After the landslide victory of AAP in Delhi, chief minister Mr. Arvind Kejriwal declared Delhi will be the first corruption free state in India. The sounded sweet to corruption battered ears of average Delhite. Question is how to tackle corruption? Mr. Kejriwal suggested “if anyone asks for bribe, do not resist. Record the conversation and bring it to me. I shall take action.”
This may sound easy solution to our corruption problem. To me there appears to be at least two issues. Firstly, the idea of recording a demand for bribe may work if it is a surprise move. If it is repeated regularly, either the person demanding a bribe may ensure that there is no recording device nearby or he may not ask for bribe but simply not provide the service he is paid his salary for.
A second problem could be common man may come in from various distinct social strata. From down to street level vendor to rich business people. Different people have different ideas of corruption. Some may think it is corrupt to pay bribe, but not bat an eyelid if they do not declare their income to tax authorities by accepting payment in cash. A young real estate dealer was an ardent fan of Arvind Kejriwal. He dreamt of Arvind Kejriwal kicking him for not participating in anti-corruption movement. However, I was surprised when he offered my a plan where if I put an amount in his business I shall expect to get 30% return. He promised that if I invest the amount, he will return my original investment in cheque and profit in cash. Since we were discussing anti corruption movement of Arvind Kejriwal, I asked him what Arvind will think, if he finds out. My friend from real estate did not answer. My point is, we all have different ideas of what constitutes corruption. Usually, we exclude our own activities from the ambit of corrupt practices. There are a lot many of us like this.
In my view, corruption can only be tackled if we have clear, fool proof system. A case in point is system to acquire passport in Delhi. Government has created a system, I do not know if it was done by UPA or by NDA, that is as close to being transparent as possible. There is hardly any scope of corruption because everything is out there in open. Passport office informs the candidate about his interview date, status of his passport, gives number of ACP in case someone does not get his police enquiry done within 21 days of application.
I think we need many more such systems, where all the rules are explained upfront and made idiot proof. In the absence of such a system, once Kejriwal leaves for national campaign, corruption will be back on Delhi streets. Because all of us want easy money, for which we do not have to work hard.
Tags: AAP, Arvind Kejriwal, Bribe, Corruption, Real Estate Dealer, Passport Office, System