Corruption Wrecks National Economy


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A few days back I said that the corruption of the every day kind is more dangerous because it destroys the character of a nation, its people and sows the seeds of a powerless, frustrated, impotent people who can only get angry but do nothing. The effort that it takes to remove the cancer of such corruption is huge and the entire population has to stand up against it. It persists because we humans are very competitive and do not want to be left behind our next door neighbour. We believe that money can buy everything and hence are ready to pay our way out of tight situations such as breaking a law or getting a service out of turn.

On the other hand, the man in the chair feels that since without his approval things will not move in the bureaucracy, he wants his palms to be greased for doing his job.

There is another kind of corruption – the once in a while type.

More often than not, when we discuss about corruption, we make two statements:

  1. Corruption is omnipresent. Even USA has corruption.
  2. However the corruption in those countries (like the US) is not all-pervading – it is only at the highest levels of society.

In the US you will not find ordinary citizens breaking simple laws such as jumping traffic signals and an officer demanding bribe to let you off the offence. The corruption there is at very high levels and constitutes millions of dollars and sometimes even billion of dollars worth of kickbacks.  In India too we have this kind of corruption in government. The recent 2G scam in the telecom which is supposed to be to the tune of about USD 40 Billion as per the estimates of the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) of India is a case in point.

fight corruption of oil companies

This kind of corruption, while in my opinion is not as bad as the every day variety, is still back-breaking.

For a country like India where the Union budget for the fiscal year 20100-12 has allocated less than USD 15 Billion for education, the 2G scam is worth almost 3 years of education budget. Imagine the kind of impact it would have had if that money was not lost on account of bribery and corruption.

Or take the case of food subsidy. India is placed 67th in the Global Hunger Index 2010 rankings of 122 countries prepared by International Food Policy Research Institute. As per the estimates of Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, India needs additional subsidy of USD 20 Billion annually to eradicate hunger from the millions of Indians who live in poverty. The 2G scam is thus equivalent to more than 2 years of food security of the Billion plus population of India.

The corruption of this kind cuts both ways:

  1. It robs the nation of money that it could have utilised for growth and improving the lot of the needy people, and
  2. It forces the government at best not to cut taxes or in worse cases to actually enhance taxes in certain areas to meet the growing money requirements to provide the basics to the nation and the poor.

corruption free good companyFor these reasons, the people must fight against such corruption and ensure that the culprits do not go free.

Having said that it is also true that in order to eliminate the corruption of the once in a while variety as outlined above, you need to first remove the everyday type of corruption. The reason is simple – the character of people in general is a function of the every day variety corruption – it has to go first before you can eliminate the once in a while type of corruption.

If majority is corrupt, they can’t hope to make the corrupt minority honest! What I mean to say here is that the onus of eradicating corruption lies in the hands of people like us, who indulge in small value corruption.

I’d like to know your views on corruption. Do you also think that corruption wrecks national economy?


  1. pity that there are no concrete solutions and needs lot of co-ordination which we lack.

    • I think if all us were to put our heads together, it should be possible to come up with concrete solutions for the menace of corruption. Maybe we can use this forum itself to come up with the answers.

  2. Corruption in India comes in all forms, more liquid though which can assume any shape. India really needs to shake itself off from one variant of corruption that is the “jugaad / setting” practice which is rampant and the first step towards eradication of the same starts from an individual level and yes solutions can be devised. Let it be India Shining not just in words but in intent and spirit as well.

    • I agree. There must be a movement of the people, by the people and for the people to work towards a state where we will be jugaad free. For that we have to start with ourselves first. It can begin with a simple resolve that I will not buy a movie ticket in black, or I’ll not pay money to get a berth on the train. Whatever. But start simple and follow it through.

  3. @Sanjeev, optimistically true.
    but can have our work done without bribing the govt officials(hate to say them officials though), I feel there should be more windows open for ACB, so one can freely(should rather say daringly ) contact them.

    • You are right. The general perception is that you can’t get work done without bribing the officials. And in many cases it is true, unfortunately. What this also means is that in some cases, it is not true, fortunately.

      Having said that the question that begs to be answered is if someone asks for bribe, why do we give it? If all the prospective recipients of a service decided not to succumb and give bribe, then how will the official get bribe? And how will he not do the work of ALL THE PEOPLE?

      People take bribes because people give bribes. We cannot stop the other fellow from asking for bribe but we can stop ourselves from giving bribe.

      Or am I being naive?

  4. @Sanjeev, for this again people who give bribes are mostly uneducated(though the educated ones give but just to get things done quickly). I feel the media should spend some time in advertising to come forward. Like the Etv2 does, but now that it has also stopped, don’t know why (hope it too didn’t get bribed)

    • Well Kashyap, I think it is worse when an educated person gives bribe to get his work done faster or to escape penalty such as bribe to a traffic cop for jumping a signal etc.

  5. I don’t think corruption can be eradicated. As you have rightly pointed out it is omnipresent and deep rooted in our society. One may think what if he or she is not budging. Then nothing will move and you will only end up in frustration. There are only two ways that can (only) contain corruption.
    1) The one who gets bribe should feel ashamed of it
    2) There should be strong punishment for who is corrupt.
    Both are not going to happen. So let us live with it 🙂

  6. Thanks Palaniappan for your comments. And you are right, the biggest reason why we succumb to the pressure is the fear that if we do not conform and pay up, then the person who has to do the job may not do it and we will be left out.

    With respect to your suggestion that the person who gets bribe should feel ashamed, I don’t think that will happen, because if he felt any shame, he will not take any bribe in the first place!

    Yes, I fully support the second way to contain corruption, i.e., there should be a strong punishment for those who are corrupt.

    Let us hope that one day we will all ensure that that happens. Till then…

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