In today’s world, it can be unarguably said that Corona virus is the most heard and spoken word, with the digital bombardment of news reports, articles, videos, posters, and what not. Although the Corona virus has plagued the entire world since its identification as a Pandemic, there is another evil or should I say metaphorically another ‘Virus’, which has plagued the world and especially our country India since decades, and i.e. Corruption. The menace of Corruption doesn’t only go back to the time we got realized political Independence or to the period when the sun never set on the British Empire, but it existed much before any of this. The legendary Indian teacher and minister Kautilya in his political treatise “Arthashahtra”, exclaimed in 3rd century BCE itself that “It is as difficult to prevent a government servant from corruption as a fish from drinking water”.
As mentioned in a Times of India piece by me:
“Rampant corruption in India has damaged the Economy and further stunted its development for decades, thereby preventing our nation from reaching new heights. A study conducted by Transparency International in 2005 recorded that more than 62% of Indians had at some point or another paid a bribe to a public official to get a job done. In 2008, another report showed that about 50% of Indians had first-hand experience of paying bribes or using contacts to get services performed by public offices.”
However, due to the advent of modern technologies and digitalization of governance, India has been making progress in its constant battle against corruption. Corruption at lower levels has been thwarted as the power to disburse benefits and welfare schemes has been given to technology which isn’t greedy nor biased, unlike the middle men who used to demand “Kharcha Paani” from the benefitiaries for providing them with the provisions they are entitled to. Further, digitalization of governance through the Digital India scheme as well as Government E-marketplace and other innovations has significantly reduced the internal corruption in the government on which many corrupt officials thrived for ages.
Technology has also empowered citizens, making it easier to report any instances of corruption they may ever see or face and this has greatly deterred public officials from being corrupt and looking for “Kharcha Paani” and rather perform their duty as they’re expected to. It is also important to mention that this aspect has also made the citizens more responsible. For instance, earlier many used to escape the consequences of violating traffic rules by paying money under the table to the police or by flaunting their relations with someone influential. However, all this has come to an end, thanks to technology, which has given way to E-challans, which once registered in the system, can’t be influenced by any sum of money or approach! Hence, India is on its way to thrash corruption completely and get rid of it, which is also reflected in the country’s recent ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2019 (80 out of 180!).
Although, India is now on the winning side of the battle against Corruption, it is essential to acknowledge that the battle isn’t won but still on and our friend technology has also turned foe on certain occasions. For instance, crypto-currencies like Bit-coin are being used to make anonymous transactions which are untraceable.
Further, as I have previously mentioned in a blog on Medium: “popular online gambling websites and applications, massive multiplayer online games, etc also can be used for money-laundering as an alternative to the mainstream modes to do so.”
Thus, we must realize that Corruption is also a Social evil and must be dealt with in a comprehensive approach by not only innovating and democratizing technology, but also by changing the societal perceptions and justifications for corruption, by spreading awareness about its perils as well as encouraging people to be honest and vigilant, for a prosperous and developed India!