CORRUPTION FAQ’s – Stuff you’ve always wanted to know but were afraid to ask …
Below is my response to a comment made by Mr/Mrs./Ms (?) PLV Rao to an earlier Post “BLACK MONEY: India’s Parallel Economy”. See Link:
“Dear Sir: Despite an element of truth in your assessment, surely India has made some rapid strides toward putting in place innovative, viable schemes that exploit our economic potential at least in the long run; this, independent of underhandedness. Yours faithfully,” etc.
Although I agree with certain parts of his/her (?) opinion (like “Dear Sir” and “Yours faithfully”), I honestly cannot do adequate justice to the statement via a brief, one-para reply; hence, with due respect, this new Post …
Dear PLV Rao: Weelll … Yes, yes! Of course … and there is a Santa Claus who comes only once a year (because his elves get nervous, otherwise!), and the Easter Bunny hides his eggs (because he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s intimate with a chicken)!
Get real, Brother! Just about every door of opportunity the government is gracious enough to open up; there are scores of greedy palms gesticulating under the table for grease. Have you ever applied for any legitimate entitlement – and had to wait years to discover they “lost” the paperwork? Even a mundane business license has attached thereto some “hidden charges”.
Your statement gives added credence to my lay opinion. The inadvertent choice of Machiavellian locution used in this context, viz. “viable SCHEMES””, “EXPLOIT”, “UNDERHANDEDNESS”, betrays a clandestine reliance on precisely these elements which influence and facilitate our economic boom. This “Freudian Slip” is a very relevant observation based upon scientific evidence that people’s word choices unconsciously reveal states of mind that they are trying to conceal; in this case, a sub-conscious admission of the indispensable role of corruption in our economic affairs.
You are right on one point: the government has indeed put in place innovative, viable schemes that exploit our economic potential, in the example below, by fleecing tourists. Call it government-sanctioned tourist traps, if you like … but of vital importance to the extortive importation of foreign exchange through the back door! Is this (incident below) what you meant by “innovative, viable schemes …”?
Once upon a time, a US Citizen came to visit historic India – and got arrested on some incredulous, trumped-up charges based exclusively upon unsubstantiated allegations. To be fair, the Police did offer him a choice to bribe his way out. But, being the principled sort (and somewhat foolishly stubborn), he refused to grease palms – which landed him ass-first in the State Guest House while his lawyer and the Prosecutor negotiated on an agreeable price not to challenge his bail petition.
That was seven years ago. And now, still on bail, minus his US Passport (with an expired Visitor’s Visa), and, until very recently (he first had to part with a couple of pink bundles of currency), absent any sign of a Charge Sheet, our disillusioned visitor remains an involuntary resident of India. His sole source of income is his foreign pension deposited in a US bank account. He uses this overseas bank’s ATM card to withdraw funds to support himself in India and placate the Criminal (in)Justice scavengers and other opportunistic parasites.
NOW LET’S DO THE MATH: I learned his net US income is in the ballpark of US $3000.00 per month (after taxes and other deductions), and he spends every dime in India (thru’ ATM withdrawals). In seven years, he has imported (7 x 12 x 3000 =) $252,000.00 in foreign exchange, which works up to a whopping Rs. 14,364,000/- !!
Holy Popped Hemorrhoids, Batman! That’s more than most big businesses pay the country in Income Tax! This guy should be honored with a National Award, don’t you think? Well, since I was fresh out of Bharat Ratnas, I just stuck a fat cigar in his mouth, shook his hand, and tried (unsuccessfully) to talk him out of a friendly loan … !
India is one of the most “corrupt” nations in the world. This is no secret! If you’re a fiend for figures and statistics, take a look at the Global Corruption Index or the rankings inspired by Transparency International and a host of other government-funded Non-Government Organizations. But you really don’t need any such “researched” data but your own experience to form a factual opinion (since such data compilation is just as simplistic and misleading as dividing the “average” income by the “average” number of people in an “average” community to determine the Per Capita Income vs. economic development).
So, is “Corruption” beneficial? BUT OF COURSE IT IS; it’s gotta be!! Otherwise, we wouldn’t be practicing it with such spiritual zest and gusto! But before venturing forth to quantify corruption, it stands to reason that we first determine – by consensus – EXACTLY WHAT IS CORRUPTION?!
Transparency International describes it thus: “Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It hurts everyone who depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority.” There’s sufficient editorializing here so as to make it far less than an objective definition and more of a subjective opinion dependent upon individual (and differing) outlooks. Where one would view an act as “bribery”, the other would see it as a well-deserved “commission”, or in conformance with a generally acceptable national tradition, e.g., “inaam”, “bakshish”, “gift”, etc. Therefore, it would be “insulting” and signal “unbecoming arrogance” if one were to refuse it.
Besides, if you’d have noticed, the vast majority of the masses making a hue and cry over Corruption and the “dismal” state of affairs are non-players, illiterates’/semi-literates, pseudo-righteous, jealous losers, disillusioned patriots, politicians in sheep’s clothing; those, ticked off at the “ill-gotten gains” of the successful few while they (the serfs) slog their butts off unsure whether their kids will sleep on a full belly … That’s the way it is, the way it was, and the way it’s gonna be. So, “until the proletarians revolt against the bourgeois“, I wouldn’t hold my breath for any change in the status quo. But if that ever happens, there’ll still be a “proletarian upper class”, Mr. Marx!
The Indian Penal Code 1860 (amend.), Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 (amd.), even the UN Convention Against Corruption fails to provide a uniform, precise legal definition of Corruption. The laws certainly cover a wide range of actions that could be colored as “corruption” in a colloquial sense, but for a law to be legal it needs to be unambiguous; otherwise it would be capricious and “void for vagueness”!
So, before “going to war” against this abstruse bastard (Corruption), is it not essential that the “enemy” should be identified first; failing which, many innocents will perish (and have perished) in “friendly fire”.
© Copyright 2012. Carlisle Collins. Havepenwillwrite. All Rights Reserved.