# Corruption in India

Interesting article in the Guardian.

Excellent article in The Hindu.

The direct and indirect costs are of policy failures, unproductive investments, slower development, higher inequity, environmental destruction and a lower rate of growth of the economy than would have been possible. India could have been growing faster, by about 5 per cent, since the 1970s if it did not have the black economy. Consequently, India could have been a $8-trillion economy, the second largest in the world. Per capita income could have been seven times larger; India would then have been a middle-income country and not one of the poorest. That has been a huge cost. #### rishab dhar When I call India as a failed state, I get a lot of flak from many delusional people. When I say that how rampant corruption in India is, people come out running to say that surely it cannot be so bad. I believe that either such people are delusional, or they don't live in India. A country in which the political class rules like the kings and uses the excuse that it was, afterall, elected by the people, in my view, is a failed state. This is NO better than communism/kingship whatever you may want to call it. If the government doesn't do (in this case help reduce corruption -$1.5 trillion in black money in swiss banks is testimony to this fact) what the people want it to do, the country NO longer remains a DEMOCRACY. There is a total disconnect between the govt. and the people.

If people like Anna Hazare are thrown into prison for demanding an end to corruption and for demanding a bill to keep corruption in check, India, then, is NOT any better than China. And No just because Anna Harare's case came out, it doesn't mean that everybody's case came out. Read the infinite number of instances of corruption, but none of those unfortunately ignited the sleeping youth of India.

The government deliberately fudges statistics.

For instance, Government officially said that no more than 100k people came to streets. I can assure you that more people came on Delhi's streets alone, and I haven't even talked about rest of India.

Similarly, the previous lokpal bill was passed, keeping PM outside its vigilance. Is this some kind of joke ?

Further, many ministers, who do not want this bill to pass, instead of pointing the deficiencies in the bill, they attacked Anna, saying he is corrupt. But the fact is whether Anna is corrupt does NOT matter. In fact by all means try him in the court if he is corrupt.

What is worse, BJP is trying to use the misfortune of congress in its favor. It is NOT interested in reducing corruption. It is merely using this situation to get an upper hand in the next general elections. I ask BJP where was is it in past 40 years. The talk about such bill has been since 1970's.

There will be change, but it wont be fast, and it won't be pain free. It will take 20 maybe 30 years. India will face a civil war 10 times the scale witnessed in the US back in the 1800's. It will dwarf everything what history has seen. Don't worry about Mid-east; it will be a joke in comparison to this. Unfortunately, the economy will take a massive massive hit (probably a depression), but it will be for good.

#### darth

It's easier to point flaws in others rather looking inwards. Government is not something which has come from Mars. It is the people of India from where they have come. Citizens are corrupted , so is government. Half of the people protesting don't even know what they are protesting for. I know of few people who paid bribe in the morning to a traffic policemen and went to protests afterwards in the evening.

A theoretically informed article by Prabhat Patnaik in Frontline which looks at Indian corruption in the context of "primitive accumulation":

... For instance, any public servant who privatises public property at throwaway prices, even when he or she receives no direct gratification for it, is invariably hailed for this act by the corporate media, by the Bretton Woods institutions and by the global financial community as being a “visionary”, a bold promoter of “entrepreneurship” and a “liberal” thinker in tune with the modern times. This brings in its train a host of possible rewards: sundry “best Minister in Asia” (or similar) awards, lecture tours, World Bank assignments, offers of cushy corporate placements, various remunerative advisory roles, and post-retirement sinecures. None of this, however, will be considered “corruption”. “Corruption”, in short, is confined exclusively to gratification received directly as quid pro quo; it does not cover the far more pervasive case of gratification received from the system as a whole. The current crusade against corruption, therefore, by not looking at the system as a whole, misses the wood for the trees. Of course, one should not ignore the “trees”; and hence legislation against “corruption” even in this limited sense is important. But missing the wood is unpardonable; and the wood is what Marx called “primitive accumulation of capital”.

Primitive accumulation refers to the appropriation of the property of petty producers, peasants and the people at large (through, for instance, encroaching on common property or cornering budgetary resources or buying up state property at throwaway prices) by the capitalists or proto-capitalists. It is called primitive accumulation, as distinct from the normal process of accumulation under capitalism, because it entails not the reinvestment of the economic surplus produced under capitalism but a process of filching the property of other non-capitalist segments: the peasants, the petty producers, the state and the community (“commons”). Now, corruption too entails a process of filching others' property; corruption itself may constitute a form of primitive accumulation of capital, for example, when a “public servant” demands a bribe from the common man. But big ticket “corruption”, of the sort that has surfaced of late, is not itself primitive accumulation; it constitutes rather a levy on an ongoing process of primitive accumulation.

The escalation of “corruption” in the recent period is indicative of the fact that the proceeds of the primitive accumulation that has been unleashed by neoliberalism are being shared pervasively by the political class (and the bureaucracy). It is not only the monopolists, the financial oligarchy, the land sharks and the multinational corporations that are raking in the proceeds of primitive accumulation but also the government echelons at the highest level, which are recruited from the political class. But things are even worse. Significant segments of even those elements of the political class which are not “corrupt”, in the sense that they do not receive any direct gratification for conniving with the primitive accumulation of capital, are nonetheless actively complicit in the process: they belong very much to the system that promotes primitive accumulation and benefit from the indirect systemic gratification mentioned earlier. We are in short institutionalising a regime of primitive accumulation, with the bulk of the political class (barring a few honourable exceptions, notably the Left) being incorporated into this regime.

#### rishab dhar

@ darth

You look like a totally delusional person. I ask you this : most of the people don't even know how to write their names ( more than50% according to UN report ( don't go by gov't literacy statistics because they too are fudged. According to some report just 50% of Indian who studied at primary school could add numbers or write their names. Most of these schools are govt. schools) , and you expect them to know what is corruption and what laws are to be followed? Secondly, those people you talk about DO NOT willingly give the bribe; they are forced to do that; otherwise, their work won't be done. Just look at the corruption in PDS ( public distribution system). Thirdly, it is pathetic that you compared Indian people to Indian govt whose head of the state is Mr Manmohan Singh, an economist. Surely, you don't want to say that this educated guy does NOT know what corruption is, because you are in a way implying that.

Finally, you DO NOT even know and have not been a part of the protests that are going. It includes educated youth, who know exactly why they are protesting. Many youths are tired of paying those lacs of rupees in donation to get admission in colleges; further there is no place for them in government colleges as it is busy in allocating as many seats as possible for quota ( to get vote bank). Even worse, if those seats are NOT filled, they go vacant!, and many of the general category students who are much brighter than those admitted quota students get shunned away. Further, thousands of crores are siphoned off by these ministers, who are bribed by businesses, resulting in higher prices of everything. The prices of corruption is passed on the end consumer. All this money ( both tax money and the money bribed to ministers) could have been used to build hundreds of MIT level colleges in India, thousands of kilometers of expressways, improving dilapidated railway network etc etc ( just look at the petrol and diesel subsidy bill- it is NOT really a subsidy as those companies are govt. owned, and the higher prices are due to 50% tax component in the price. As a result the price of gas is as high as in Europe)

These people are in the hope that something will change one day. This is their chance to get what they deprived off. The lokpal bill is just the beginning; they won't stop at that. If you think that it will end with lokpal bill you are badly mistaken.

#### sjain

@rishab govt is an extension of the people. We all know there are serious issues with law and order, accountability, overpopulation, and corruption. However, in a democracy as big and diverse as India, it is a difficult task to find a common solution and hence it takes time to make little progress, sometimes years for a small change. However, there are many positives to be taken over the years and a lot of things have improved. Personally, the biggest issue I feel is the complexity and opacity of the outdated bureaucratic system that promotes corruption. Steps need to be taken to expedite the simplification of the system to allow effective implementation of bills and ideas.

#### rishab dhar

And why do you think the bureaucratic system is complex? Is has been designed purposefully by the politicians to allow corruption and little transparency at every point. The govt. will do anything to protect this system - by pointing out its benefits. If govt. is SO unwilling to even take steps to reduce corruption within govt. (let alone among the people) by not passing a strong lokpal bill, it highlights and reinstates the fact that there will be NO change in this bureaucratic system unless there is literally a civil war.

Finally, 90% of the Indians, who live on less than $2.5 a day, and cannot afford to feed themselves - let alone bribe- will almost wholeheartedly support anti-corruption measures. P.S According to me, it is a NATIONAL DISGRACE if the ministers in Delhi live in posh 2-3 acre houses in C.P ( the P.M's and President's estate would probably humble our Mughal emperors), costing 200-300 crores ($50-$70M) , enjoy almost free lunch, free govt. cars, free air travel, free electricity, while 90% of the country lives on 90% of the people live on less than$2.5 a day.

Secondly, those people you talk about DO NOT willingly give the bribe; they are forced to do that; otherwise, their work won't be done.

No-one pays a bribe willingly: it's because they feel under duress and know that either their work will not get done or take so much time and effort that they resort to paying the bribe as an expedient. It runs all the way from the beat policeman to the cabinet minister: it is endemic. Pay a bribe to get one's child admitted to a school or college, pay a bribe to get a driver's licence, pay a bribe to get a passport, a bribe to get a phone connection or water supply, a bribe to keep one's shop open; a bribe to get one's project sanctioned. Officials of the state are acting as extortionists. The rules and regulations are deliberately opaque, and byzantine in their complexity.

#### darth

"No-one pays a bribe willingly"

I beg to differ on this for the cases involving traffic policemen. He catches you for some offence and takes out his challan book to write a challan and you start pleading that please don't write me a challan(as it may cost say 1200 rs), lets settle for 100 rs without getting a challan. People force the innocent and honest traffic cops to take bribe...

He catches you for some offence and takes out his challan book to write a challan and you start pleading that please don't write me a challan(as it may cost say 1200 rs), lets settle for 100 rs without getting a challan. People force the innocent and honest traffic cops to take bribe.

The offence is often imaginary. And redress against arbitrary use of official power is either absent or (deliberately) maddeningly slow. Part of the problem is that the lower echelon of policemen, clerks, etc., are not paid enough to survive on. If the pay was the same for Europeans and North Americans I am sure there would be more corruption in Europe and North America. Then there is the endemic culture of corruption in South Asia. On top of this, glaring disparities between rich and poor: Scandinavia, for example, has low corruption at least partly because economic polarisation doesn't exist.

#### rishab dhar

I beg to differ on this for the cases involving traffic policemen. He catches you for some offence and takes out his challan book to write a challan and you start pleading that please don't write me a challan(as it may cost say 1200 rs), lets settle for 100 rs without getting a challan. People force the innocent and honest traffic cops to take bribe...

Darth your logic is completely flawed. The statements that you said are self-contradictory. If the police is honest, it won't accept the bribe of 100 bucks. Instead, it will not only challan that guy for 1200 bucks , but also put him in jail for bribing. The police is the one who actually approaches for the money.

Now on rule breaking : I have seen numerous cops, particularly in smaller towns in India, not wearing helmets, not following lane driving, breaking traffic lights. Now if this level of a traffic cop, who is supposed to know all the rules and supposed to follow them to lead as an example, then DO NOT expect much from an uneducated population of India ( 50% are illiterate and majority of rest of the supposedly literate cannot even write their names or add numbers - let alone know traffic rules). Finally, if I am honest citizen, I will be disgusted because a cop can get away by breaking rules, and that same cop then challans people to purposely extort additional money. These are double standards. The cop breaking rules themselves is also a big big reason that even the educated people don't care about rules. Get it? Further, how did the people driving vehicles on roads get their licence, if they weren't good drivers at all, and NO Americans are also not even close to the best drivers in the world( definitely better than Indians though). The best drivers are in Germany. Try to get a licence in Germany, and you will know- people work their but-off for 18 months or more to get that prized licence. The fact is the person who takes your driving test does NOT himself know practically all the rules (Indians are great at cramming but suck at applying).

#### BulbusMaximus

"Realize that if you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it."

D'Angelo, Anthony J.

#### sjain

All I hear is rants on this thread to the extent that it is hard to read past first two sentences. Its easy to overlook the positives and whine and complain about anything. It is advisable not to waste time creating threads with irrational terms such as "failed state" and contribute absolutely nothing constructive/meaningful/interesting. First it is hard to read what you're writing but it seems to me whatever problems you are stating prevail in most nations to some extent.

#### Jojo

All I hear is rants on this thread to the extent that it is hard to read past first two sentences. Its easy to overlook the positives and whine and complain about anything. It is advisable not to waste time creating threads with irrational terms such as "failed state" and contributing absolutely nothing constructive/meaningful/interesting. First it is hard to read what you're writing but it seems to me whatever problems you are stating prevail in most nations to some extent.

was reading this thread from a beutiful resort called skåvsjöholm outside stockholm and was feeling very sad untill I saw the msg posted by BulbusMaximus...indeed the time & energy spent by the person deatiling about corruption of India in this forum could have well spent in doing something erradicating it...also just so that we dont play with official statistics...literacy rate of India as per 2011 census is at 74%...and finally reading an article about India's corruption in a british newspaper feels like Germany accusing why Poland is still not that great after world war II...exploit a country for n number of years, leave it dismantled and then complain why this country malfunctions....anyways...yes corruption in India is definitely a very serious problem but instead whinning about it we can spend that same amt of time & energy in doing something to erradicate it.

and finally reading an article about India's corruption in a british newspaper feels like Germany accusing why Poland is still not that great after world war II...exploit a country for n number of years, leave it dismantled and then complain why this country malfunctions....anyways...yes corruption in India is definitely a very serious problem but instead whinning about it we can spend that same amt of time & energy in doing something to erradicate it.

Talk about ingratitude. The British set up the railroads, set up the court system, set up the civil service. India was probably better governed under the Brits than it is today, with less bribery, corruption, and incompetence. Asking "what did the Brits ever do for us?" is like asking "what did the Romans ever do for us?" :

#### sjain

Talk about ingratitude. The British set up the railroads, set up the court system, set up the civil service. India was probably better governed under the Brits than it is today, with less bribery, corruption, and incompetence. Asking "what did the Brits ever do for us?" is like asking "what did the Romans ever do for us?" :

This comment is so ridiculous yet offensive that it gives a clear picture of kind of person you are and your lack of understanding. Sorry.

This comment is so ridiculous yet offensive that it gives a clear picture of kind of person you are. Sorry.

I don't see any rebuttal. Until 1918, the best Oxbridge graduates used to join the Indian Civil Service. After that, Britain's promise to grant India its independence meant a tapering off of interest. Their best people were governing India. Rebuttal?

#### sjain

Try passing the IAS exam in 10 tries and then you might get some understanding of civil services, society and grassroots specific to a nation.

Britain robbed India of its natural resources for 300 years and dragged India into two world wars. If it had not been for the colonies, the Luftwaffe would have flattened London and Liverpool as flat as the cornfields in Iowa.
India's GDP has already exceeded UK's GDP and within 30 years it will be 10 times the size of the UK GDP and on par with China and USA. UK will be buried under the weight of its elderly population and the uneducated rioters.

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