India Uncut

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Friday, July 01, 2005


The Hindustan Times reports:
For those who believe that corruption in India is almost an industry, here’s proof. A survey conducted by Transparency International India (TII) says Indians paid bribes amounting to Rs 21,068 crore [US$ 4843 million appr] in the past year. And no one would have guessed it, but the biggest chunk of this money goes to schools till the Class XII level.

“The money was paid for either getting admission or certificates,” said Navin Sarangpani of the Centre for Media Studies (CMS), which carried out the study. The police (crime/traffic) were second in terms of collecting bribe money, accounting for Rs 3,899 crore.

This is not to say that schools are the most corrupt. That honour goes to the police who have been ranked the most corrupt according to a ‘corruption index’ prepared by the CMS. The reason schools receive the biggest chunk of bribe money is that “(the) proportion of citizens interacting with schools is much more than the police or municipalities,” said Sarangpani.
Bihar has been rated as the most corrupt state in India, and Kerala as the least. The article ends thus:
The CMS asked service providers for the reasons behind corruption. The excuse: a heavy workload, outdated infrastructure, political interference and lack of performance incentives.
Well, yes. But the biggest reason is discretion. Too many public servants have too much discretion over our activities, which is, in many areas, an unwarranted intrusion into our personal freedom. The more power the state has over its citizens, the more inevitable corruption is. Other factors do matter, but this is the grandma of them all.

(Link via email from MadMan.)
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