For the corrupt, by the corrupt….

Rank 5 Country/Territory CPI 2009 Score Surveys Used Confidence Range
180 Somalia 1.1 3 0.9 – 1.4
179 Afghanistan 1.3 4 1.0 – 1.5
178 Myanmar 1.4 3 0.9 – 1.8
176 Sudan 1.5 5 1.4 – 1.7
176 Iraq 1.5 3 1.2 – 1.8
175 Chad 1.6 6 1.5 – 1.7
174 Uzbekistan 1.7 6 1.5 – 1.8
168 Turkmenistan 1.8 4 1.7 – 1.9
168 Iran 1.8 3 1.7 – 1.9
168 Haiti 1.8 3 1.4 – 2.3
168 Guinea 1.8 5 1.7 – 1.8
168 Equatorial Guinea 1.8 3 1.6 – 1.9
168 Burundi 1.8 6 1.6 – 2.0
162 Venezuela 1.9 7 1.8 – 2.0
162 Kyrgyzstan 1.9 7 1.8 – 2.1
162 Guinea-Bissau 1.9 3 1.8 – 2.0
162 Democratic Republic of Congo 1.9 5 1.7 – 2.1
162 Congo Brazzaville 1.9 5 1.6 – 2.1
162 Angola 1.9 5 1.8 – 1.9
158 Tajikistan 2.0 8 1.6 – 2.5
158 Laos 2.0 4 1.6 – 2.6
158 Central African Republic 2.0 4 1.9 – 2.2
158 Cambodia 2.0 8 1.8 – 2.2
154 Yemen 2.1 4 1.6 – 2.5
154 Paraguay 2.1 5 1.7 – 2.5
154 Papua New Guinea 2.1 5 1.7 – 2.5
154 Côte d´Ivoire 2.1 7 1.8 – 2.4
146 Zimbabwe 2.2 7 1.7 – 2.8
146 Ukraine 2.2 8 2.0 – 2.6
146 Timor-Leste 2.2 5 1.8 – 2.6
146 Sierra Leone 2.2 5 1.9 – 2.4
146 Russia 2.2 8 1.9 – 2.4
146 Kenya 2.2 7 1.9 – 2.5
146 Ecuador 2.2 5 2.0 – 2.5
146 Cameroon 2.2 7 1.9 – 2.6
143 Nepal 2.3 6 2.0 – 2.6
143 Comoros 2.3 3 1.6 – 3.3
143 Azerbaijan 2.3 7 2.0 – 2.6
139 Philippines 2.4 9 2.1 – 2.7
139 Pakistan 2.4 7 2.1 – 2.7
139 Belarus 2.4 4 2.0 – 2.8
139 Bangladesh 2.4 7 2.0 – 2.8
130 Uganda 2.5 7 2.1 – 2.8
130 Nigeria 2.5 7 2.2 – 2.7
130 Nicaragua 2.5 6 2.3 – 2.7
130 Mozambique 2.5 7 2.3 – 2.8
130 Mauritania 2.5 7 2.0 – 3.3
130 Maldives 2.5 4 1.8 – 3.2
130 Libya 2.5 6 2.2 – 2.8
130 Lebanon 2.5 3 1.9 – 3.1
130 Honduras 2.5 6 2.2 – 2.8
126 Tanzania 2.6 7 2.4 – 2.9
126 Syria 2.6 5 2.2 – 2.9
126 Guyana 2.6 4 2.5 – 2.7
126 Eritrea 2.6 4 1.6 – 3.8
120 Vietnam 2.7 9 2.4 – 3.1
120 Mongolia 2.7 7 2.4 – 3.0
120 Kazakhstan 2.7 7 2.1 – 3.3
120 Ethiopia 2.7 7 2.4 – 2.9
120 Bolivia 2.7 6 2.4 – 3.1
120 Armenia 2.7 7 2.6 – 2.8
111 Togo 2.8 5 1.9 – 3.9
111 Solomon Islands 2.8 3 2.3 – 3.3
111 Sao Tome and Principe 2.8 3 2.4 – 3.3
111 Mali 2.8 6 2.4 – 3.2
111 Kiribati 2.8 3 2.3 – 3.3
111 Indonesia 2.8 9 2.4 – 3.2
111 Egypt 2.8 6 2.6 – 3.1
111 Djibouti 2.8 4 2.3 – 3.2
111 Algeria 2.8 6 2.5 – 3.1
106 Niger 2.9 5 2.7 – 3.0
106 Gambia 2.9 5 1.6 – 4.0
106 Gabon 2.9 3 2.6 – 3.1
106 Benin 2.9 6 2.3 – 3.4
106 Argentina 2.9 7 2.6 – 3.1
99 Zambia 3.0 7 2.8 – 3.2
99 Tonga 3.0 3 2.6 – 3.3
99 Senegal 3.0 7 2.5 – 3.6
99 Madagascar 3.0 7 2.8 – 3.2
99 Jamaica 3.0 5 2.8 – 3.3
99 Dominican Republic 3.0 5 2.9 – 3.2
99 Bosnia and Herzegovina 3.0 7 2.6 – 3.4
97 Sri Lanka 3.1 7 2.8 – 3.4
97 Liberia 3.1 3 1.9 – 3.8
95 Vanuatu 3.2 3 2.3 – 4.7
95 Albania 3.2 6 3.0 – 3.3
89 Rwanda 3.3 4 2.9 – 3.7
89 Morocco 3.3 6 2.8 – 3.9
89 Moldova 3.3 6 2.7 – 4.0
89 Mexico 3.3 7 3.2 – 3.5
89 Malawi 3.3 7 2.7 – 3.9
89 Lesotho 3.3 6 2.8 – 3.8
84 Thailand 3.4 9 3.0 – 3.8
84 Panama 3.4 5 3.1 – 3.7
84 India 3.4 10 3.2 – 3.6
84 Guatemala 3.4 5 3.0 – 3.9
84 El Salvador 3.4 5 3.0 – 3.8
83 Serbia 3.5 6 3.3 – 3.9
79 Trinidad and Tobago 3.6 4 3.0 – 4.3
79 Swaziland 3.6 3 3.0 – 4.7
79 China 3.6 9 3.0 – 4.2
79 Burkina Faso 3.6 7 2.8 – 4.4
75 Suriname 3.7 3 3.0 – 4.7
75 Peru 3.7 7 3.4 – 4.1
75 Colombia 3.7 7 3.1 – 4.3
75 Brazil 3.7 7 3.3 – 4.3
71 Romania 3.8 8 3.2 – 4.3
71 Greece 3.8 6 3.2 – 4.3
71 FYR Macedonia 3.8 6 3.4 – 4.2
71 Bulgaria 3.8 8 3.2 – 4.5
69 Montenegro 3.9 5 3.5 – 4.4
69 Ghana 3.9 7 3.2 – 4.6
66 Kuwait 4.1 5 3.2 – 5.1
66 Georgia 4.1 7 3.4 – 4.7
66 Croatia 4.1 8 3.7 – 4.5
65 Tunisia 4.2 6 3.0 – 5.5
63 Saudi Arabia 4.3 5 3.1 – 5.3
63 Italy 4.3 6 3.8 – 4.9
61 Turkey 4.4 7 3.9 – 4.9
61 Cuba 4.4 3 3.5 – 5.1
56 Slovakia 4.5 8 4.1 – 4.9
56 Samoa 4.5 3 3.3 – 5.3
56 Namibia 4.5 6 3.9 – 5.1
56 Malaysia 4.5 9 4.0 – 5.1
56 Latvia 4.5 6 4.1 – 4.9
55 South Africa 4.7 8 4.3 – 4.9
54 Seychelles 4.8 3 3.0 – 6.7
52 Lithuania 4.9 8 4.4 – 5.4
52 Czech Republic 4.9 8 4.3 – 5.6
49 Poland 5.0 8 4.5 – 5.5
49 Jordan 5.0 7 3.9 – 6.1
49 Bhutan 5.0 4 4.3 – 5.6
46 Hungary 5.1 8 4.6 – 5.7
46 Cape Verde 5.1 3 3.3 – 7.0
46 Bahrain 5.1 5 4.2 – 5.8
45 Malta 5.2 4 4.0 – 6.2
43 Macau 5.3 3 3.3 – 6.9
43 Costa Rica 5.3 5 4.7 – 5.9
42 Mauritius 5.4 6 5.0 – 5.9
39 Korea (South) 5.5 9 5.3 – 5.7
39 Oman 5.5 5 4.4 – 6.5
39 Brunei Darussalam 5.5 4 4.7 – 6.4
37 Taiwan 5.6 9 5.4 – 5.9
37 Botswana 5.6 6 5.1 – 6.3
35 Puerto Rico 5.8 4 5.2 – 6.3
35 Portugal 5.8 6 5.5 – 6.2
34 Dominica 5.9 3 4.9 – 6.7
32 Spain 6.1 6 5.5 – 6.6
32 Israel 6.1 6 5.4 – 6.7
31 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 6.4 3 4.9 – 7.5
30 United Arab Emirates 6.5 5 5.5 – 7.5
27 Slovenia 6.6 8 6.3 – 6.9
27 Estonia 6.6 8 6.1 – 6.9
27 Cyprus 6.6 4 6.1 – 7.1
25 Uruguay 6.7 5 6.4 – 7.1
25 Chile 6.7 7 6.5 – 6.9
24 France 6.9 6 6.5 – 7.3
22 Saint Lucia 7.0 3 6.7 – 7.5
22 Qatar 7.0 6 5.8 – 8.1
21 Belgium 7.1 6 6.9 – 7.3
20 Barbados 7.4 4 6.6 – 8.2
19 United States 7.5 8 6.9 – 8.0
17 United Kingdom 7.7 6 7.3 – 8.2
17 Japan 7.7 8 7.4 – 8.0
16 Austria 7.9 6 7.4 – 8.3
14 Ireland 8.0 6 7.8 – 8.4
14 Germany 8.0 6 7.7 – 8.3
12 Luxembourg 8.2 6 7.6 – 8.8
12 Hong Kong 8.2 8 7.9 – 8.5
11 Norway 8.6 6 8.2 – 9.1
8 Iceland 8.7 4 7.5 – 9.4
8 Canada 8.7 6 8.5 – 9.0
8 Australia 8.7 8 8.3 – 9.0
6 Netherlands 8.9 6 8.7 – 9.0
6 Finland 8.9 6 8.4 – 9.4
5 Switzerland 9.0 6 8.9 – 9.1
3 Sweden 9.2 6 9.0 – 9.3
3 Singapore 9.2 9 9.0 – 9.4
2 Denmark 9.3 6 9.1 – 9.5
1 New Zealand 9.4 6 9.1 – 9.5

The CPI list was published by Forbes recently.The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) table shows a country’s ranking and score, the number of surveys used to determine the score, and the confidence range of the scoring. The rank shows how one country compares to others included in the index. The CPI score indicates the perceived level of public-sector corruption in a country/territory. The CPI is based on 13 independent surveys. However, not all surveys include all countries. The surveys used column indicates how many surveys were relied upon to determine the score for that country. The confidence range indicates the reliability of the CPI scores and tells us that allowing for a margin of error, we can be 90% confident that the true score for this country lies within this range. –  

India ranks 84 in the list. It sits almost somewhere in the mid way point between the most corrupt and the least corrupt nations. Yes, we can celebrate that we are doing a lot better than Somalia ( ranked 180 ) which is bound to stray into the below zero mark shortly but at the same time we have every reason to lament that countries like Ghana are many rungs above us. Having lived / living in countries ranked at 8 and 12, corruption is a serious reason that deters many NRI’s returning back to India. I recall an incident when I applied for a driver’s license back home. The paan chewing RTO inspector demanded a bribe of five hundred rupees to pass me. It was only after the inspector received a multilingual ( Kannada, hindi, tamil, english) volley of expletives that he reluctantly passed me. In his own words he stated he passed me not because I drove flawlessly but he did so in order to save his face. The RTO incident is one small drop in the Indian ocean of corruption. Bribes are regularly paid in plastic packets at the Sub Registrar’s office to register a property at least 40% less than market value, so has to to save paying a higher amount of stamp duty. The bribe ensures the lower valuation, timely registration and above all accurate registration. There is a good chance that the property may never get registered and even if it does, the Sub Registrar’s wife may have her name on the records instead of yours.

We strive hard to ape the west, we want to build bigger cities, drive faster cars, splurge on hi tech gadgets, eat burgers , drink fizzy colas but not once did we try to imbibe, assimilate,  soak in,  wassail a sense of fair play judging by how many countries from the EU and the Americas are on top of the rankings.Corruption in India has reached such alarming levels that all parties indulging in it have no sense of shame, remorse or angst whatsoever. Like a parasite it has seeped itself into every cell of the rotting establishments. Corruption has steadfastly become a way of life. A walk to the telephone exchange or the electricity board in case of a fault is akin to taking a stroll into Stephen King’s theme parks. Even schools take bribes, they call it ” building fund” and grant admissions to the higher contributors.

Most times we only talk about corruption and seldom think of ways to fight it. Because it has infested this country so much and has seeped into the nerve cells of all establishments. Eradicating it is by no means an ordinary feat, for within political, bureaucratical, corporate and societal establishments, corruption raises it’s ugly head. India’s advancement in technology and it’s implementation in Public sector undertakings has marginaly fought corruption. The RTI Act 2005 has allowed for more transparency and accountability in the working of public authorities. These are all steps in the right direction.

 I recall an interesting article by an ex central vigilant officer Mr N Vittal ( given below )

Unfortunately, our politics has become criminalised. Law-breakers are lawmakers today. The only people the youth probably look upon as role models are politicians and media stars who collectively represent what is called the Page Three culture. So far as professions are concerned, every professional association can uphold ethics and codes of conduct, and thereby build role models and benchmarks for guiding society.

The third important factor is the system. In any society, from the ethics point of view, 10 per cent may, by nature, be ethical and 10 per cent will, by nature, be corrupt, and 80 per cent will modify their behaviour depending on the system. One simple example of this is how, while an Indian may throw rubbish on the streets without batting an eyelid, the same Indian, when he reaches Singapore, is on guard and may not commit nuisance or throw rubbish on the streets.

We must redesign our system of governance to check corruption. Corruption today is a game in which five major players are involved. They are the corrupt neta, the babu, lala, jhola and dada—the corrupt politicians, the corrupt bureaucrats, the corrupt businessmen, the corrupt NGOs and criminals. For tackling each of them, I would suggest the following:

Political corruption is at the root of all corruption in our country. Our politics is corrupt because it is based on black money. Every political party collects cash, which is black money. Black money is oxygen for corruption and corruption is oxygen for black money. Therefore, we must focus on electoral reform and reducing black money.

Simultaneously, we must also bring greater transparency in the raising of funds by the political parties. Some steps have been taken for removing restrictions on political contributions. We should try to create a situation similar to that of the United States or Britain in so far as fund-raising is concerned. This would provide an opportunity to reduce corruption.

Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, a very committed IAS officer who resigned and set up an NGO, Lok Satta, in Andhra Pradesh, has highlighted the need for changing our electoral system itself. Instead of the British system of first past the post, which only nine out of 47 countries have adopted, we should opt for a system of proportional representation. He also suggests direct elections for the post of chief minister, who can then appoint a cabinet of talent. It is an interesting idea and worth trying. To begin with, it is necessary to build a consensus in the country on this idea.

A simple reform that can be implemented immediately to check corruption and criminalisation of politics is to disqualify any candidate against whom charges have been framed in court. The police may be pliable but the courts apply their mind and frame charges, and hence, they are likely to be more objective.

Today, the criminal politicians take advantage of the principle that they are innocent till proved guilty and also the delays in our judicial system. Corruption has become a low- risk, high-profit business in India because our judiciary is so slow and the conviction rate is only six per cent.

There is need to change the judicial system in so far as corruption cases are concerned, so that like election cases, corruption cases, too, are required to be decided within one year. For this, the system of summary trial procedure can be introduced and the appeal limited to one court. Today, at any given point of time, around 4,000 CBI cases are pending. CBI cases, by their very nature, are supposed to be very serious and yet some of them are pending for more than 25 years. The speeding up of the cases and effective punishment will go a long way in improving the situation.

Winning formula

So far as bureaucratic corruption is concerned, the following three-point formula must be adopted.

—Simplification of rules and procedures to reduce the scope of corruption;

—Transparency and empowering of public, and

—Effective punishment.

There is an urgent need to bring a sense of accountability in bureaucracy. Article 311 provides so much protection to the public servant that it is very difficult to take action effectively and in time against corrupt officials.

Fighting corruption is a hard task. There cannot be a single-point approach to the task. We have to adopt a multi-point approach, some of which I have indicated above.

We then come to the basic question. The powers that be, whether in politics or bureaucracy or business, are benefiting from the corrupt system. Can there be a situation where these beneficiaries of corruption will initiate action to check corruption? That may amount to causing hara-kiri. My perception is that as far as our politicians are concerned, they act only under two circumstances: One, where the TINA (There is no alternative) factor prevails; and two, where there is a vote bank advantage. The TINA factor can be created in our country by broadly two methods. One is by using the route of the public interest litigation and activating the Supreme Court so that the persons concerned have no alternative but to implement it. The enactment of the CVC Act and the practice of the candidates declaring their criminal record while filing nominations are examples of this type.

However, there are also limits to judicial intervention. The second instrument that can create the TINA factor is technology, particularly information technology. We have seen how in the railway reservation system, the use of IT has brought down corruption. I understand that even in the issue of passport, computerisation has helped in bringing down corruption. So greater use of IT and reforming and simplifying the procedures can be the second broad strategy to help create the TINA factor.

 

While at the middle of this post, I recall writing a bit more on the same topic from a cinematic sense –https://sharmilasays.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/rajnee-thi/ 

 

 

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96 Responses to “For the corrupt, by the corrupt….”

  1. Sharmila,

    Thank you. If you dont mind I will speak on a way forward on the subject… if you think it is a way forward.. it might actually sound the other way round…

    The corruption is not in the economics, it is in the moral bankruptcy of the rulers…

    If you notice, except India and the US, in the first 84 of your list, none are real democracies… India needs an economic framework that is grounded in its reality… not dictated by G7… study the workings of the unaccounted cash economy… it is not even touched by the worldwide recession… you can still buy land, food, American and Chinese weapons, assassins, hit-men, sharp shooters, suicide bombers et al…

    In the late seventies and eighties the ratio of unaccounted cash to accountable money was 40:60. These days it is 90:10.

    That 10% comes from TDS – Tax Deductible at Source. This amount comes to about US$ 4.5 billion which is distributed to various ministries for executing infrstructure projects and public services.

    I have found my own way out of this mess. I have never paid any direct taxes in the last 47 years because I never earned enough money in India to fall into the tax bracket. I have never invested in tax free financial instruments like insurance policies, pension schemes, Provident fund etc. I do not invest in stocks. I do not support any government enterprise directly – they get whatever they do by taxing the 10% that is visible on paper.

    To beat me at my game, the government prints money in the mint at Nasik. And for every 100 Rupees they print, 90 goes into unaccounted cash and they get back 6.5 from the rest of 10 through direct and indirect taxes… we are a welfare state, na?

    For the 10% that circulates as accountable money, there is 20% or more of counterfiet currency in the market – which sort of squares it up more than twice…

    The government is supposed to protect my economic rights.. if someone walks into my house or forcefully dispossesses me of my property, the government is supposed to do justice… I will be a fool if I believed that.. the Indian judiciary says “a person is innocent till proved guilty”… I will never have the time and resources to prove my case in the government’s accounted economy…

    I pay cash to a mason or a carpenter or an electrician or a muscleman… its a fair exchange… the mason doesn’t ask me if I have paid my taxes… and I don’t ask him if he has paid for the salary of the local policeman… we don’t need them you see…

    The government actually runs a parallel economy. The government has planning commissions, finance ministries and treasuries same as there are planners, book keepers and treasuries in the cash economy.

    The only difference is in the deliverables. The government’s economy allows the tax payer a 5 million rupees apartment on the 15th floor in the air with permanent dependence on government supplied water, electricity and communications, and the cash economy gives real earthly land with farms and animals, natural water and no need for communications or TV Channels…

    99% of India survives on the cash economy in Indian Rupees… the Army, Airforce, Navy and Policemen are required by the top 1% who deal in US Dollars, Euro and Yen… these are the rulers, industrialists and celebs…

    Says my favorite poet, Sahir Ludhianvi:

    Taaj tere liye ik mazhar-e-ulfat hi sahii
    Tujh ko is vaadii-e-rangin se aqeedat hi sahii

    Mere mehboob kahi aur milaa kar mujh se!

    … … … The Taj Mahal may be a symbol of devotion for you
    … … … You may even rever this colorful backdrop

    … … … But, Love, meet me somewhere else!

    Bazm-e-shaahi mein gharibon ka guzar kya ma’ani
    Sabt jis raah pe ho satwat-e-shaahii ke nishaan
    Uss pe ulfat bharii ruuhon ka safar kyaa ma’ani

    … … … Why believe in sustenance of the poor in royal courtyards?
    … … … The etched walls on which are advertised the love of royals
    … … … Why believe that the love of devoted souls reside in them?

    Mere mehboob pas-e-pardaa-e-tash_heer-e-vafaa
    Tu ne satwat ke nishaanon ko to dekhaa hotaa
    Murdaa shaahon ke maqaabir se behalne vaalii
    Apne taareek makaanon ko to dekhaa hotaa

    … … … Love, beyond this veiled advertisement of love
    … … … Couldn’t you see those signs of royal grandeur?
    … … … You, who are impressed by the tombs of royalty
    … … … You might have looked at your dark home, first

    Mere mehboob! unhe bhi to muhabbat hogii
    Jinaki sannaai ne bakhshii hai ise shakl-e-jameel
    Un ke pyaaro ke maqaabir rahe benaam-o-namuud
    Aaj tak un pe jalaai na kisi ne qandeel

    … … … Love, those too would have been in love
    … … … Whose artistry has given beauty to this edifice
    … … … Their loved one’s are buried without name or trace
    … … … No one has ever lighted a candle on these tombs

    Ye chamanzaar ye jamuna ka kinaara ye mahal
    Ye munaqqash dar-o-deevaar, ye mehraab ye taaq
    Ik shahanshaah ne daulat ka sahaaraa le kar
    Hum gharibon ki muhabbat ka udaayaa hai mazaaq

    … … … This garden, the Yamuna river, the bank and Mahal
    … … … These picturesque carved walls and the Taaj
    … … … An emperor has used all his wealth
    … … … To mock at the love of the poor and deprived

    Mere mehboob kahin aur mila kar mujh se!

    … … … Love, meet me somewhere else!

    Sahir Ludhianvi

    (Translit mine)

    The corruption is not in the economics, it is in the moral bankruptcy of the rulers…

    Let us start all over again..

    • Can you give us a reference to prove your 90:10 ratio ?

    • Ninad,

      Yes I can.

      Here is an example.

      Say, we use the RTI (Right to Information Act) and get a copy of the Development Plan from the Town Planner in the Collector’s office.

      Locate an area between the hills or borders and the town/city that is not designated as Agricultural.

      Now all that we have to do is buy a piece of land and get permission to build a cottage or a small farm house. Cool.

      Now, there are two scenarios:

      1. The land is already non-agricultural but not marked as residential or industrial.

      2. The land is not marked non-agricultural but the tehsil has not recorded any crops for the last 5 years.

      In case 1, the official processing cost of the papers is about Rs 25,000/- but the certificate of Non-Agricultural (NA) and the Minister of Urban Development’s clearance will cost Rs 25,00,000/- or more.

      In case 2, the official process will cost about Rs 50,000/- and the greasing will cost Rs 50,00,000/- or more.

      If you are planning a petrol filling station or a night club with a permit for selling alcohol it will cost about Rs 1 crore and above in unaccunted cash and a mere Rs 100,000 for the official permits.

      Work out the percentages at any stage its 90:10. And if you ask those who pay that money, they will say its worth it, meets their business plan targets. Some of them even believe that it is not them but the government that runs a parallel economy, after all there share is 90%…

      🙂

      BTW: I like your name Ninad.. in the scriptures it is the name of the sound when Brahma says Aum… in scientific lingo it is the sound in space where sound does not travel or echo…

      • I dont buy this example. Why would one want to set up a night club in a place like this in the first place?

      • Sharmila,

        I don’t buy it either, I don’t like night clubs. I suppose they are there because these spots are safe getaways for the rich man’s spoilt brats because their farm houses have watchmen who report to their dads. It can earn anywhere between 1 lakh per day to 5 lakhs on a weekend. In cash, tax free.

        🙂

      • I am surprised one gets a license to open clubs in remote areas. I would call it a farm house instead!:)

      • Call it whatever, but don’t tell the Ram Sena… 🙂

    • Hope you are not searching for documentary evidence of such dealings. Even V. P. Singh did not have them when he charged Rajiv Gandhi for kickbacks of Rs 62 Lakhs in the Bofors’ 155mm Howitzer deal…

      🙂

    • Thank for the translation of the lyrics, most profound.

  2. MonaLisa Says:

    It sounds like a result of faulty systems. However it is run by the ppl,for the ppl,,,,,,,how and when did that suddenly or may be gradually start rotting ppls minds, creeping so fast Top to Bottom such a way that it became The Way of Living….Amazing and Disgusting its own-way…!
    So sad…! entire world is marching down…the way to Cuckoo Land…!

  3. MonaLisa Says:

    🙂
    Look up into your Dictionary Reader…perhaps you find it there. couldn’t find in mine…some pages are torn and ripped off of my Dictionary….

    • Take my example. I don’t use a dictionary.. I use the Oxford book of Etymology… so we don’t have to tear the pages… in etymology even ‘insensible’ makes sense…

      🙂

  4. Sharmila,

    Comparing Forbes perception (CPI) to Mr Vittal’s perception.

    India has a score of 3.4 in a confidence range of 0.4, that gives a narrow uncertainty of just 11%… a pretty strong call for just 10 samples for 1.2 billion people.

    (Compare it to Oman (at 39), a score of 5.5 in a range width of 2.1, which gives an uncertainty of 38% for a tiny population of 2.4 millions.)

    I think Mr. Vittal is more accurate in saying that 10% are ethical that is non-corrupt and 10% are stiff genetic rogues and 80% bend like beckham.

    A score of 3.4 for India can also mean, 96.6% people perceive high to very high corruption. (Only perceive, not necessarily participate)

    Mr. Vittal’s observation about participation is that 10% are not corrupt, 10% lead and the rest 80% do waka waka.

    So that means a maximum possible actual corruption rate of 90%. On a scale of 10 that would be 0.64 better than Forbes index. We are somewhere near about 4.04 which is somewhere in the top 50.

    BTW, that 90% coming from Mr. Vittal’s statement also agrees with the 90-10 Cash to Cheque ratio in big deals these days.

    All this, provided Corruption is defined as an unaccounted transaction for which the government has not claimed a tax.

    • Disclaimer: I do not restrict corruption to a statistic. For me its a mindset. It begins at home among parents and siblings.

    • Reader – Accountable to nonacccountable cash is not exactly verifiable. Yes, we can look at what is stashed in overseas accounts and make a rough estimate and that too if more or less accurate figures come our way. India is one counrty where black money hides in bank lockers and in wells, so getting an estomate is quite difficult. A small step to fight black money is to insist a proper bill / receipt and pay the sales tax. I however agree that 80% of this country does the waka waka and this 80% needs to make the change.

  5. MonaLisa Says:

    🙂

    Corruption,charity & every other big or small things begin at home/family….
    Its not just mind set. Depends on how gullible and vulnerable one is to the social environment and easily succumb to it…high flexibility..in other words..!

    • Ayn Rand has a word for that. She calls them ‘bromides’..

      Here are a few examples:

      1. Life is unfair. (What is unfair ma?)

      2. Dont ask questions, just do what is told (Why ma?)

      3. Look at that smart kid.. (What is smart ma?)

      4. You should sacrifice for the neighbor’s kid (What is sacrifice ma?)

      5. We are poor (What is poor ma?)

      And so on… I could add a thousand metaphysical examples…

      🙂

    • MonaLisa – I agree, the foundation is the home. If children are imbibed with the right values, they will not be in the 80% waka waka category as Reader terms it.

  6. Aishwarya Says:

    Sharmila,

    I wonder why war-devastated countries like Afghanistan and Iraq are amongst the most corrupt…is it because the people feel their government is no longer reliable, which consequently reflects on the survey results? Does the meaning of corruption differ from person to person and nation to nation? Is this index foolproof? Would it be possible to predict if countries are becoming less or more corrupt with time by observing the trend of the CPI over the years? Am I asking too many questions?

    🙂

    Aish.

    • Aish – as always you ask the right questions. No index in this world is foolproof not even the sensex. Corruption most certainly differs from country to counrty, paying a bribe to the sub registrar to get your property registered ia acceptable. Many do it without batting an eyelid. If one of the respondents said that it is ok to pay bribes to the sub registrar, the CPI may have jumped another 50 basis points.

  7. Anand Khare Says:

    This one is by dr. A. P. J. Abdoul Kalam-

    What does a system consist of? Very conveniently for us it consists of our neighbours, other households, other cities, other communities and the government. But definitely not me and YOU. When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr.Clean to come along & work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away.
    Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. When New York becomes insecure we run to England . When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money.

    • Anand – APJ is a nobel man and great words from him. Yes, we take refuge in other countries, me included. I am ashamed of the corruption in India and acts as a major deterrent for me getting back. But I have no choice, I have to face the system one day and beat it too. If I did not fight with the RTO chap, I would have to pay the bribe. If it means raising my voice when I am in India, I am most certainly prepared to do so. The louder the voices, the better.

  8. APJA Kalam’s quote is worth a pause and a thought.

    There is no country in the world where there are no Indians, including Serbia, Ghana or Somalia. Its a pity all of them are called NRI. Those who wait for Air India to rescue them in a war are not NRI – they are simply workers. I don’t see any difference between standing in an Oilfield in Kuwait being bombed by Iraq and flying Air India.

    Real NRI are the Indian businessmen who run restaurants, shopping malls and those eminent scholars who hold powerful positions in multinationals in the G7 countries. And they don’t fly Air India or run from country to country when there is a war. They are either the cause of the war or making more money than before during the war. They do not return to India searching for employment. They study the Indian governance, constitution, administration, ground realities and unleash the demons of imperial bootlegging.

    Besides, another truth is that NRI are not accepted as Indians unless they are bankrupt. They are treated like any other tourist.

    The evil of this sort-of pragmatism is often realised a bit too late by the conmen.

    Quote:

    The Pragmatists declare that philosophy must be practical and that practicality consists of dispensing with all absolute principles and standards — that there is no such thing as objective reality or permanent truth — that truth is that which works, and its validity can be judged only by its consequences — that no facts can be known with certainty in advance, and anything may be tried by rule-of-thumb — that reality is not firm, but fluid and “indeterminate,” that there is no such thing as a distinction between an external world and a consciousness (between the perceived and the perceiver), there is only an undifferentiated package-deal labeled “experience,” and whatever one wishes to be true, is true, whatever one wishes to exist, does exist, provided it works or makes one feel better.

    A [later] school of more Kantian Pragmatists amended this philosophy as follows: If there is no such thing as an objective reality, men’s metaphysical choice is whether the selfish, dictatorial whims of an individual or the democratic whims of a collective are to shape that plastic goo which the ignorant call “reality,” therefore this school decided that objectivity consists of collective subjectivism—that knowledge is to be gained by means of public polls among special elites of “competent investigators” who can “predict and control” reality — that whatever people wish to be true, is true, whatever people wish to exist, does exist, and anyone who holds any firm convictions of his own is an arbitrary, mystic dogmatist, since reality is indeterminate and people determine its actual nature.

    Unquote

    Ayn Rand in ‘For the New Intellectual

    Another Quote

    To give you an example:

    If a building were threatened with collapse and you declared that the crumbling foundation has to be rebuilt, a pragmatist would answer that your solution is too abstract, extreme, unprovable, and that immediate priority must be given to the need of putting ornaments on the balcony railings, because it would make the tenants feel better.

    Unquote

    Ayn Rand in ‘How to Read (and Not to write)’: I, 26, 5

    • A great exmple here, most time we spend worrying about fringe things and never about the core ( foundation) issue. In the case of corruption we as a nation were proud with the austerity drive that Sonia had initiated.

      • Sharmila,

        There is a greek word called ‘Hysterisis’ which rightly describes the state of moral and economic corruption in India.

        Etymologically it simply means ‘deficient’ or ‘lagging behind’. Lagging as not in time but content. In hysterisis, action and reaction are not equal and instantaneous. The expected result occurs after a certain lag like an elastic stretch. A good example of this is the slow impact of the recession in India as compared to the immediate melt-down in Greece.

        Each subsystem or domain in the Indian social structure – if we can call it one – is metastable in its own way – like atomic domains in an artificial magnet.

        Corruption is embedded so deep that now it is probably pointless discussing a return to any one type of morality. And its too early for a new one till the old ones have completely collapsed.

        These are civil strifes.

        The history of the rise and fall of corruption in India will not be written by winners because their will not be any winners alive to tell the story.

        This history will be written by those who did not participate in it in any way.

  9. MonaLisa Says:

    Reader,
    The above example is so accurate for almost all the countries/Gov in today’s world. US Gov. has adapted that hobnobbing right now but Indian Gov. is following a different path/policy it seems. They don’t even believe in decorating the Balcony….
    They believe in shifting ppls minds to a bigger or newer problem and hide the skeletons of the previous one….A kind of white wash job…!
    Both lead to the same destination though…! Who cares if the entire building crumbles down…!

    • Political pragmatism (also called ‘expediency’ by bureaucrats) is an evil. My own approach in dealing with the administration is to skip the part where the government officer tries to tell me how to be pragmatic.

      • Reader,

        You paint a very bleak picture of your country.

      • Renate

        I always comment on my nation’s shortcomings because I love my country so… there are a thousand good qualities but that is for showing the foreigners… does that sound strange?

      • Oh ok…

        MonaLisa, Renate,

        I think you were asking for Top10 of these thousand good qualities… duh duh reader… I missed the string… blame it on the new template… I need to adjust to it..

        Okay here are Top 10+ good qualities:

        1. We are a nation of believers. We trust that goodness and truth prevail.

        2. We are the world’s largest force of educated middle-income group of thinkers and practitioners.

        3. Majority of the poor believe in a closed family and bringing up children in a traditional manner.

        4. No one depends on unemployment benefits or social welfare from the government.

        5. People in the villages trade on trust. No one believes that a legally signed document protects either party from deception and fraud.

        6. People still thank God for rains and similar opportunities for survival.

        7. Marriages are still taking place between men and women. Not men and men or women and women.

        8. More than 90% of the population has not read the Constitution of the country. So there is still hope.

        9. Lawyers, policemen, local village elders do not believe in courts and the justice system. They resolve issues within the community. So there is no intervention of sponsored NGO like Amnesty International or UN Human Rights Commission.

        10. Barter system still exists in many places. Small farmers, who are bulk of the village of dwellers, do not contribute to the value of the currency or exports.

        11. (Bonus) 90% of the people have not read the Communist Manifesto or the Constitution of the United States. So, they don’t what is Economic Socialism or Lassez Faire capitalism

      • Correction in 11. They don’t know…

        BTW, I love my country, not because of any of this. But because of the 5000 years of history and its absolute strengths of innate values. Thats a very big subject.

  10. Sharmila,

    Change of theme? This one – Black Letterhead – is better than the previous one. Loads quicker.

    I like the one I am using on my page but unfortunately that one is only good without the comments section, else it gets very clumsy.

  11. Thanks Reader, good you like this, many complained of me blinding them with the previous theme.

    • Sharmila,

      I was not blinded by the previous theme, but you always stagger me with your wide range of subjects…

      I don’t know what to expect in the next post… a travelogue or a movie review or aesthetics or politics or perhaps a PETA campaign to swap the places of humans and animals in a zoo…

      Kidding… I enjoy any subject as you might have noticed…

      I don’t expect the world to stop because of a comment on a blog… but at least I can say what I feel about it…

      Thank you

      • Reader – Ha! Ha..thanks, pleasure to have you here and likewise never can predict what replies you can come up with! 😉

  12. Reader,

    No. It shows that you care.

    The problem of corruption sounds rather overwhelming. How do NRIs adjust? Are they really strangers in their own country, as you said above?

    I have been living away from Germany for a quarter century now. I may not know how to buy a subway ticket or phone card any more, but once I get out of the plane, I am home.

    • Renate,

      Corruption is not unique to one nation, you will agree. The form and depth of its occurrence change according to territory and form of governance.

      In India, people are tolerant of those who are power corrupt. That is if I were to claim a vision and a mission, I will be allowed to seek governing powers.

      But economic corruption is such a complex model. Mysticism has reached a point where many are like the poet I created yesterday. They will give a 10 dollar note in exchange of a 5 and sing praises of the lord. Real value of assets is not visible because of the predominance of unaccounted cash.

      • Reader,

        How do such entrenched habits change, if at all?

        By enforcement from above? Not likely.

        Or concerted action by the People? Dream on.

        A cataclysm as only chance?

      • Renate,

        Being a citizen and an affected person, I cannnot write-it off lightly as a ‘habit’…

        A moral value is not a habit. Wheeler-dealers, brokers-middlemen becoming ministers and lawmakers is a cause for serious concern.

        Fundamental values of social community living have undergone paradigm changes. The rule of law is too inconsequential to what I am saying. The law making process itself is hijacked and subjugated by anti-nationals…

        The nation is divided into small narrow beliefs, and the lawlessnes is not unlike gun-toting mafia backstreets of New York City.

        A country may have defense against foreign invasion, but one cannot nuke its own population.

        I would hate to be a doomsday sayer, but civil-war conditions have existed for quite some time in India.

        One man’s fanaticism has become another man’s opportunity.

  13. MonaLisa Says:

    Sharmila,
    The change looks like the adaptation of ‘Satyam shot’….format.
    Wish you could do something better & diff…

    • MonaLisa – Thanks for feedback.There are only two layouts on wordpress that have the black background which I like. The previous one that I used the font was small, this one, the font is better. Besides Satyam and I, there are another 200,000 users who use the same layout. Either way I will be copying somebody but will look out for something better if it comes my way.

  14. MonaLisa Says:

    Reader,
    I would love to know those thousand ‘Good Qualities’ ,
    Top 10 or 25 will serve the purpose…. 🙂

    • MonaLisa,

      I could not find a soft version of what I am quoting below. So I am typing it out with my toes… sorry for spelling mistakes, if any. I can’t say this better than Ayn Rand has already said:

      The scene is where one of the heroes, Rearden, is carrying the dead body of a young boy who is shot by a thug in an organised crime.

      “…Rearden went on slowly, not altering his pace, even though he knew that no caution was necessary any longer because what he was carrying in his arms was now that which had been the boy’s teachers’ idea of a man – a collection of chemicals.

      ‘He walked, as if this were his form of last tribute and funeral procession for the young life that had ended in his arms. He felt an anger too intense to identify except as a pressure within him: it was a desire to kill.

      ‘The desire was not directed at the unknown thug who had sent a bullet through the boy’s body, or at the looting bureaucrat who hired the thug to do it, but at the boy’s teachers who had delivered him, disarmed, to the thugs gun – at the soft, safe assassins of college classrooms who, incompetent to answer the queries of a quest for reason, took pleasure in crippling the young minds entrusted to their care.

      ‘…he thought of all the living species that train their young in the art of survival, the cats who teach their kittens to hunt, the birds who spend such strident effort on teaching their fledglings to fly – yet man, whose tool of survival is the mind, does not merely fail to teach the child to think, but devotes the child’s education to the purpose of destroying his brain, of convincing him that thought is futile and evil, before he has started to think.

      ‘From the first catch-phrases flung at a child to the last, it is like a series of shocks to freeze his motor, to undercut the power of his consciousness.

      “Don’t ask so many questions, children should be seen and not heard!” –

      “Who are you to think? It’s so because I say so!” –

      “Don’t argue, obey!” –

      “Don’t try to understand, believe!” –

      “Don’t rebel, adjust!” –

      “Don’t stand out, belong!” –

      “Don’t struggle, compromise!” –

      “Your heart is more important than your mind!” –

      “Who are you to know? Your parents know best!” –

      “Who are you to know? Society knows best!”

      “Who are you to know? The bureaucrats know best!” –

      “Who are you to object? All values are relative!” –

      “Who are you to want to escape a thug’s bullet? Thats only a personal prejudice!” –

      ‘…armed with nothing but meaningless phrases this boy had been thrown to fight for existence, he had hobbled and groped through a brief, doomed effort, he had screamed his indignant, bewildered protests – and had perished in his first attempt to soar on his mangled wings.

      Ayn Rand – in Atlas Shrugged.

      MonaLisa,

      That’s more than top 10… it’s the whole package… 🙂

      • MonaLisa Says:

        Bravo…! That’s what I expected Reader….!
        I am totally speechless….! Indeed an entire package….it is…! But this is just one package…what about other nine…!?
        What are those packages which creates ‘peck of sleazy politicians’…? What about that bundle of bureaucrats who are looming onto tax monies and ever ready for some scandals. And many more, other breeds.
        If you remember, a higher official named ‘Ravi’ from secretariat was found to be involved/responsible in the scam of ‘ The Bulletproof vests’. Which school did he study those lessons to mortgage his conscience for some million $$ or Rupees…!?
        How could he be able to sleep at night when so many police officers or whosoever else died due to that fake, faulty vests..!?

      • The people don’t need a philosopher or media or a professional advisor to tell them what to do.

        The answer is simple. The poor should not join the army and the police force. Let the rich and powerful send their children to do their protection. The poor and landless are never the targets of invaders.

        The poor don’t need the police. The rich do.

      • And it is happening already. The armed forces have started advertising for recruitment through the media and some families have one in the underworld and the other in the police force. The rest keep away from both.

    • MonaLisa,

      I second that. I would love to see beyond the Doomsday.

      Reader, here’s one foreigner to be shown.. 🙂

      • Ops, I was too slow. Or Reader too fast.

        This comment should have been above

      • I have athletic toes… I ran marathon’s with Suresh Kalmadi..

        We had a 28 Km run… every Km was 100 meters long… eerrmmm… apparently someone didn’t know how to measure distance… but we beat the heat, eh?!… 🙂

      • MonaLisa Says:

        Renate,
        Thanks….!

    • MonaLisa,

      Not thousand good qualities… I was talking of the metaphysical ‘bromides’ that disable a person… and in effect a family, a community, a society and a nation…

  15. MonaLisa,

    Not a thousand ‘good’ qualities. I was talking about metaphysical bromides that a disable a person, and in effect a family, a community, a society or a nation..

  16. MonaLisa Says:

    Reader,
    Do you want to reverse back such a way where and when Religious Leaders,Pundits, Brahmins were the actual ruler of the society…!?
    Do you think ppl are that civilized enough to settle their issues , if any on their own and straight forward not to fight for silly things in name of (false) honor,tradition, caste and creed etc…amongst each other..!? i believe such things prevail more in remote areas and villages.
    Army & Police of Rich ppl is a wonderful idea….hahaha….Then there will be no Army and no police anywhere in the world…. 🙂
    Awesome….!
    Let entire world be “One Nation’… 🙂 No corruption,no fight,no overpowering……Just Barter System….
    Hmmm……but…the problem arises when ‘A System’ is introduced…. 🙂

    • MonaLisa,

      Religious heads, brahmins, warriors were functional leaders.. they did what they did for thousands of years… from teaching people to get married, to forming societies and living in communities…

      And that worked till it worked… that structure collapsed slowly after the gold standard was replaced by printed currency by Emperor Mohammed Tughlak.. it was replaced by whimsical traders and merchants..

      Today when I see a dysfunctional government, I feel my parents were happier than I am and my grand-parents were happier than my parents were.

      In a society like today when a single individual is happier and more comfortable without a family, a family is happier without a community, a community is happier without a society, and a society is happier without a national identity…. then something was definitely better in the past than it is today… the pyramid is standing on its head! I don’t if the people in the past were more civilised or we are… but they were surely happier without this sort of governance…

      Science and technology has always changed culture and I lbelieve it will continue to do so. No two ways about that.

  17. Reader – way up there,

    Noteworthy points, all 11 of them. Some make me feel more confident about my upcoming visit to India and some, honestly, a little more scared.

    Trust is high up in your list, as are close families, small communities and barter. These are:

    1. Not only Indian, but international values. You have retained them from times immemorial and some of us are just in the process of rediscovering them.

    2. Possible and desirable not only as alternative to a sane and working government, but also in the context of one.

    Let’s all go with MonaLisa, “One Nation”, no “System”…hang on…Reality Check….I’m sure you will bring me back on the carpet….:)

    • Following in your footsteps, Reader and also leaving a correction:

      …not only as an alternative to a government, but also in the context of a sane and working one.

      • Renate,

        Industrialial revolution did not occur in India… it was thrust upon her…

        I would seriously suggest that you plan your visit to India such that you keep away from hazardous industries in and near about cities like Calcutta, Old Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore – the pollution and industrial radiations are at alarming levels.

        There are counsellors / attaches in the Indian Embassy in every country. You can double check your tour plans with them and also with your friends who live in towns near these places.

        Better safe than sorry.

      • And some sections of the society are still run by the Indian equivalent of the Illuminati… Americans and Europeans are their favorite targets…

        🙂

  18. MonaLisa, Renate

    Please note that I do not support whimsical rulers. Neither from the past nor in the present.

    I believe, at that level of accountability and responsibility, policy making and ruling is an objective mission and not a subjective luxury.

    And if those objectives give rise to whimsical corruption and nepotism, and the source of that is printed currency, then we are better off without the currency.

    Cultures and history are always in the making. The people in the past had their opportunities and did whatever they thought was right.

    We have our opportunity. Let us do what we think is the best.

    Thats all the point I am trying to make -not turning the clock back to the stone age.

    Man, MonaLisa makes me look like a loser!

  19. Reader,

    Industrial pollution as main hazard for a visit? I do appreciate your care for my well-being as a tourist, but what of the people who live there?

    What about the food they eat and which – great heavens – is also available in the many Indian grocery stores in Silicon Valley?

    What will the Attache tell me? Don’t breathe, don’t eat?

    • Renate,

      The attache will probably tell you that what happened to Daniel Pearl in Karachi is equally possible in most parts of India. So keep away from strangers and don’t get mystified by anythiing…

  20. Reader,

    Are you trying to keep me out? Not working. I am not the easily deterred kind.

    I shall rely on my friends who know their way around.

    • I am glad you are not scared of losing your freedom for a few days.

      I can imagine a situation like this:

      You are sitting on a bench at a roadside open restaurant on the highway (called ‘Dhaba’) sipping a cup of fresh organic/ green tea and a small 5 feet indian with a goatee walks up to your table.

      The goatee: Hi, my name is Thingumalai Ellappa Ramaswami Raman odeyapalli Raju

      Renate: What?

      Goatee: My name is Thingumalai Ellappa..

      Renate: Don’t you have a shorter version?

      Goatee: Yes Thingumallai is T, Ellappa is E, Ramaswamy is R, Raman is R, odeyapalli is O and raju is R so you can call me terror

      Renate: Terror..? no, I will call you Raju..

      Goatee: Okay Ma’am. Would you like to buy some original souvenirs to take home. I have the wedding rings of Emperor Akbar, the hair of Brahma’s beard and Mahatma Gandhi’s broken tooth…

      Renate: How much for all of them?

      Goatee: Only 5 dollars each Ma’am. But it is in my house. I cannot bring it here. Would you come with me in my car?

      Renate: Okay.

      Shortly after that, Renate is on TV with a square piece of paper held in her hands saying ‘Help!’

      🙂

  21. Reader,

    How well you know me! Little Miss Naîve in the big new country! I promise I shall call you for advice any time I talk to a stranger. Deal?

  22. Good to know! Standby with the emergency van. Or better yet, send Amitabh, the tongawalla.

  23. The tongawala is usually in London, Singapore or Paris. He is more NR than an NRI. But you can try.

    🙂

    • And a fat chance I would have! Sadly the tongawala from ‘Mard’ is in the fictitious past.

      Who does save Damsels in Distess? Nobody? It’s their own fault for venturing away from the safety of their prescribed circles?

  24. Sharmila,

    I like the new look of your blog! I am following you on Twitter too 🙂

    I am not at all surprised at India being ranked 84 in the CPI list published by Forbes. No, I am not looking down upon the nations with higher levels of corruption, but I admit I envy and am in complete awe of the nations with minimum levels of the menace of corruption. In India corruption is deeply embedded within the innards of its people and the system itself. The only way to deracinate it is by ensuring heavy penalties on those found guilty of the crime.

    I am closely associated with two professions which were termed “noble” not long ago. I strictly follow the ethics of my profession but do nothing to stop others who are not doing so. I do not report the corrupt practices of colleagues that I know of, to the concerned authorities and prefer to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to it. The bribes that we end up paying have a new terminology and are today aptly known as “facilitation fees” Those who pay and accept bribes do so unabashedly without any qualms about it. It is a hopeless situation and fighting the system at every step is not easy for the common man. Govt officials, politicians or the Babus, all want to make hay while the sun shines. Sad but true.

    Have all of us given up and accepted this dismal situation? I think corruption has become an integral part of our system and the only way to clean the whole thing up is to penalize the offenders severely.

    • Thanks Shubha, glad the new layout works for you. Yes, caught you on Twitter. It is a pity that the profession you are in too is not spared. It sounds as if corruption has been legalized by this facilitation fees. Is this a fair comment? Yes, corruption is so imbibed that majority have accepted it to be a way of life. But, I think we should act as whistle blowers. What would happen if you complained? Would there be any action taken or would there be indifference?

  25. Sharmila,

    I just saw that Maradona photo.

    Magic! Many Thanks! 🙂

  26. MonaLisa Says:

    Sharmila,
    Glad you put more pics. on side slide show. Seems your current love superseded your childhood love… 🙂
    Isn’t first in Life always remains First…!? Maradona deserves that place in that stack i think..

  27. Awww..I agree MonaLisa. He is my first love and you know what, albeit the pictures on the side are not in order whatsoever, you are making me feel guilty. I have no choice but to do the needfull.

  28. Aishwarya Says:

    Sharmila,

    Although I am not convinced about the authenticity of this index, I believe at 84, India is good. For a country with a population of over 1.1 billion, we are doing fine.

    Our biggest problem is overpopulation. The next is illiteracy. From this stems other problems – congestion, poor hygiene, diseases, and added to it, we have poor goverance, poor infrastructure, moral, economic, and power corruption – with survival of the most corrupt! Considering our tropical climate and overcrowding, our main needs are potable water supply to every place, a good drainage system, and proper disposal of waste. Comparing us to other countries is like comparing a family with 10 children living in a hut to a family in a mansion with just 1 kid! The former is likely to have dirt, filth, poor hygiene, insufficient food, untidy clothes, inadequate income and so on. Together with this, we have our old beliefs and superstitions; many still welcome boy babies into this world while girls are considered a burden. The boys are educated and find jobs while the girls stay at home and learn house work!

    Farmers rely on rains and sunlight for their crops. Thanks to urbanization and global warming, the unpredictable weather plays havoc with their lives while we relax in our villas/apartments. But despite all, we are moving forward. We are one of the oldest civilizations, a country with a rich culture and heritage that few countries can boast of. We have a mindboggling work force. We also have some of the most intelligent minds the world has ever seen and will see. We also have considerate caring people like Mr. Nandy, you and many many others, who are proud concerned Indians thinking of solutions for the betterment of the country.

    So no matter how much we bicker about our nation, I believe we are doing great and we have hope! We dont have AB at Tussauds and Tendulkar at the Opus for nothing!!! We are achievers!

    Sorry for taking so much space.:P

    Love,

    Aish.

    P.S. I miss the old layout. Even the tiger pic I love is tilted in this theme. 😦

  29. Aish – Love your answer. Full of optimism and confidence in ourselves to do the right thing.You should never feel sorry for taking space to say the right things. Sorry that you miss the old layout, many said it was blinding them, took a poll too. So, had to change. I have changed the tiger picture so you see more of the tiger this time. Hope you like this chap.?

    • Aishwarya Says:

      Hey, thanks Sharmila, love the chap!

    • Sharmila,

      Long weekend here with a connected holiday on saturday, so I am intending to catch up with a bit of reading but that will not hold me from a quick comment on the blog.

      Regarding the new template for the page, please don’t fall prey to the opinions of the media. I say this one is definitely better than the previous one.

      For example, in the previous format, I would have read your line above, “many said it was blinding them, took a poll too.” probably as “many said it was binding them, took a pill too!”… see? altogether different meanings…

      I vote for this template… and veto if I could…

      🙂

  30. Regarding the index, good chance it may be skewed marginally. Read a report on BBC that Rwanda is the least corrupt amongst the African nations. A country that was more popular for genocide and other forms of atrocities and mainly poverty is a great example. To say that India is 5 rungs better off than Rwanad imho is not something to be proud of, given that Rwanda’s circumstances and recent history is a lot worse than ours.

    • Aishwarya Says:

      Thanks for the link on the EA bribery index. Hard to believe. I think corruption lies in the indices itself!:P But point noted. India has a long way to go and this index is merely an indicator of how far our journey is.

  31. MonaLisa Says:

    Sharmila,
    This Rwanda news are totally unbelievable…..! Doesn’t seem to be true…How could one check its authenticity..? Probably its a temporary status.
    If its authentic and true, call /invite them to India.. 🙂

  32. ML – You are disputing BBC here, Lol. We could call Nick Gowing to verify. Probably we need to get the invite ready.

  33. MonaLisa Says:

    Awww…..Sharmila….That ‘ ML’ seems like ‘ MiliLiter ‘ or something….Initials or abbreviations sometimes are not very appealing…. 🙂

  34. Point noted. One with a name like yours should be as rare.

  35. Hi Sharmila,
    I totally agree with the index and the rankings. Well, I am sure before coming out with these ranking there is a lot of work that has gone into it and though it may not be perfect, there are certain hard hitting facts behind it. India and corruption go together. It is easy to say that it starts at home but many a times we have no choice. There are some pretty big examples used here to show how corrupt India is. There have been countless smaller examples as well we look around our own neighbourhood. A couple of examples that cross my mind are the cop asking me for Rs. 200 just to sign on the passport verification form, something that is part of his job, postman/telephone guy/newspaper delivery guy all lining up during Diwali for their so called ‘Bakshish’ and many making a note of who has given and how much. If you dare to refuse or give less than how much they expect, be prepared for your letters not being delivered, phone line disconnected for days and at times for weeks, newspapers not arriving on time and so on…
    Until we have people such as these who dont think twice before resorting to unethical means to earn money are remain part of the government and the service sector, the future outlook is gloomy. As you say Sharmila, that we as citizens can make a difference these days by using tools such as RTI, then in a way you are right. At the same time people who take that path to make a difference certainly do not deserve this:
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Green-activist-shot-dead-near-High-Court/articleshow/6193952.cms
    There are laws in place to explose corruption but nothing to protect those who take up this challenge.

  36. Deepan – Very well said. Thank you for your comments. You have sighted some more examples that I had missed. Read the TOI artice. Very sad. We will never know the truth now that the activist is gone. Yes, sometimes one has to pay a hefty price to realize the truth. Such is the cycle of life. I would rather leady a risky life to get to the truth than lead a safe life and live amongst lies.

  37. Where is Sharmila?

  38. Corruption no doubt is a social evil.You rightly said we need not cheer much on not being near Somalia but we should take lessons from those corrupted least.The country in which I sit is at 63.I couldn’t find how old these stats are.But surely Pakistan is gonna jump further up in the next print.

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