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Corruption: a weapon of mass destruction

Corruption

While integrity is the most powerful trait to win over, corruption is the most potent weapon to conquer.

Corruption is more powerful than any weapon invented ever to destroy your enemy, slowly, using their own people and resources and with minimum bloodshed and cost. It is a creeping guerrilla warfare damaging the target slowly, steadily and unobtrusively. It is an invisible weapon, once triggered goes on auto pilot with no fuel to keep it running. It generates its own fuel and spreads wherever it can reach unobtrusively. Our enemies use it effectively to slowly destroy our unity. It is used surreptitiously as a powerful bait on the lower rungs of security establishment to gain information, access, plant destructive devices and walk away with no foot prints left, making it difficult to trace the origin, to be used as an evidence.

Corruption if used ingeniously and patiently enables even a Lilliput to conquer an Oliver. Such is the power of destruction of this unobtrusive weapon. It is part of a larger design of intrigue where the fence eats the crop. It has been used in ancient times (Puranas) to corrupt the mind of enemy’s men to make them wage war (non-cooperation) against their own master and in turn achieving the objective. The same weapon is now destroying our society though without an identifiable hand behind it. Should we allow this self- destruction to work towards our own end?

ease of living index

Ease of Living Index

Global credit and investment rating agencies periodically release veiled threat of downgrades on credit rating and investment climate, to perennially keep the situation under check, for investors. Ease of doing business refers to the ease with which potential businesses are able to get through various approvals, papers processed, predictability and consistency of tax laws, quality and delivery efficacy of physical, social and institutional infrastructural services critical to businesses.

Being preoccupied with ease of doing business what is lost sight of is the Ease of Living, the superset of ease of doing business, which subsumes ease of doing business. Ease of living is the perception based on day to day experience of average citizens; the travails one undergoes while fulfilling needs of a normal day to day life.  These include access to various basic civic / municipal services, safety, grievance redressal, predictability, reliability of institutional support system (police, judiciary, urban local bodies, neighbourhood experience).

Lack of attention to Ease of Living (even the phrase has not been coined yet?) could be due to global institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and the UN not yet started talking about it (not in their dictionary); preoccupied with Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Human Development Index (HDI), Air Quality Index and so on, which has to fade or go out of fashion, for new terms like ELI to surface.

Good governance : fundamental right in a democracy

In order that governments do not take their masters (citizens) for granted and recognise their existence only in the run up to the elections, it appears prudent for progressive democracies to include good governance, liberally defined, as a fundamental right of citizens. This alone will make governments in developing democracies accountable to the citizens.

Governance issues in democracy are many and varied. Poor governance include discrimination in application of laws, non responsiveness to citizen issues, transparency of rules and their effective and uniform implementation, corruption, misuse of privileges and office, lack of public debate on larger issues, nepotism in dispensing state benefits and favours, opaqueness and evasive tactics, delay in award of justice, low access to information, misuse of state machinery.

Good governance should be made a fundamental right to be enforceable through a court of law