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Re: Fw: article on corruption in India



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In a message dated 6/20/00 9:06:13 PM Central Daylight Time, 
ramn@adelphia.net writes:

> This is a very interesting article that appeared in the Industry
>  Standard...[6.19.2000]
>  
>  Ungreasing Palms In India
>  An anticorruption crusader discovers the Internet cuts bureaucracy and
>  bribes.
>  By Monika Halan
>  
>  To be a common man in India is expensive. Need a phone, or gas for your 
home 
> 
>  or electricity for your factory? Pay up. The palms of corrupt government 
>  officials are outstretched.
> (deleted) 
the 12.5 million government employees. Corruption is a public secret: 
>  Everyone knows, but no one has wanted to say anything about it. Until now.
>  
>  Nagraj Vittal took over the CVC in September 1998. The commission had been 
>  sending annual reports to Parliament for 35 years, but they languished 
there 
> 


Dealing with corruption need not be a one man, one time issue, though it is 
better than it being nobody's issue. Corruption and disregard of the laws, 
especially by those, whose job it is to uphold the rule of law, goes to the 
very heart  of the issues that make India poor and backward. No amount of 
economic reforms aimed at reducing poverty and stimulating growth is ever 
going to work if investors fear losing their capital when the government and 
the legal system is unable to enforce contracts and property rights. If I 
have a million dollars to invest I am much better off earning 5% interest in 
U.S. bank deposit than investing in say building a house in Delhi for rental 
income or investing in a business in India, for the simple reason that it is 
just not worth the hassle of dealing with the corruption in the Delhi 
Development Authority and the Delhi Electricity Board. If somebody wrongs me 
in my business or a tenant refuses to vacate my property there is no 
practical legal remedy worth the name to protect my interests, unless I am 
well connected or I have the nerve or the inclination to pass 100 rupee notes 
to court house clerks under the very nose of Your Honor. Corruption and 
Lawlessness in India is stifling enterprise and scaring investors more than 
the politicians' attachment to Socialism. Whether Socialism causes Corruption 
or not is not my concern here.

Thankful as we are for one Vittal here, a T.N. Seshan there, these people 
will make little difference unless the government in right earnest goes about 
setting its house in order. Why should the public have to go to the CVC with 
their complaints.  He may be a good man, Mr. Vittal is not omnipresent much 
less omnipotent. We must demand, and we must get, a mechanism in each 
government office, department, police station and court house for people to 
be able to make a complaint against rogue public servants and get a response 
from a person with authority in a reasonable time. This is how government 
works in America and England and every other advanced nation of the world and 
this is how we must make it work in India, if we are ever to have the hope of 
saving our system from total decay and disintegration.

As things stand today, the public's access is totally cut off from the people 
in charge and authority. You need a broker to even get to see your 
legislator. I remember at one time the then DDA vice chairman Jagmohan used 
to hold a "Durbar" where the harrassed Delhites used to go with their 
greivances. (Now the term "Durbar" itself was sickening, even in the second 
half of the twentieth century). What was really needed was a Public Relations 
Office or a Grievance Cell reporting to the highest official. It is important 
that local mechanisms exist in our government offices to handle people's 
complaints and they should work with transparency and accountability. A 
proactive judge in the Supreme Court or a sincere CVC with a website is not a 
lasting or complete solution to our mess.   



(deleted to save space)

But the following quotes of Vittal's are too important to delete:

>  "The ideal government should be small, moral, accountable, responsible, 
>  transparent," says Vittal. He wants to apply information technology in 
every 
> 
(deleted)

and
>  
>  "I'm just doing my duty," adds Vittal. "I have no other agenda. I have had 
a 
> 
>  full life and this post was unexpected. Now, I'm just doing my job. I'm 
>  focusing on that."


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