Ways to Combat Corruption

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Corruption - defined as 'the abuse of public power for personal ends' - has always existed. Corruption occurs when organisations or individuals profit improperly through their position in an activity, and thereby cause damage or loss. The most disquieting aspect of the widespread corruption is the fact that it is not anymore confined to politicians or the government machinery alone. It is prevalent amongst almost every section of the society at every level.

Corruption hampers national, economic, social and political progress. It reduces competition and efficiency. This results in lowering of effectiveness, productivity and fair competitiveness. Corruption flourishes because it is a low-risk, high-profit activity. Corruption flourishes in our system because of five basic reasons. These are: (i) scarcity of goods and services; (ii) red tape and complicated rules and procedures; (iii) lack of transparency in decision-making; (iv) legal cushions of safety for the corrupt under the ‘healthy’ principle that everyone is innocent till proved guilty; and (v) tribalism or biradari among the corrupt who protect each other. The popular phrase is ‘thick as thieves’ not ‘thick as honest people’. Broadly speaking there are two types of corruption - one is extortionary corruption, in which there is no choice but to assert collectively with knowledge. For this to happen the citizens must be mobilized at the local level and they must understand in what manner the public services are supposed to be delivered. They should then learn to assert in a very creative and constructive manner to change the situation. A lot of improvisation in procedures, for instance computerization of railway and airline reservations and certain procedural changes like queue system properly implemented with transparency - all these will certainly help. When it comes to the grand corruption i.e. the collusive type, you need to have right to information and also strong...
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