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Corruption In India

According to Jitendra Singh, "In the bad old days, particularly pre-1991, when the License Raj held sway, and by design, all kinds of free market mechanisms were hobbled or stymied, and corruption emerged almost as an illegitimate price mechanism, a shadowy quasi-market, such that scarce resources could still be allocated within the economy, and decisions could get made. These were largely distortions created by the politico-economic regime. While the sea change has occurred in the years following 1991, some of the distorted cultural norms that took hold during the earlier period are slowly being repaired by the sheer forces of competition. The process will be long and slow, however. It will not change overnight." One of the major problems and the obstacles to development that many countries face is corruption by greedy, power-rapacious politicians, which is endemic in certain parts of the world.

POLITICS- Corruption not only has become a pervasive aspect of Indian politics but also has become an increasingly important factor in Indian elections. The extensive role of the Indian state in providing services and promoting economic development has always created the opportunity for using public resources for private benefit. As government regulation of business was extended in the 1960s and corporate donations were banned in 1969, trading economic favours for the under table contribution to political parties became an increasingly widespread political practice. During the 1980s and 1990s, corruption became associated with the occupants of the highest echelons of India's political system. Politicians have become so closely identified with corruption in the public eye that a Times of India poll of 1554 adults in six metropolitan cities found that 98 percent of the public is convinced that politicians and ministers are corrupt, with 85 percent observing that corruption is on the increase.

The prominence of political corruption in India is hardly unique to India. Other countries also have experienced corruption that has rocked their political systems. What is remarkable about India is the persistent anti-incumbent sentiment among its electorate. In July 2008, The Washington Post reported that nearly a fourth of the 540 Indian Parliament members faced criminal charges, "including human trafficking, immigration rackets, embezzlement, rape and even murder."

Bureaucracy- A 2015 study done by transparency International, TI, in India found that more than 50% of people had first-hand experience of paying bribe or peddling influence to get a job done in public office. Officials often steal state property. In Bihar, more than 80% of the subsidized food aid to poor is stolen. In cities and villages throughout India, Mafia Raj consisting of municipal and other Government officials, elected politicians, judicial officers, real estate developers and law enforcement officials, acquire, develop and sell land in illegal ways. Many state-funded construction activities in India, such as road building are dominated by construction mafias, which are groupings of corrupt public works officials, material suppliers, politicians and construction contractors. Shoddy construction and material substitution result in roads and highways being dangerous and sometime simply washed away when India's heavy monsoon season arrives. More often than not, minorities and minority-dominated areas bear the brunt of bureaucratic corruption, especially at the lower levels. In government hospitals, corruption is associated with non-availability of medicines, getting admission, consultants with doctors and availing diagnostic services.

Judiciary- Corruption is rampant in the judicial system of India. According to Transparency International, judicial corruption in India is attributable to factors such as "delays in the disposal of cases, shortage of judges and complex procedures, all of which are exacerbated by a preponderance of new laws".

Armed Forces and Police- Indian Armed Forces since long time have witnessed corruption involving senior armed forces officers from the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. Many officers have been caught for allegedly selling weapons in the black market in the border districts of Indian states and territories, which has shaken public faith in the country's massive military.

The police often torture innocent people until a confession is obtained to save influential and wealthy offenders. G.P. Joshi, the programme coordinator of the Indian branch of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in New Delhi comments that the main issue at hand concerning police violence is a lack of accountability.

Religious Institutions-In India, the corruption has also crept into religious institutions. Some deacons of the church of North India are making money by selling Baptism certificates. A group of church leaders and activists has launched a campaign to combat the corruption within churches. Among the Indian Muslims, the recent "cash for fatwas scandal" was a major affair that exposed the Imams of the Islamic ulama accepting bribes for issuing random, often nonsensical fatwas. The chief economic consequences of corruption are the loss to the economy, an unhealthy climate for investment and an increase in the cost of Government- subsidised services. The TI India study estimates the monetary value of the petty corruption in the eleven basic services provided by the Government, like education, healthcare, judiciary, police, etc., to be around Rs.21,068 crores. India still ranks in the bottom quartile of developing countries in terms of the ease of doing business, and compared to China and other lower developed Asian nations, the average time taken to secure the clearance for a start-up or to invoke bankruptcy is much greater.

Shinaaz Mittal

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