Corruption 1: Corruption- Can we fight it successfully, or no?

24 JULY 2023


1,0: What is corruption? What all practices can be designated as corrupt practices?

1.1: In India, the corruption is so profound, all pervasive and omnipresent that it may be more relevant to ask what practices are non-corrupt. This list may be smaller than the list containing corrupt practices. And corruption is assumed as a normal practice in any transaction. If you don’t assume there may be some corruption money needed to get the transaction completed or job done, you are taken as being naive or even a fool who cannot get anything done.

1.2: To get an idea of all-pervasiveness of corruption, let us look at some of the transactions where corruption is involved:

1.2.1: From my first-hand experiences:

My friend had to pay Rs. 10,000 to a lady assistant engineer in an electricity board to change a meter from an official to a residential one. When the lady asked for this amount for just one signature, my friend was shocked and asked her “is it not too much for just one signature that takes less than a minute.” She replied: I have paid Rs ten lakhs to get this job. I must recover it over a period. I have calculated assuming a reasonable payback period, and how many signatures I must put on request of the common citizen, I calculated and arrived at this figure of Rs.10,000 per signature. All her engineering education did not go waste, she has followed a systematic procedure to arrive at the figure!

My friend had to pay Rs. 10,000 for removing an electric wire that was carrying electricity to his home. The wire that was running beneath the ground was cut not by my friend but by the department laying water pipelines. Thus, one Government department helps another to earn corruption money. What a teamwork! Who says Indians in Govt. offices lack in teamwork?

Then there was another serious problem my friend faced in his home in a city which for some strange reason has come to be synonymous for water shortage for decades. No govt. to date could solve this problem for the citizens as water shortage gives unparalleled scope for corruption. My friend had to pay the same RS. 10,000 for getting a connection straight from the street end water source pipeline to his home and not through the labyrinth of connections to all the homes on the way. This tremendously increased the water supply rate to my friend’s house.

There is a rule that you cannot tap straight from the main common pipeline to your home using anything more than a half an inch pipe. Another Rs. 10,000 made this happen with a ¾ inch pipe, despite the rule, resulting in a lot more water available within the restricted water-supply hours.

My friends who are factory users or chiefs also pay a decent sum to the factory inspector every month i.e., a monthly salary, you know for what? For not coming to their factories!

Incidentally the lowest amount that is demanded as corruption is Rs. 10,000. It looks like it is decided by a coordination meeting to fix corruption amounts for the services rendered. What a co-ordination and co-operations between Govt. departments! But your file for any govt. approval gets stuck with glue unless you pay the corruption charges for that table. Here again there is thorough coordination.

The system of corruption collection has been simplified over the years; a system study it looks like has been done and to make it easier for the public to pay the corruption money, there has now cropped up a single window system. You pay the money at one single window and then your file moves at a speed far faster than even in private enterprises! Who says govt. employees are not efficient and effective? Give the corruption money and see the amazing improvement in speed of movement of your matter/files. A German friend of mine was with me in India and observing this phenomenon of fast file movement, expressed that even in Germany the files do not move that fast.

But one more thing can be done to make the file movement even faster: just put up a board containing the names of the services rendered at the Govt. office and the corruption money (call it by a decent name, if you feel bad, say speed money or by the name of the fastest train in the country). This board is like a board containing the item and the price that is seen in a lot of places. This saves a lot of time that goes in the negotiation between the citizen and the official because the citizen thinks wrongly that this being corruption money can be negotiated down. This saving of time results in increasing the velocity of corruption money, thus increasing the collections over a given time. Also, nobody need hear the unpleasant negotiation conversations.


From the very few indices without brackets in the minus column, the conclusions under 11.2 are right.

From the number of indices with brackets under minus it is also clear that a significant number of expert opinions went wrong.

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