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Bribery in Business

Bribery in Business

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Published by Abhijit Jadhav

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Published by: Abhijit Jadhav on Sep 23, 2009
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The survey further reveals that a minimum of 13 clearances are required to start a new venture and the ordeal could last a minimum of 33 days. Obtaining a licence requires 20 clearances and could take 224 days if you remain on the fast track with an open purse. Registering property involves six clearances taking 62 days. Whatever new methods may be devised to check corruption, the Indian ingenuity would find ways of checkmating them.

Still, the commission has recommended a unique company number to get all clearances at one go, hoping that this would drive out corruption. Sometimes, one wonders how people are able to get into business and make a success of it. It seems Indian businessman too is equally corrupt and soon learns how to loot and rob the consumer because, ultimately, the costs of bribe are passed on to the buyer and consumer.

National Knowledge Commission survey’s findings are startling. Sixty-one per cent—who started businesses between 2000-07—said they did not get a bank loan when they started. “There was a high perception among entrepreneurs that it is very difficult to get bank loans at the start-up stage though it becomes comparatively easy at the growth stage”, the survey said. Naturally, once you are running an operation, the Bank officials will themselves advise you as to how to hoodwink and overcome the Banks and bypass rules and conditions for a loan at

reasonable bribes because while documents may be signed on the table, bribes are paid under the table. Perhaps not. Now even this formality is done away with. Bribes are being taken and given in the open.

The biggest motivating factor for becoming an entrepreneur, according to the survey, was the willingness to be independent of the family and a job. Ambition to become rich also plays a part. Strong motivation appears to be the vital factor in entering and surviving in business because the business world is no bed of roses. Bargaining and calculating risks are a necessary part of an enterprise. On top of that, one has to do unlawful things for survival and success. There is a belief that behind every million made, there is a big crime and hundreds of novels have been written on this theme. Both private individual business and corporate business are rife with bribery. Corporate competition is often carried out as a war and bribery and corruption are resorted to because “everything is fair in love and war”.

Alcatel, one of the “biggest and cleanest corporate entities”, finally got exposed in 2001 when Costa Rica prosecutors combed through the bank records and found Alcatel made $15 million in illicit payments to top politicians and bureaucrats and former President Miguel Angel Rodríguez was jailed for accepting bribe from Alcatel.

In Europe, governments are finally cracking down on big business. Transparency International is fighting corruption effectively. The OECD agreement took effect in 1999 in 35 countries, imposing criminal penalties on companies found guilty of

bribery. “The climate has definitely changed”, says Susan Hawley, an anticorruption research consultant. “The change in laws is beginning to bite.”

But India continues to be one of the most corrupt nations of the world.

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