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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Corruption in India and Laws against It

Let us consider the following instances:

1. As my father and I await our turn to pay for our purchases at a local Mother Dairy outlet, a man arrives on a motorcycle and buys a few litres of milk. He proceeds to empty it into a number of canisters attached to his vehicle and then asks for a bucket full of water to dilute the milk with. He, apparently, is a milkman, off to his daily rounds to supply the liquid to several households, probably telling them tall tales of cows that he rears in a pen at home for good measure.

2. When my mother visits a friend's house, the lady's young grand-daughter runs up to greet her, gives her a tight hug and enquires whether she has brought along any sweets. Upon finding out that she has not, the child's facial expression immediately changes to a rather rude one and she turns around and leaves. The same sequence is repeated on several subsequent occasions, until my mother relents and does take along some toffees.

3. The cashier at a local pathology lab tells me that she does not have the exact amount of change and tells me to collect the balance the next day, along with the report of the medical test for which I have just submitted a sample. When I do, she looks crestfallen, even though she does return the money. The same sequence is repeated a few months later.

4. As it continues to rain incessantly for several hours, a group of children from a nearby slum block the drains  on the road that runs beside our house. Then, they offer to push any car that gets stalled due to water entering the exhaust pipe or another part, for a suitable fee. They do roaring 'business' until my mother realises what they are up to and decides to shoo them away. They are back a few days later, when it rains again.

5. A puncture repair-man scatters a pack of iron nails at a crossing, about a kilometre from where he has set up shop, to help bring in more clients.

6. A neighbour keeps his house centrally air-conditioned using free electricity supply obtained through greasing the palms of a few officials of the distribution company, which, incidentally, was privatised a few years ago.

I am sure that most Indians come across many such examples almost every day, i.e., when they are not the examples themselves, of course. The question that arises then, at least in my mind, is whether a Lokpal Bill or any other such piece of legislation can help eliminate corruption in a country where it is so deeply engrained in the culture now.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What about the others?