The British Raj period, beginning in , excluded Indian citizens from political participation by dividing the country into districts with provincial governments controlled by a commissioner. The Official Secrets Act made it an offense for officials to reveal state information to citizens, ostensibly to protect military and government intelligence.
After India gained independence in , the new regime implemented heavy economic regulations intended to develop domestic markets; the Industries Act, for instance, required all new industrial operations to obtain a license from the central government. The policy limited foreign investment and stifled competition, and bribery became part and parcel of doing business.
The poor often suffered most from the widespread corruption, which diverted large amounts of public revenue intended for public works, aid, and social welfare programs. To this day, this is what Indians have been very aware of: that the institution of licenses and permits was responsible for creating corruption on a massive scale.
The first major law to combat government malfeasance was the Prevention of Corruption Act PCA of , enacted to prevent officials from cashing in on postwar reconstruction funding. Parliament also established the Anticorruption Bureau in to investigate violations of the PCA, which has since been amended twice most recently in The latest revision was a direct response to the lates Bofors scandal , in which then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and other politicians were accused of receiving large kickbacks in a weapons bid from Swedish arms company Bofors.
Many observers considered the scandal to be a main reason the Gandhi-led Congress Party was voted out of power in Under the PCA, bribery is punishable by a fine and up to five years imprisonment. At least 42 percent of young Indians have paid a bribe, according to a Hindustan survey. Growth has expanded the possibilities for rent-seeking. The country has steadily slipped since ranking seventy-second of in , when the report debuted.
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Several recent high-profile scandals have underscored the extent of the problem. In , allegations emerged surrounding the gross misallocation of funds at the Commonwealth Games , which cost almost eighteen times its budget estimate. Reports surfaced of shoddy infrastructure and financial irregularities regarding contracts, and the scandal led to the resignation of two senior Congress Party members and other government officials. Telecom minister Andimuthu Raja, accused of orchestrating the sale of licenses below market value, resigned in He was arrested in , and was out on bail as of late During the affair, outraged opposition parties shut down parliament for three weeks and prompted massive protests in Delhi.
The breadth of corruption has even touched the U. Public outrage peaked by the spring of In turn, the country saw an uptick of anticorruption rhetoric ahead of state elections in November and December The BJP championed the clean track record of its leader Narendra Modi, whose reform efforts as chief minister of Gujarat, made his home state a key driver of national economic growth, and who went on to win the national election.
In , criminal cases were pending against 31 percent of members of parliament and the legislative assembly. Mr Hazare's tactics appear astute. He has now upped the ante, exhorting his followers to "fill India's jail" - again a throwback to Gandhi - in a mass campaign of civil disobedience. It is clear Mr Hazare is not about to ease the pressure. The middle classes have responded, happy there are no politicians taking part. For most Indians, politicians, unfortunately, epitomise all that is wrong with the country.
Two politicians were turned away from the site of the fast at Jantar Mantar, a historic Delhi observatory, by irate campaigners. The fast has also had a bizarre side, with assorted Bollywood stars, controversial gurus and publicity hungry lawyers flocking to the stage.
There have been also excited and absurd claims that this could be India's Tahrir Square moment. Anna Hazare has made enough sacrifices to earn the leadership of this powerful protest - most Indians feel their politicians have conspired to remain silent about rampant corruption. The last time corruption was an issue in election was in when a minister in the Congress government quit against alleged kickbacks in a defence deal, and became a rallying point for the opposition. But commentators like Pratap Bhanu Mehta eloquently warn that "sometimes a sense of unbridled virtue can also subvert democracy".
They say that the Jan Lokpal Bill Citizen's Ombudman Bill that the activists want will amount to an anti-corruption institution vested with draconian powers. They ask: Why do we think that this institution will be corruption-free? Corruption is a complex malaise in India.
It is rooted in opaque and badly-run institutions that have been fostered and tolerated over the years. Then there is the stifling, post-colonial bureaucracy. Everyone knows the warped government policies, like misplaced food and energy subsidies, are open to abuse. Add to that the failure to reform India's election system with its shadowy private funding of candidates, many of whom have criminal records. And many people - some now protesting against corruption - have become habitual bribe givers to navigate the system they have lost faith in.
More cynicism has bred more corruption. It's not clear how far Mr Hazare's campaign will go - but setting up an citizen's ombudsman will not be the end of corruption. There's much more to do. Sign in or register to comment. There has been a attitude that any work if it has to be blessed via the red tape has to accompany money or monetary materials, when the corrupt were merely investing their ill earned incomes within India it did not look so bad.
In the last couple of decades this money has been leaving India for Switzerland and other tax and secrecy havens, while Indians do not have schools, clean toilets or clean food, bribery has reached the door steps of temples, palaces, Prime Minister and his ruling party, there is zero accountability and complete secrecy about funds being lost under various governmental schemes.
The educational levels of people is increasing, with the internet everyone knows that the history taught and the news put out are full of Lies and more Lies. Everyone wants to see that the rich and powerful invest within India, create jobs and better infrastructures, create more accountability within the government, stop using the police and military to suppress the truth.
Manmohan Singh and Pratiba Patil are both WEAK, have no personality to represent the people or the country, both have just folded their palms and avoided any controversy, have never answered any question with sincerity and truthfulness, they are riding a false Love Boat floating on ill gotten wealth. Complain about this comment Comment number 1. I did not realise that corruption is not normal till I left India several years ago!! Complain about this comment Comment number 2. I agree the Bill might have draconian powers. But what about the present situation? We have got thousands of institutions with unchecked draconian powers - all misused to make money and exploit the poor.
I am fully for a single Lokpal institution with draconian powers.
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If that can uproot corruption everywhere else it is a blessing for the country. Finally, even if that institution turns corrupt, at least we know whom to fight against and set it right. Contrary to the present situation, where we don't exactly have a single institution to fight against - either politics, bureaucracy, police, military, various government machineries, government schemes, even temples as my previous commentator put it - you name it.
They are all corrupt. Complain about this comment Comment number 3. Let us step back and take a look at India with historical perspective. India came into existence just 80 years ago. The brutally wounded nation, choose democracy as a way of governing. India was not handed over to Indians on a gold plate, most people agree that it was mess and historians predicted that India will be a failed state in 50 years.
But India survived brutal wars imposed on it and even liberated a country remember Bangladesh. Yes corruption is a problem in India.
But I have seen the decrease of it during my visits to India. I see the corruption scandal expose sign of things going in right direction as people are no longer tolerating it as way of life.
It is up to the younger generation who needs to step up and take this fight to the end. I hope Mr. Hazare's efforts will be augmented by the young of India and take it to its meaningful destination.http://co.organiccrap.com/4373.php
BBC - Soutik Biswas's India: Anna Hazare and India's war against corruption
Complain about this comment Comment number 4. Anna Hazare's approach to bring India to a Corrupt Free state is appreciated. It is a herculian effort by the 72 year old ex-army man turned social activist. He, sure has managed to captivate middle-class India's imagination and get the beleaguered government on the ropes. We are in solidarity with his idealogy and would come forward and extend our strong support for this great move to restore purity in administration. Complain about this comment Comment number 5. Is it for only violent protests? This is a nationalist movement.
People of India are soo feed up with the corruption that they consider this a a second war of independence. Bribes are paid is such small scale that a gas cylinder delivery boy needs his share for delivering the cylinder to Raja's multi billion dollar scam. Complain about this comment Comment number 6. The corruption has been increasing year by year. It starts when a baby is born. All poor people use the government hospital for birthing, which is supposed to be free.
You have to pay bribe to the midwives and nurses to be taken care.
Anna Hazare and India's war against corruption
If not, the mother will be left in a corner to suffer and it is the baby's luck to survive or suffer. Next, birth certificate. You have to bribe somebody to get it. It will be sitting in an officer's table. You have to bribe to move move - that is the word the papers so you get the certificate. Every international company doing business in India have to bribe. They do it indirectly. A legitimate 'agency' will 'take care' of it for a 'fee'. But it means bribing indirectly. There are laws in western developed world to punish those who directly or indirectly bribe.
But it happens all the time at all levels. The bigger the fish, the bigger the bribe you have to pay. Complain about this comment Comment number 7.