penalizes public servants for the offence of money laundering.

They can face rigorous imprisonment for three to ten years and a fine of up to ₹5 lakhs. India has sufficient laws to deal with corruption, but there needs to be a strong agency to implement those acts. Some collective efforts taken by the judiciary may help some positive results. CBI and other central and state investigation agencies for a fair investigation may be brought in. Existing laws should be strengthened. Participation of citizens and transparency in decision making along with judicial reform and police reform will, in turn, eradicate this menace.

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Analysis & Conclusion

Some studies advise that the prevalence of corruption can have some benefits also. This is for the countries that fail to provide public services adequately. The study suggests that paying bribes help firms in the immediate short-run in terms of productivity. The current government came with the agenda to rid of corruption. There were immediate economic reforms like the introduction of demonetization and GST. But the reality of the situation shows that either nothing changed or things just got worse.

The PNB scam is an example of the situation currently in India. Lower-ranking for India in TI –Transparency Index is a question of the government’s efficiency. Several studies have found that corruption slows growth. But the decision of the country to be more transparent will have a positive impact on FDIs and capital formation leading the way to steady economic growth.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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