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Can corruption be tackled in India?
There is a growing row over the suspension of IAS officer, Durga Shakti Nagpal, posted in Uttar Pradesh (UP). She was officially fired for overseeing demolition of a mosque in Noida. But the truth of the matter was that she was pursuing sand-mafias very closely. The UP High Court has left the matter to the relevant parties; the state government and the officer.

The Congress Party President and UPA Chairperson, Ms. Gandhi, has requested Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to treat Ms. Nagpal on a fair basis.  If one wants to analyze the situation from a distance with some neutrality, then one can find merit in the arguments of both pro- and anti-Nagpal groups.

To be precise, corruption in theory, is a bad thing and it should not guide the evolution of a society, no matter how big or small it may be. But, this is not the way how Indian society functions. In practice, corrupt practices is an integral part of the Indian social and political lives. It is a trend in India. The fact is that in order to respect and protect the mandate and for the larger good of the people, politicians and bureaucrats have to allow corruption many times.

In order for better and stable governance many things, which are otherwise negative have to be permitted by the elites. Sure, they are the biggest beneficiary in the process and this might be a dictating and driving reason in letting these things go on.

Should there be no check over corrupt practices, criminality and misrule? There should be, but it needs to be quantified. One needs to understand the distributive aspects of such practices and if a sizable fraction of population, say up to 5%, are itself involved in corrupt practices, one way or the other, then it should be considered to be tolerable. The political and bureaucratic elites do reflect the reality of a society and they are definitely not the wanderers of an imaginary-land.

There is not much for academicians to lecture elites, when a significant population is infected by such diseases. The argument that how many people are involved in taking bribes, looting the public money, and in other corrupt practices, should be analyzed in the context of how many can violate the written and coded laws. If up to 5% of the population is corrupt in any sense, then it should be considered that the disease is widely contagious. 

It does not mean that status-quo should be maintained and nothing should be done to free a society of the social menace. In order to cure it in a big state like UP, it requires the most fundamental changes in the way it thinks and behaves. UP is the least regional and the most castiest state in India. It should be reversed. UP should try to become more regional and Hindu-Muslim relations must improve for that. After which, UP should grow more and more in an equitable manner. The growth should be fair and inclusive to the extent possible. All is fair in India, when one is better-off.

That would stabilize the demographic equations and therefore, the state. Growth would result in better salaries and better-directed subsidies. The desire to seek investment and be a part of dynamic India aspiring for commanding heights would obviously make ways for more fairness, better transparency and more efficiency. The system would become more rewarding and harmonious. But it requires constant growth for decades and some control over net birth rates. Without the generation of wealth, UP is more likely to be what it is today. The class and caste dominance is allowed in Hinduism and the way Islam is practiced in India, Muslims are not much different than what Hindus are in these aspects.  /p>

But, one thing is certain that if the UP state government is not able to provide a clean government at the top, then at least the politicians should put in an effort at the local level to do so. Time has changed and it has changed forever: the possessed people aspire for more and dispossessed people strive for basic necessities. This is as true in UP as much as it is in the sensitive state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The fact is that Omar Abdullah is the best Chief Minister of the state from Indian perspective.

Still, the people in the state accuse his government of indulging in corrupt practices and not being able to provide the basic amenities in an effecient manner. If Abdullah government is able to keep the public happy over the fundamental requirements, then the larger political unrest in the valley could be contained to some measurable extent and also demands for separate statehood of Jammu and Kashmir could be contained. But, Mr. Abdullah should strive for regionally homogeneous policy about infrastructure and should promote economic vitality and dynamism in the state. The same is true for Akhilesh Yadav’s government in UP.

The fact is that be it Mr. Yadav in UP, Mr. Abdullah in J&K, Mr. Kumar in Bihar, Mr. Chauhan in Madhya Pradesh, Ms. Jayalalitha in Tamil Nadu, people’s basic demands should be met with as much neatness and efficiency as far as possible. There should be proper electricity and water supply, good roads, good schools, better hospitals and decent public places in all states in India to keep the people of their respective state happy.

The consciousness demands that basic necessities, like, food, clothing, and housing be provided for each and everyone. If the state and Union government is unable to live up to the expectations of ordinary people, then upheavals and mass protests may take place in India too. The unrests and social protests are not good for India, as it could destabilize the society and increase the acrimony among people. It is better that the mood and moment be gauged at the earliest possible stages and the elites take preventive steps to accommodate rising expectations as per their capacities. 

Therefore, if governance at local level is good and there is decent infrastructure available all over the places then corruption can be tolerated at the top level for some more time. One needs a bright economic future and some check over the increasing population to contain the rise of corruption in India. But then there is another way: to direct rising consciousness towards fairness. It is a very difficult task indeed in India. There is not much point in repenting the suspension of an IAS officer. There is no point celebrating it either.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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