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Has corruption haunted india's growth ?

Mahatama Gandhi once said "Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be the inevitable products of democracy, but they undoubtedly are today". By this he meant was that the basic idea of democracy was to empower the masses not to turn them into corrupt human beings. But somehow along the road that idea has been completely lost and what we have today is uncontrolled and unbridled corruption.

For any country to become a superpower it requires an efficient, hard working, dedicated and above all, a corruption free machinery. First of all we must understand what corruption is, the reasons for its unabated growth in India and most importantly the ways in which it can be weeded out of our society.

The human nature is such that we can never be satiated. No matter what our riches are, we always have this urge to want more. In other words when people are dissatisfied with what they have they invent dishonest ways to acquire more, which is simply known as corruption. In the Indian society corruption has become so deep rooted that it is quite impossible not to encounter it in your daily routine. One of the major areas where corruption has set its roots deep is the Government, especially the lower bureaucracy, but with the recent telecom scams being unearthed it is quite evident that corruption has left no part of the government from is grasp. It rules one and all. If somehow we could remove the word 'corruption' from India then I'm sure that we would become a developed nation must earlier than we think.

Now the important question here is whether corruption has halted India's growth, made it stagnant?

Well I certainly feel that corruption is a like a malignant cancer and if we do not take strong preventive measures right now, then we might as well let it feed on us. If India aspires to be developed country it must fight this disease of corruption with an iron hand. There should be no exceptions. A strict law should be passed and defaulters harshly punished. Examples must be set so the future generations learn to stay away from this menace. With the likes of Anna Hazare taking up the baton to highlight the menace of corruption in India, the day is not far when India would finally break free from the tentacles this disease.

As a matter of fact no country in the world is free from corruption but in these countries corruption is not as rampant and free as it is witnessed in India. I bet the USA also faces problems because of corruption but they have a better way of handling it, a much better way of punishing the errant people. As of present India ranks 93 out of 183 in the corruption perception index, a much better rank than its neighbors Pakistan and Bangladesh but much higher than that of China which ranks 72.

When the C.B.I unearthed the 'great' 2G scam it was realized that it cost the exchequer a loss of 1.76 lakh crores, approximately $33 dollars in revenues. Can you imagine the amount of roads, or the number of schools or the number of hungry Indians that could have been fed or in general the amount of development work that could have been undertaken with that mount of money. The then union telecom minister A. Raja took the fall and now finds himself behind bars. That is not all. The Bofor's scandal in which the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was implicated shook the consciousness of the entire nation. Not even the office of the Prime Minister, supposedly one of the most respectable offices in the country, was free of corruption.

The Telgi scam, the Bihar fodder scam in which the then Bihar Chief Minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav was involved, the Taj Corridor scam in which the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati was charged with corruption, and the very recent cash for votes scam in 2008 and the commonwealth scam in 2010, speaks volumes about the prevalent corruption scenario in India.

Scams and development in India go hand in hand. Whenever there is some large development work, no matter in which part of India, some part of the tax payer's money is always siphoned off. Take the 2010 commonwealth games scam for instance. The commonwealth games which were supposed to showcase India to world were nothing but an embarrassment. First was the fear that the stadiums would never be constructed on time, with Melbourne unofficially kept on stand by. Secondly, the construction work was shoddy with most of the venues being completed in haste. Thirdly, most of the projects when completed had overrun their costs. And when finally an enquiry was set up to look into the commonwealth games debacle, it was found that the organizing committee had cost the exchequer a loss in excess of Rs. 23,500 crore. Nothing really happened except that it made up for one the most sensational news of 2010.

In 2010 Anna Hazare, a social activist and a gandhian got the nation's attention going on corruption with his fast until death unless a strong Anti Corruption Bill was passed in the Parliament. His fast at Jantar Mantar soon attracted thousands of people every day with the both the print and electronic media taking a strong stance against the government for its apathetic attitude towards corruption. Anna Hazare soon became the rallying cry for the millions of Indians of who were sick and tired of corruption and wanted the government to act on it. The government soon buckled and it promised to appoint a committee to draft a bill.

The point here is that most of us Indians have witnessed or experienced corruption in one form or the other, and unless we raise our voice against it the government is just going to sit on it. It is unless we, the ordinary people, the heart of India, start doing something, only then would this evil be uprooted from our society. The fight against corruption has often been dubbed as the second fight for our independence. The first fight was to free our country of foreign powers while this fight would be to weed out all forms of corruption from our society.

Ikram singh Harika