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As a business executive are you facing problems of doing business in India due to demands made by corrupt officials? As a citizen, is it becoming impossible to get what you are supposed to be getting anyway without having to pay a bribe? I am sadly not surprised at all to read that India’s poorest paid over Rs. 800 crore as bribes. This to get basic services one would expect as citizens of a democratic nation. The India Corruption Study makes for sad reading.

Unfortunately we have had a long history of corruption in India. The equation is simple. Most politicians get elected by buying votes. They then in turn take bribes to recover their investments. The aim is to make as much money as possible whilst in power. This has a cascading effect on bureaucrats- many of whom have “bought” their positions or have ” bought” their locations of posting. They too have only one aim, it seems. Get as much as they can as they seem to be beyond the law.

Interestingly, the Lok Ayukta, appointed by the Government seeks to bring to task corrupt officials. But it is disappointing to read that not much can be done against them. The Deccan Herald has a story of 10 “Babus” or bureaucrats being caught with Rs. 20 crores unaccounted assets.

These officials include N K Baladeva Krishna, IAS; Shiva Prakash, deputy commissioner of commercial tax; Narase Gowda, joint commissioner of commercial taxes; Amanulla Sharief, assistant commissioner of commercial tax; Khayum Ali, additional director of mines and geology; Mehboob Khan and Keshavamurthy, district registrars; H T Mahalingaiah, taluk executive officer; M Ramakrishnaiah, deputy superintendent of police, CoD and C R Bellari, executive engineer, PWD.

Shiva Prakash has property worth over Rs. 4.5 crores. His sister who has passed VII Std runs a travel agency with 102 cars.  Despite this, the Lok Ayukta says according to Government rules they cannot be suspended. Most likely nothing will happen to them.

I wonder what kind of bosses these people are. Do they expect their subordinates to be corrupt too and give them their share of the take? I wonder what kind of family values these people propagate. Do their wives, children and other family members cheerfully live off the takings? At mosque, temple or church, do they even occasionally get a twinge of conscience that their wealth is ill gotten?

Are they totally impervious to the fact that in today’s connected world their deeds or misdeeds will be known from Hawaii to Yokohama? They cannot be suspended but they can be shamed.

Small drops make an ocean. Resolve to do what you can in your individual capacity to put down corruption.

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This is Post No: 212 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success

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