Friday, February 11, 2011

Should We Eliminate Corruption Completely?

A travels company has many buses. But, it has permits only for few buses, and does not have permits for many buses.

There are many schools which are operated without any registration. There are many other schools which are registered, but violates many rules.

There is a house which is not constructed as per the plan documents they had submitted.

There is a hotel which uses child labour.

There is a traffic constable, who takes bribe from all the traffic violators. He does not write receipts for anybody.

In all the above cases, the officers who come for regular checkup take bribe and leave.

Should we have a strong Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to punish all the corrupted people very severely?

I don't care about any of the above types of corruption. Because, in all these situations, the corruption is happening because of the other issues in the system. In few cases, the corruption must be there till the root cause is fixed. Otherwise, there may be bigger problems. I don't spend my time or resources to control the corruption in anyway other than solving the root cause. I don't care about the bills on anti-corruption, strengthening ACB, rallies for anti-corruption or many others which try to reduce the corruption in the above cases. Because, they won't improve the country.

The government is controlling the entire transport in the state. Because of their monopoly, the transport is very bad, and causing increase of private vehicles, pollution, consumption of petrol/diesel etc. Unless government increases the public transport significantly, the problems will not be solved. In the present situation, increase in the no.of buses is always good. But, government is not giving permits to everyone. If an officer allows a bus even by violating the rules, that would reduce the pollution, traffic and diesel/petrol. Following rules in this case would increase pollution, traffic and usage of diesel/petrol.

The government has many restrictions in registering a school. It is impractical for a small player to satisfy all the requirements to register a school. That's why, people are forced to do not register the school, or even if they register the school, they register without satisfying all the requirements. If we go with the rules, we will have to close more than 70% (or is it 90%?) of the schools in the state. Following rules in this case would just increase the illiteracy.

Even to construct a small house, the government has put so many restrictions. It is not possible for many to follow all the rules. If everyone has to follow the rules, then not that many people would construct the houses, the rents would increase drastically and there would be severe scarcity of the houses.

If the government provides free education and hostel facility to all the children who are poor, will any child work? If the government does not provide facilities for children to study, and if it does not allow children to work, what will they do? Following the rules in this case, would simply wastes the time of the children (They can neither earn knowledge nor money).

The duty of the traffic constable is to control the traffic. The fines that are imposed for the violators is to discourage the offenses. The fine should never be seen as an income to the government. Government should strive for zero traffic violators. If the traffic constable takes bribe from all the traffic violators, it is nothing but, he is imposing fine on all the traffic violators (Since, it is bribe, it would be less than the usual fine). If the government does not allow him to take bribe, but allow him only to collect the fine, then I am sure, they would not show that much interest in stopping every offender and collecting the fine. The total money that is collected as fine would be less than, what he would have collected as bribe. Because, many people would work more, if they can get some extra credit. If we follow rules in this case, then the fine would be imposed on less no.of offenders, and the traffic problem would not be solved completely.

There is one IAS officer who is considered as a very sincere officer in A.P. She does not do anything against the rules. She has reduced the corruption significantly in the first two cases. (By reducing the corruption significantly, the suffering/inconvenience of the people increased significantly.) If she contests in the election (even from Lok Satta Party), I will not vote for her. Because, her reduction in the corruption caused only reduction of the services to the common people. If she wins and is in the winning party, then definitely she would get a good post in the government. Instead of trying to solve the problems of the people, she would go by the rules, which are not good for the people. Finally, it will increase the problems of the people.

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  1. I will have to disagree with you in this regard. Lot of things to talk about, maybe at a time when we meet.

    - DSR

  2. You can mail me at tnsatish [AT] gmail [DOT] com

  3. You Sir, are an enlightened one. Wish there are many thinkers like you. Reminds of the saying "Penny wise, pound foolish"

  4. Interesting Analysis.
    Corruption should be eliminated from the public service sectors like Revenue dept, MRO offices, Treasurys, Agri based services etc. No dumb ass in those offices is willing to work for at least quarter of the salary paid.