Can Indian democracy survive without corruption?

After sixty five years of freedom, India as a democracy is steeped in corruption. If you are tasked with keeping track of incomes and expenses of the legitimate kind, there’s no escaping the daily reality that you live in a country where corruption is the very engine that drives its democracy.

Corruption is any person or institution who misuses the power and discretion given to it. Ordinary citizens face unnecessary problems in their routine interactions with governmental agencies owing to corruption. Practices such as the acceptance of favours or misappropriation of public funds have actually come to be described as ‘perks’ of people holding public office. The extent of corruption is often linked to the increasing disparity between the pay-scales offered in the public and private sectors and also increasing prices and sharp increase in people‚Äôs demands.

According to the former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, “Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life, and allows organised crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish.”

Legal and judicial measures for preventing corruption are only a part of the solution. The long-term solution lies in education at all levels – whereby the importance of personal integrity and the spirit of public service will be imbibed in our citizens. Such education has to take place not only in classrooms but in every aspect of society – the family, the upbringing, the workplace and even through public discourses. We need to revive a culture where examples of integrity, personal sacrifice and innovation are given due recognition and are practiced. Anti corruption measures could also include rewards or awards in government agencies for those who are honest to those who have done their bit in scaling down this menace.

Corruption at all levels leads to frustration amongst the country’s youth, who are the future of the country. Such negative vibes often destroy lives or demotivate youngsters and prevent them from doing any fruitful activities. Yuva Parivartan works as a guiding light for such young people who are school dropouts and are unable to do something worthwhile. Guidance and help is provided at all levels for their employment.

For more on Yuva Parivartan, log on www.yuvaprivartan.org