The aam aadmi who robs from Peter to pay Paul. We may have our reasons, but every time we excuse ourselves, every time we force Peter to cough up when he shouldn’t have to, we make him a Paul to someone else. And that creates another Peter somewhere else…
Myths about small-ticket corruption:
- Big-ticket corruption excuses small-ticket corruption because it creates it as a trickle-down effect
- Proponents of the latter are justified when they point to their masters’ big-ticket deals and ask for these to be prosecuted first.
An effective anti-corruption stance requires a zero-tolerance approach (not a zero-loss one!). It must treat a five-rupee violation as seriously as a five-thousand-crore one.
|You cannot be any ‘less’ corrupt or any ‘more’ corrupt – you are either corrupt, or you aren’t|
- Investigating the trail of one million-dollar scam is far easier (forensically speaking; the political interference is another issue altogether) than the ten-thousand hundred-dollar deals that happen at government offices every day.
- A one-size-fits-all approach will not work. Solutions such as (Jan) Lok Pal are either overwhelmed to the point of impotence against the scale of small-ticket corruption – because it happens in more places than can be tackled effectively without having charges of bias or persecution levelled against it.
(This is not to say that Lokpals or Jan Lokpals are useless – in the right way, used in conjunction with other anti-corruption measures, these Acts may indeed make a huge difference to crime-fighting)
- Negative reinforcements, obviously, include legislation and enforcement of tough, speedy justice, demotions, threat of exposure, etc. But in a country where being a ‘rebel’ or ‘very smart’ is sometimes a sought-after label, this might not always work.
- Positive reinforcements such as recognition of and rewarding those government employees who are a credit to their job and their department by virtue of their efficiency, integrity and effectiveness.
- Over a period of time, as the volume of feedback grows, it can provide an objective and real-time measure of the quality of (administrative) governance.
- Since it would be a public list, people would be less likely to be corrupt as it would eventually be tracked by the system for the world (and their own families) to see…
- Additionally, it becomes a valuable resource for a citizen clueless about a particular task – he/she can log into the portal, pull up the task and be informed of the process and the personnel to approach for redressal.
- Most importantly, as a third-party-driven and -audited engagement, it can be an objective and acceptable standard for benchmarking performance, as well as be a Key Result Area when it comes to assessing government employees. High-scoring employees can then be incentivised (given that most people who are corrupt are forced to be because of commitments like fees, EMIs, etc., the incentives can take the form of increased benefits, allowances or subsidies)