Monday, January 27, 2014

Corruption in Private Organizations in India: Something People Do Not Seem to Bother Much !

When it comes to defining corruption, people in India often seem to be concerned with corruption that takes place with government controlled organizations such as the law enforcement organizations, the railways, the revenue and land record offices, the registration and tax offices, etc. Common people in India has accepted corruption by staff of some government departments as a standard practice and an unavoidable evil of the society. Bribe giving and bribe taking in small affordable amounts no more pinch any one so long as they get the work done either out of turn or a bit faster. This kind of corruption may be called the direct bribe tax of India. To make things easy for the bribe tax payer and the taker, now there are even agents who are known faces to both sides. Agents facilitate breaking the ice easier and make things much easier.

It is also in the common knowledge that this kind of direct bribe tax collection system is blessed by the supervising authorities and the top controlling authorities and there are even foolproof systems to evaluate the quantum of bribe tax collected so that the collections are distributed properly to all concerned without much internal disputes. 

Then there is the indirect bribe tax system where policy decisions are kept under an environment of whimsical dynamism by what is known as commissions. In this case the common people are not directly affected but only indirectly by way of price rises, inflation, etc. Common people perhaps know about it only through the exposures made by the forth estate called the media. The manner in which these exposures taking place often compel the common people to doubt on the involvement of the media business in these indirect bribe tax system.

Fortunately for every one, the majority people of India are not so worried about corruption so long as it does not affect them directly. They are also not much concerned with corruption that take place in the private domains of commercial activities whether it is education, communication, transport, real estate, health, insurance and the like.

Why is it so ? To understand that it is necessary to understand the general mindset of the people.

There are three kinds of people. 

The first kind and perhaps the minority kind are the people who are innately honest. They are tuned to their inner voice in such a way that they would not do an act of dishonesty because if they do it, it pinches and troubles them. Such people when employed in any organization would not try to cheat or cause any harm to any one. They follow the rules and the laws not because they fear any consequences, but because their own consciousness would not allow them to do it. They are satisfied with the remuneration or salary what they get as allowed by the rules and would not seek adopt corrupt practices to enhance their incomes by illegitimate means or corrupt practices. The society would benefit much if this kind of people are in a majority. In India, it is generally believed that this kind of people are a minority. Their numbers would be around 10 % or even less.

The second kind of people are the majority and these are the people who do not normally adopt any corrupt practices for their own benefits not because they are inherently honest, but because they do not have the opportunities or are scared of getting caught or punished. The fear of consequences and the lack of opportunity prevent them from adopting corrupt practices. Since they are not innately honest, the removal of fear of consequences or availability of favorable situations may change them completely. A person of this kind who used to appear as honest and has been preaching honesty or fighting corruption could one day become a fully corrupt personality. India which is rated as a nation of high corruption is believed to have a high percentage of this kind of people. Their numbers could be as high as 80%. They are inherently opportunists because they are inherently cowards. They tend to adopt the majority stand and they like to be with the majority. They support the majority voice. They would not like to expose their true nature to any one. What they talk in public may not be the same when they talk in private! They are the fence sitters.

The third type is again a minority and are the dare devils. They are openly and inherently evil and corrupt. They are not honest and they do not believe in such good character attributes of people. They would try to justify their acts of corruption by giving examples of those of the second type who are in majority. They believe everything is right in war, love, politics and business. Fear of punishments do not deter them and they think that they are too clever to over come such silly eventualities. If there are no opportunities, they would try and create opportunities for accomplishing their missions. Since they are not inherently honest, they may also know the art of buttering and talking pleasantly so that others would fall prey to their cunning acts. They are usually a minority and their percentages would be to the tune of only about 10%. But  they are the ones who try to perpetuate evil in a society and their acts influence the second category of people in such a way that more and more of the latter are taken to their fold.

So the people in any society could be divided in three classes as the good ones, the fence sitters and the evil ones. In a country like India which is generally perceived as corrupt their proportion would be 10:80:10. As such the good and the evil ones would balance each other generally. But the majority, the fence sitters make all the difference to the society at any given time. It is the perceptions of the fence sitters which decide the fate of a country or a society at any given time period. As the fence sitters are opportunists, they keep swinging from right to left or from evil to good or good to evil  from time to time.

But when people of inherent good and honesty increases, things would change positively. Otherwise, evil spreads and every one suffers. Ratio of inherently good or bad ones changes considerably only with generation changes. In general, percentage of good people increase (though marginally) with every generation. But so long as the fence sitters are a big majority, this change would not be much perceivable for many generations.

In India, corruption is not limited to public organizations. Private business organizations and religious organizations, non-governmental social service organizations, charity organizations are all affected by it because they all draw their peoples from the general fraternity of people.

In reality, the corruption in the education sector affects more people in India much more severely than any other form of corruption. And education sector in India is now predominantly in the hands of non-governmental trusts and societies, many of them declaring their objectives as religious, charitable or educational or social or all of these. The non social and non charitable corrupt practices they adopt affect the children and their parents severely and they do it as if permitted under the prevailing laws! It is a now common practice now that the managing boards of these private institutions mint money for themselves in the name of charity or educational social work in the guise of their honorary or voluntary works. They also bribe the personnel of the statutory bodies who are supposed to monitor their functions for compliance as per the laws for facilitating them to violate the rules with impunity.   

While it is easy to blame the people associated with the government sector as mostly corrupt, it is not true to assume that the private non-governmental sectors are corruption free in India. It all depends on the type of people they are comprised of. 

Private businessmen in many cases deal with public money. It could be the money of the general shareholders from the public or it could be money lent by the banks. These are public money and hence the business men have to use this money with care. They cannot spend this money for making money for them in any clandestine manner. If they do, it is corruption just the way it is dealt had it been in the governmental organizations or governmental business. 

Unfortunately for the country, and fortunately for those indulging in corrupt practices, India presently does not have suitable anti corruption laws that could give some deterrence in preventing corruption in the non governmental sectors. This has led to the proliferation of non-governmental organizations in India parading for doing social works and actually perpetuating corruption.

People associated with such organizations are fearing the rise of political parties such as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) because they fear the latter to clip whimsical powers that they have been enjoying  for personal gains.

And it would also be not so easy for AAP to have their organization built up using only the first kind of people!   

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