Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Corruption in 21st Century India

If 2008 was the year of the recession then the year 2010 is now being hailed as the “year of scams” in India. Although the start of most of the scams this year can be traced back to two or three years ago most of them have come into light in 2010. It all started with the Indian Premier League and has now ended in the mother of all scams the “2G Spectrum” which incurred a loss of Rs 1,76,000 crores to the Indian exchequer . Wedged in between these were the stories behind the Adarsh housing scheme and the Common Wealth Games. The only difference between the corruption in the 20th century India and in the 21st century India is that earlier the amount used to be of the order of only a few crores, now it runs into a few hundreds or even thousands of crores. The 20th century did not see so many news channels or the rise of the power of the media as in the 21st, yet our politicians continue to loot the Indian treasure in broad daylight. Frankly speaking this makes politics a lucrative career for the generation of today. What other career in this world can earn a person so much money inasmuch as two-three years? (Maybe film stars but even they take 10-15 years before they are acknowledged as superstars and demand that kind of money!) Some students of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad recently decided to launch a helpline on corruption to curb the menace. But implementing such a helpline requires a lot of support from law-enforcing officials. The irony here is that most law-enforcing officials themselves are either forced to work for the corrupt politicians or are paid to work for them. In either case, they can’t stop politicians from the mass looting that they have now been used to for years. In her recently concluded visit to the UAE in 2010, the President of India, Ms.Pratibha Devisingh Patil interacted with students at various Indian colleges in UAE. Her message to the students was significant. Though they are all NRI’s they should keep in mind the values that India stood for. She emphasized on Mahatma Gandhi’s two principles, that of truth and non-violence. But sadly the spate of incidents in the last decade shows that truth is definitely a principle that most politicians in India haven’t heard of! Not a single politician today can even be closely compared to the Mahatma. No examples from today’s current generation of politicians can be shown as a role model to college/school students. So how do we expect the students to suddenly adopt principles of truth and non-violence when all they see on TV are news of Scams and violence such as murder and rape? At least if the perpetrators of all these crimes were punished it might instill the fear factor in them, but very rarely have politicians been punished for their crimes. Corruption has to be killed at the roots. Perhaps the education system in India has to lay as much emphasis on moral education as much as it does on basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills. All criminals irrespective of their stature have to be punished, or else there will come a time when the people of India will lose complete faith in the law-enforcing bodies.