4. Corruption in India

India has unfortunately become notorious for corruption and scandals amounting to  lakhs of crores.  How far have the discretionary powers of Ministers and Senior Civil Servants  contributed to this?

How far have Civil Society movements  awakened the people?

Can you suggest some positive measures for eradicating corruption?

High light the fact that while Ministers belonging to opposition ruled states, or non-Congress Parties are being tagteted, none from the Congress have been targeted?

30 thoughts on “4. Corruption in India

  1. It seems as if only the honest people are poor in India, whereas all the corrupt ones are getting rich through scams and crime.

     India tops the list for black money in the entire world with almost US$1456 billion in Swiss bank in the form of black money.
     Recent scams involving a very big amounts of money ,such as 2g spectrum scam, CWG , Adarsh society scam , Land de-notification scam (Karnataka), Illegal Mining scandal(Karnataka).

     Many of the biggest scandals since 2010 have involved very high levels of government, including Cabinet Ministers and Chief Ministers, such as in the 2G spectrum scam, the CWG scam and the Adarsh Housing Society scam, mining scandal in Karnataka and cash for vote scam.

     The vigilance chief Mr. Thomas and around 600 officials involved in illegal mining scandal (lokayukta report) tells the contribution of civil servants in corruption.

     Civil society Movements has highlighted the importance of democracy.

     India has a long history of civil movements, topped by Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent protests that led to end of British colonial rule.

     Existing institutions and laws must be strengthened to enable them to tackle corruption, and to protect those who blow the whistle on corruption.

     RTI and equivalent acts , computerization of services increases the transparency and thus reduces the Corruption.


    1. Good suggestions. After Gandhiji, there have been Civil Society movements against environmental degradation and protection of the tribes but none so momentous as Annna’s crusade against corruption.

      Incipient movements have started in America and Europe , people asking why 99 percent of the people should suffer to keep one percent rich?


    2. I’d like to add few points to your 7th point.
      1> Along with strengthening law, some system change is must to tackle corruption. Example: In USA there is committee which can monitor govt. behavior.(bill clinton monica lewinsky case). I expect a monitoring system in India which can CONTROL govt. if gone wrong.
      2> We need some strong punishment laws against politicians. Otherwise even person commit big crime and walkout with bail next day.

      Thank you

  2. 1. Corruption and scandals amounting to lakhs of crores.

    Yet another view point of conversions and additional nomenclatures to Lakhs and Crores.

    Earlier it was only Kalmadi, Radia and Raja. Now some more added.

    New Unit Conversion Scale developed in India 🙂

    10 Lakhs= Neelima Takshak RAS, Misuse post for money

    100 Neelima Takshak’s = KPSC Chairman H K Krishna, Misuse post for money(100+ Crores)

    100 Crore = 1 Yeddi

    100 Yeddi = 1 Reddy

    100 Reddy = 1 Radia

    100 Radia = 1 Kalmadi

    100 Kalmadi = 1 Pawar ( All A gri prices rigging)
    100 Pawar = 1 Raja
    100 Raja = 1 Sonia

    2. Civil Society movements awakened the people

    1) New building norms introduced by Municipal Commissioner of Greater Mumbai- The proposed new building norms will at one stroke reduce misuse of discretionary powers of Municipal Commissioner and thus significantly reduce FSI scams and massive corruption in Building Proposals department. More importantly, the new norms creates transparency in real estate transactions immensely benefiting flat purchasers. (It is well known that existing Vigilance Dept was colluding with the corrupt).
    2) RTI, PDS and a teenager- The continuing crusade of a teenager in Gujarat forced the Government to pass an order under section 4(1)(b) of RTI Act, making it compulsory for all fair price shops in the State to disclose all the details about rations received and kept in the ration shop. At one single stroke, the teenager reduced corruption in the PDS and alleviated the suffering of the masses who depend on ration shops for food grains. Unfortunately, this achievement was ignored by the media.
    3) Reforms in indirect taxation- Introduction of Goods and Service Tax (GST) will eliminate multiple taxes, significantly reduce tax evasion, corruption and black money, reduce consumer prices and increase State revenues! It is estimated that India’s GDP will increase by 2% by introduction of GST. For the first time in history, India will usher in a “Common Market”.
    4) Reforming subsidies- Creating efficiencies in subsidy delivery system to targeted sections of society based on UID/AADHAAR- Nandan Nilekani would be creating a revolution. The sums involved in subsidies are mind boggling in multiples of 2G scam, and that too annually! This will not only reduce quantum of subsidies, but simultaneously reduce wastage, inefficiencies and corruption inherent in the system.

    Most political parties in power – whether the Congress at the Centre or the BJP in the states – use black money to enrich themselves. The number of crorepati-MPs has risen exponentially from 156 in the 2004 Lok Sabha to 315 in the 2009 Lok Sabha. Significantly, the number of MPs with criminal chargesheets filed against them has also risen during the same period – from 128 to 162.

    3.Eradicating Corruption

    In any fight against corruption, the ability for a country to detect acts of corruption and to
    prosecute those guilty of committing them is essential to deter(Eradicate) corruption.
    There are several channels through which detection and punishment capacity is realized. Let
    me mention seven of them here:
    (A) An independent and impartial judicial system,
    (B) an official anticorruption agency such as Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), 11
    (C) existence of grassroots “watchdog” organizations,
    (D) a telephone “hot line” as those in the United Kingdom and Mexico that allow citizens to complain directly to the government,
    (E) public opinion surveys such as those carried out by Public Affairs Center in Banglore, India or by the World Bank’s
    Economic Development Institute in other countries that register the public’s attitude, particularly those of the poor, towards corruption,
    (F) freedom of the press to bring to light any official corruption, and finally
    (G) democracy that serves the dual purpose of throwing corrupt officials out of power by the populace and protecting those individuals and organizations that dare to expose corrupt officials.
    All of these channels are potentially important.

    4.Congress: Opposition ruled states, or non-Congress Parties
    By using its power at the centre Congress party is trying its best to cover the shit under the sheets of some good men in them and
    As the proverb goes “You shouldn’t saw off the branch you’re sitting on.” this is a old proverb. Now for the congress it is cutting down the tree by branches and it means what we’re doing now is lighting a bar of dynamite, letting it fall to the base of the tree and while the fuse is still burning we’re climbing down from the tree and go to a safe distance.

  3. Hi all, Actually The topic and questions Needed a quite Descriptive answers. I have tried my best to reduce the no of words and to be precise in my Comments.

    All your replies in regard to my comments are welcome.

  4. “Honesty is the best policy” until unless the Ministers and Senior Civil Servants not follow this, their discretionary powers lead to various scandals like 2G, illegal mining, selection of gazetted professional in kpsc…etc. Global financial integrity (GFI) the renowned international advocacy group quoting the report conclude that India lost $213 billion between 1948 & 2008 through illicit financial flows were generally the product of corruption, bribery and kickbacks, criminal activities, and effort to hide wealth from country tax authorities.
    In democracy ‘Revolutions are not made, they come’ example: Anna hazare movement, movements against black money………these Revolutions have objects of raising awareness about the need to cleanse public life.
    Efficient & effective implementation of( executive, legislation, judiciary) e-governance, CAG, RTI, lokayukta, CBI & other departments lead to transparency in governance, more than this honest, creative & competent political leadership is required to address these corruption scandal challenges.
    In federal system controversy is always generated between Union government & State government, but present union government (UPA), handicapped by its own scandals like 2G, common wealth game corruption……..etc, this multidimensional crisis in the union government spurred the opposition to concerted political action that would have bought decisive political gains. But whenever the opposite leadership has sought to work towards this, skeleton have invariably tumbled out of its own cupboards. The forced removal of two chief ministers –B.S.Yeddyurappa in Karnataka and ramesh pokhriyal in uttarakhand- is a case in point.

    1. In democracy ‘Revolutions are not made, they come’ example: Anna hazare movement, movements against black money………these Revolutions have objects of raising awareness about the need to cleanse public life. Very true and they are coming. Young people like you have woken up


  5. As part of corruption in India, Ministers of both Union and State government are misusing their Discretionary powers. I would like to share few examples.
    1> In Karnataka, many ministers are in judicial custody for misusing discretionary powers in land denotification to loot hundreds of crore.
    2> Prime minister office directing Petroleum Gas companies to provides gas to ministers personal factory at very cheap price.
    3>* According to me even political party issuing whip is also one kind of misusing discretionary powers against individual choice.
    4> Recently few Senior Civil Servants were been arrested for possession of disproportionate assets, which obviously could be from misuse of their powers.

    Civil Society movements like one lead by Kisan Baburao Hazare has influenced a lot in India. Best example is Hazare opposed congress candidate in Hisar constituency and condidate lost.

    I’d like to suggest few points to eradicating corruption in India.
    1> Instead of taking secrecy oath, let all elected candidates take oath of transparency including defense and International relations and implement it 100%. In defense if our dear ministers are internally planning to lower the defense capabilities compared to pakistan let the people know. Our dear prime minister Lal Bahadur Srivastava Shastri died in mysterious circumstance and still now congress is not ready to reveal the secret(of course congress secret hand).
    2> Must encourage whistle blowers against corruption.
    3> Our MPs/MLAs are so brave that they make sure that their case in court will run for many years. So, according to me any case related to any elected candidate MUST be finalized with in 6 months. If found guilty they MUST be punished with countries TOP level punishment like death sentence including confiscating their wealth. Because elected person crime is against people faith, delegated responsibility and integrity of country. Without strict punishment no rule can’t do anything.

    Regarding stepmother attitude or non cooperation among union and state government in India is really a very bad political environment for country growth. This issues must be solved immediately through constitution.

    Targeting non government political party members is common everywhere. It’s human bad behaviour.

    Thank you.

  6. our country got independence in 1947 since then even after 60 years of independence we are still a develpoing country the main reason for this is the corruption which is wide spread in every field. The author of the Arthasastra made some remark on government officials of his time which are relevant even today: “Just as it is impossible not to taste the honey or the poison that finds itself at the tip of the tongue, so it is impossible for a government servant anot to eat up at least a bit of the king’s revenue.
    The corruption prevail in such a matter that at each and every aspect their is corruption like to get legal a paper in government, to get a seat in college, to get an immediate and important operation etc in all small and each corner of society this evil exist. Its present not only in our country but also in other countries .
    The most dangerous fact is that now bribe and corruption taking in society as become reputation.if one is not taking then he is isolated even in public and his image is useless. Such a state is existing every where. It is hierarchical it exist from top to bottom. it exist not only in towns but also in villages where the rich, merchants and village officials practice it for their own economical purpose.

    impact on society:
    corruption has negative impact on society. it is creating wide gap among the rich and poor. the rich are becoming richer and richer and poor are becoming poorer and poorer.this has led to many uprising like arab spring where the central african countries like tunasia, libiya,egypt etc where they were able to end the long lasting dictatorship.
    in india their are many scams like 2G scam,S spectrum, ADARSH housing, common wealth games scam etc if all are listed then it would take pages together by these kinds of cases it can create negative impresson on our country in global market and which can even reduce our economy like FDI.
    I cannot wholly agree that any law or acts on anticorruption can totally crub the corruption.
    its the individual thought, their responsiblity towards society can only make it possible. To happen this the individual should be educated, only the educate can bring the revolutionry in the society.
    untill their are bribers their will be bribe.

    1. I don’t agree with your view on eradicating corruption.
      1> Can educated fellow eradicate corruption? Is our prime minister, home minister, .. are not educated? then from past 8 years of govt. why there’re many scams?
      According to me, those mythological times of being honest has gone. We can’t relay on that. There should to one to monitor another act or bebavior.
      2> I disagree “untill their are bribers their will be bribe.”

      You know how lazy 99% of govt. officials in their work. So if I pay 50 Rs to an official to get LEGAL work done now than after 2 hours. Do you think in this context briber is wrong? why can’t an official do same kind of efficient work without bribe?

      If a contractor pays bribe to an official for ILLEGAL/non-compliance work, why the official should accept the bribe? is he not getting the salary? does official not have discretionary power to act against briber?

      Thank you

  7. Information is power. It will make the people informed and informed individual become enlightened Individual. Sweden was the first country in the world to introduce the right to information in 1766.Other Scandinavian countries followed Sweden but very lately.

    THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT Came into force on the 12th October, 2005 in India. By this citizens are secure access to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority. This Act applies both to Central and State Governments and all public authorities.
    The Central RTI Act extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
    Impact on Indian Society
    The Act is influencing people to come forward and question the progress on various welfare schemes, creating a positive change in the most backward areas like Eastern UP, Bihar , Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh , Karnataka , Assam and in Maharashtra. For e.g. Labourer employment programs initiated in UP and Bihar.
    The application are mostly related with the public office and public officials. like
    Even the most backward sections of rural societies are seeking information related to Prime Minister’s Employment Scheme, Indira Awaas Yojna, ration card, midday meal, uniform distribution in the schools and the conditions of village roads.
    Most questions in RTI applications are related to public distribution system, Ration card, BPL card , Indira Awaas Yojna, lands, irrigation, corruption in the welfare schemes and day to day working of local village administration.
    Penalties are imposed on the authority who are not provided the information on RTI act penalties Under the Act
    • If concerned officer does not provide information in time, a penalty of Rs 250 per day of delay can be imposed by the Information Commissioner.
    • If the information provided is false, a penalty of a maximum of Rs 25000 can be imposed.
    • A penalty can also be imposed for providing incomplete or for rejecting your application for malafide reasons.
    • This fine is deducted from the officer’s personal salary
    Disadvantage of the Act :
    That it provide the information on demand that is by prepared RTI applications and questioned the administration where it does not involve in educating people about their right to access information — vital in a country with high levels of illiteracy and poverty — or the promotion of a culture of openness within official structures. Without widespread education and awareness about the possibilities under the new Act, it could just remain on paper
    But the Right to Information Act also excludes Cabinet papers, including records of the council of ministers, secretaries and other officials, this effectively shields the whole process of decision-making from mandatory disclosure.
    By enacting the Right to Information Act India has moved from an opaque and transparency system of government where the citizen will be empowered and the true centre of power. Only by empowering the ordinary citizen can any nation progress towards greatness and by enacting the Right to Information Act 2005 India has taken a small but significant step towards that goal.

  8. Corruption In India is a topic in both Public Administration and Political Science. Certainly it is burning toic in General studies. You may even get an essay question in the Compulsory Essay paper. I have included in this bloc a very perceptive and analytical article by Prof. Gourav Vallabh Gourav Vallabh who is professor of finance at XLRI
    Jamshedpur) published in the Indian express (8 Nov.11) under the heading : India needs a Bribery Act

  9. Corruption is present at every level in India, from governments to companies and even individuals. It is either the collusive or coercive action of a public official vis-a-vis a member of the public to subvert the system over relatively small transactions (petty corruption) or there is a subversion of the system by senior government officials and formations of the political executive, usually in collusion with private sector players (grand corruption).

  10. Prof.Gaurav adds: Both of these have multiple cost associated with them. The political cost is weakened public trust in political institutions, reduced political participation etc; the economic cost reduces economic efficiency by misallocation of resources; and the social cost is they distort the value systems and wrongly attach elevated status to occupations that have rent-seeking opportunities.

  11. Again the learned Professor adds: Given this, a realistic strategy to combat it needs to be a participatory one that enlists input in devising and cooperation in implementing, from various actors involved. We need a combination of prevention, enforcement and awareness raising measures within the framework of governance.

  12. Prof. Gaurav: The current laws however have some gaps or loopholes that make them ineffective to tackle corruption. The most prominent Act on this front is the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, which is a federal law enacted by Parliament to combat corruption in government agencies and public sector businesses. The Act prescribes penalties ranging from imprisonment for up to five years to an unlimited fine. However, fines imposed for criminal offences in India have seldom served as a deterrent on account of their quantum.

  13. Prof. Gaurav:Although, the anti-bribery legislation in India has been on the statute books since 1988, successful prosecutions resulting in imprisonment are more the exception than the rule. There are various bottlenecks of the Act, one of which is the requirement of obtaining prior sanction of an appropriate authority before any court takes cognisance of an offence by a public servant. Past experience has shown that these provisions have often resulted in long delays due to inordinate delays in according sanction. It is advisable that no prior sanction is required in cases where the officer is caught red handed; and in cases where permission is required, a timeframe should be specified within which the sanctioning authority must communicate its decision. The UK Bribery Act, 2010 being a stricter regulation enforced with urgency will help remove this bottleneck if implemented in India.

  14. Adds the learned Professor: Another problem with the Act is the lack of provisions for protection of whistle-blowers and witnesses. The Act also does not expressly seek to punish corrupt acts of private parties, except to a limited extent through Section 8, 9 and 12. Thus there is no direct provision prohibiting a private person from offering a bribe or engaging in corrupt practices. Such a provision is required to ensure that all parties to a corrupt deal are dealt with adequately and is important in cases of ‘collusive corruption’ where the private person may be the initiator and the public servant may even have rejected the bribe. The UK Bribery Act covers both bribing and accepting a as offences.

  15. You will do well to master the points raised by the Respected Professor: A substantial portion of wealth created through corrupt means finds its way to bank accounts outside the country. This stresses the need for a global Act. The UK Bribery Act being international in its outlook can help in this front.

  16. Another important anti-corruption Act is the Benami Act, 1988, which was introduced to provide for government acquisition of property held benami. This was put in place considering that most of the wealth in India which is accumulated through corrupt means gets invested in benami immoveable property, gold and jewellery, high value consumer goods. However, the rules to make the confiscation of property and other provisions effective have not been issued. The UK Bribery Act will help counter these transactions because it establishes guidelines that a company needs to follow including proper documentation, risk assessment and has anti-corruption procedures and policies in place.

  17. Continuing the article: At present extradition and mutual legal assistance is accomplished through a series of bilateral treaties. As a roadmap for enhancing international cooperation and strengthening of the institution of central authority for mutual legal assistance is needed. The UK Bribery Act will only be a step further to increase the mutual assistance and international cooperation.

  18. The Learned Professor again: (I have not meddled with his article at any point}: One of the most (if not the most) effective deterrents to being involved in a serious competition law breach is the risk of personal liability which is beautifully captured in Section 14 of the UK Bribery Act. It ensures that directors and other seniors in a company have a direct individual incentive to be committed to ensuring that their company has an effective bribery law compliance culture. This personal liability will make the act strong and increase the chances of it being a successful tool for curbing corruption.

  19. Prof.Gaurav: However there are problems that need to be tackled if such an Act is implemented in India. For it to work, the organisation needs to have due diligence policies and procedures in place to cover all parties to a business relationship, like undertaking background checks on individuals and/or organisations with which the company does business. The lack of a central database makes it extremely difficult for the organisations to carry out such extensive checks. The Bribery Act, essentially provided for removal of facilitation payments as a long term objective, however sets Indian organisations in a state of confusion because if such payments are made they would be illegal and documenting them would be a evidence of the same. On the other hand if they are not documented the organisation would be forfeiting the principle of being open and transparent in respect of all transactions. The effective implementation of the Act further becomes impossible due to the lack of awareness of local anti-corruption law amongst the stakeholders and the general public.

  20. The issue of gifts and hospitality also forms a major challenge for the implementation of the Act because in India gifts are considered as a way of life. (Comment mine: On every imaginable occasion gifts are sentand tgen follows the equest for a favour. Doctors in paticular are sought to be tempted by visits – paid for by the Pharmaceutical Companies)

  21. The government may start by separating the market regulator from the market operator. It may think of having a two-tier structure for regulators to avoid concentration of power in few hands and thereby address the risks of corruption. This may include creation of a unified regulator (As recommended by the Mckinsey & Co report on India Banking 2010 Towards a High-performing Sector), distinct from the RBI, in a phased manner to overcome supervisory difficulties and reduce compliance cost.

  22. A very learned analysis. And since the courts have become very active after the Anna Hazare Movement and many ministers are beig jailed and bail is not given liberally, corruption is bound to be tackled on a war footing. If this is not done, Civil society will rise in revolt. I was happy to read the S.C.ordering the CBI to give Swamy a photo copy of the letter signed by Mr. Chidambaram. Incidentally I am reading the biography of Assange, the greatest whistle blower in history.

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