In yet another feather ruffling remarks on corruption, Ashis Nandy of JLF fame, astonished everyone, when he said that corruption is a social inclusion tool for the government employees, whose salaries are meagre, and hence corruption either in the form of
1. Taking bribe or
2. Under performing / never performing duties or
3. Having other business interests apart from their job or
4. Having connivance with brethren/family relations & take advantage of official positions
provides them an opportunity either to
1. Earn few extra bucks or
2. Provide them with free time, which they can spend qualitatively with family or
3. To gain riches by having specific information or
4. By distributing the exchequers wealth among his relatives respectively.
He mentioned that corruption is one of the driving force of this consumer economy, other economists had no choice but to agree with him. His explanation was that if offices are not corrupted, many projects would not have got the required clearances and it would have shunted the economy.
Economists also believe that Coal, Mining (iron ore & river bed sand) & 2G scams helped a lot in keeping the prices low. They argue that if the scams had not taken place, coal blocks & 2G spectrum would have been auctioned at their true price, and these prices would have been passed onto the consumer.
If mining wasn’t allowed, it would have caused huge unemployment and would have increased the prices of the steel & sand, which are the primary constituents of any construction activity.
Government officers constitute around 2% of the country’s population and even with their meager income, they are in the top 20% of the rich people in the country. Even though this claim cannot be verified, it can be deduced empirically by the amount of gold, land and other appliances seen in their possession during anti-corruption raids.
Nandy also feels that corruption has also helped Govt. employees to provide good education & better facilities to their children, which would have not been possible with their income and might have forced them to attend government schools, which is a complete disaster. He questions that if the aim of providing good education & better facilities amount to corruption?
Economists agree that if the government officers weren’t corrupt, all this money would have went to the state / national treasury and would have lied either unused due to lack of workforce or eaten by the babu’s and would not had a trickle down effect. But with the money in hands of low level cadre, they get to spend more and the economy grows.
They also suggested that for the economy to grow, they need to increase the corruption by clearing the pending applications for coal mining, power generation & highway building. When informed that these projects are getting delayed because of not having environmental clearances, they questioned what is an environment clearance and why is it needed to implement any project, which helps in growing the economy.
After this development, all the people from the reservation background had started protesting against Nandy, for the reason that they constitute more that 60% of the governmental work force and also because of their previous enmity with Nandy. People from the corporate sector are only jealous of the government workers, not because of the money they make, but because of the quality time they get to spend with their family.
When contacted, Nandy said that his comments were taken out of context, as expected. For a response to another question on, “Why do ministers and other people of high worth involve in corruption?”, he replied that they do not do it for money but for pleasure.
When asked on what pleasure they seek while indulging in corruption, he said that it is temporary satisfaction of being invincible that drives them, which they develop by thinking that they have outsmarted the policy or law in general. In general it is the “high” you feel when you take advantage of loop holes of the system, which can be generally seen among the common public at the time of filing taxes.
Manmohan Singh after listening to Nandy’s thesis, felt emboldened and announced to a gathering of reporters that he is & can not be corrupt as he is not an “under performer” as mentioned in Nandy’s definition of being corrupt, but is an under achiever.