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V.Shravan Adithya 11 th Standard, A Sec.

Kamala Niketan, Trichy. June 2011

Honesty and Corruption

-Goodmorning one and all assembled here!! All of you know, in Indian Mythology, Lord Rama killed Ravanasura and Krishna killed 28 asuraas sent by Kamsa, and Lord Muruga killed Padmasuraa all in order to save Devas, the Public and the Pride of the soil & its values. - In reality, in the present 21st century, we all, the citizens of India need to determinedly annihilate an equally powerful, all-pervasive but manifold harmful Asuraa called Corruptsaasura who has been ruining the pride, prosperity, poise of growth and peace, ethics, environment and what not of our nation. Corruption is dishonest behavior that violates the trust placed in a public official. It involves the use of a public position for private gain. If such violations are not appropriately checked and penalized with enough seriousness a nation fails, brings shame upon itself, and its growth and economy is at extreme risk. -Casual governance is misgovernance. An economy, to function properly, requires honesty and integrity at all levels. Where these are in short supply then the economy is doomed no matter how many laws parliament passes or how much money for developmental it orchestrates. We learn now our own TN needs 1,00,000 crores for development. - if unchecked, corruption could make the nations subjects, i.e. we the citizens, too morally unsound in due course when it allows corruption to spread like Cancer knowingly or unknowingly. India suffers from such an all-permeated Cancer of corruption but, fortunately, has become conscious oflate of its malignity of and has started fighting hard to get over it. There has been light in the tunnel. There is ray of hope!! Corrupt people occupying higher and powerful positions accelerate the moral decline by creating the impression that whatever you did was OK if you could get away with it. - As corruption is, precisely, the abuse of public office for private gain it could pervade every corner of an organized system/government, if stringent action is not taken against such violation. A country with widespread corruption invariably will have low investment rates, poor economic growth, and limited, slow and lopsided social development. - The public will find their access to the most basic social services severely restricted and the government will find the cost of delivering these services inordinately high. The rich-poor divide gradually gets widened beyond redeem. - Corruption, consequently, hits the poor hardest making them helpless and frustrated as they are unable to feed the corrupt, whereas it makes the rich highly self-centered and shamelessly

greedy. It makes a mockery of financial systems and it actively works against the legitimacy of the state. - Poverty eradication, nationalistic developmental programmes, growth and investment all suffer at the hands of corruption. India suffers from all these handicaps due to rampant corruption unchecked for decades. - For India, the worlds largest democracy, it is a painful irony that despite a good foundation of democratic institutions, she has a score of only 2.7 out of 10 for governance and in 2002 was ranked 72nd out of 179 countries for corruption in 2002. Since then, her ranking has kept falling. - Another survey conducted by Transparency International cites India as far worse than China and refers to her as a country where bribery and corruption are among the worst in the world. - It is true India grows and shines but, unfortunately, corruption too at an alarming level, possibly testifying to the truth that India is a land of incredible contrasts. According to a report by KPMG, (an international legal and auditing firm of Netherlands) "high-level corruption and scams are now threatening to derail the country's credibility and [its recent] economic boom". - With the latest surfacing of the Himalayan 2G spectrum scam, heavy kickbacks in the organization of Commonwealth Games, misappropriation in Adarsh Housing scheme for the Kargil War victims, loss to the nations exchequer in sanctioning iron ore mining in Karnataka, the shocking politico-bureaucratic corruption of the Chief Minister of Jharkand Madhu Koda etc., I am very sorry to point out here India could top the Corruption index soon. - Corruption knows not any class difference in our nation and Transparency International estimates that truckers alone in India pay US $5 billion annually in bribes to police and other intercepting government officials, as a proof of corruption at the lower level. - How come corruption goes unchecked in our nation? When the peoples representatives of various States of this nation fail to monitor this governmental agency for their accountability but conveniently connive with them to squander the nation, there evolves a formidable trio of corruption namely govt.machinery + politicians + criminals. Consequently, the public servants who work under them are exploited either to silently stay away or to act as middlemen or left to indulge in petty corruption themselves. - In short, India has become an embarrassing by word for dishonesty, hypocrisy and money grabbing.. According to the data provided by the Swiss Banking Association Report (2006), India has more black money than the rest of the world combined. To put things in perspective, Indian-owned Swiss bank account assets are worth 13 times the countrys national debt.

It is estimated that more than trillion dollars are stashed away in foreign havens, while 80% of Indians earn less than 2 $ per day and every second child is malnourished. It seems as if only the honest people are poor in India and want to get rid of their poverty by education, emigration to

cities, and immigration, whereas all the corrupt ones, like Hasan Ali Khan are getting rich through scams and crime. - As per the Enforcement Directorate probing the suspected money launderer Hasan Alis transactions alone, evading tax, is over 112,000 crores (US$24.86 billion) between years 2005 and 2006. This amount is enough to fund the national drinking water project in all the 6,00,000 villages in India for the next ten years. In short, It seems, India is a rich country filled with poor people. - Friends, I included environment too as a victim of corruption when I started my speech. Yes, Corruption could cost nature too as it facilitates environmental destruction. Corrupt countries may formally have legislation to protect the environment; but, it cannot be enforced if officials can easily be bribed. We have already started witnessing such an outcome in our news dailies that reports about unrestrained sand quarrying in the river beds. -Hence, corruption cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet. Its effects are extremely damaging, far-reaching and all pervasive. On the contrary, not even a countable number of corrupt politicians have been reprimanded so far in Indian political history due to their fooling tactics to become scot free and get back to power by exploiting the innocent as well as ignorant public. -Socially and morally conscious Prime Ministers from the late Gulzari Lal Nanda to Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared a war on corruption but they could achieve almost nothing as they could not break in to the unholy alliance of the politico-bureaucratic triumvirate of corruption. -It proved the harsh reality that if the population at large and civil society institutions in particular continue to be indifferent, helpless and resigned in the face of corruption nothing concrete could be clinched. As of now, people are so used to this life of corruption that they have lost all interest in doing anything about it. The public perception is that corruption is a way of life, unavoidable, something you have to endure; that you cannot survive in India without indulging in corruption in one form or the other. -In Sweden and Norway, it was honest sociologists who cleaned up corruption in their countries. In the USA, individual honest police officers and bureaucrats made sacrifices to streamline and rationalize the system. In China, a cultural revolution in favour of honesty in public life changed the people and transformed the entire country. -Honesty ensuring and truth assuring practices only can eradicate corruption. Digitization of administration and official transactions at all levels could attribute transparency to governance ; this will inhibit and deter violators from misappropriating the system and let the public check for themselves and get themselves ensured that everything is fair and fine. Violations, if any, could be verified through Right to Information Act that has already been in vogue. Public shall soon

be relieved of their inhibition that asking for help from the government is futile due to the complex laws and procedures. -Electoral fraud is the worst in a democracy and is the spring head of corruption. Bribery to politicians by industrialists help buy influence with politicians and ultimately personal interest rather than national interest to both; and bribery to voters by politicians buys votes and ultimately power to earn back manifold. Voters too shall realize there is no right way to do something wrong. Electoral reforms as we witnessed in a recent election in TN shall be effectively implemented and overall electoral consciousness shall also be effectively highlighted to the public through media and other sources.

-Except the all-powerful celluloid heroes of Indian melodramatic cinema, individuals fighting against corruption have in reality been cowed down by intimidation or even get themselves terminated. But Whistleblowers play a major role in the fight against corruption. India currently does not have a law to protect whistleblowers, which was highlighted by the assassination of Satyendra Dubey. Appropriate laws shall be drafted to protect such courageous and socially conscious people who dare fighting this deadly menace risking death. -The corrupt are emboldened by the rather sluggish Indian court procedures. Indians are often victims of delayed justice which is denied justice. It is in favour of the culprit and against the fair . More and more courts should be opened for speedy & inexpensive justice so that cases dont linger in courts for years and justice is delivered on time. Separate fast-track courts and anti-corruption bodies like Lokpals, Lokayukths, Lokadalats, Vigilance Commissions should be formed to provide speedy justice with low expenses. -This will instill hope in the minds of the fair, and fear in the culprits. -Corruption is caused as well as increased because of the change in the value system and ethical qualities of men/women who administer. The old ideals of morality, service and honesty are regarded anachronistic nowadays. Thats why honest and straight forward people are hesitant of openly commiting themselves to campaign against corruption and venture in to politics. -Still people like Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam, Anna Hazzare, Ram Dev, Kiran Bedi, Shanti Bhushan and Prasanti Bhushan have come forward to uphold the cause of anti-corruption. Hazzare represents millions of people in this country whose patience with the current corrupt regime is reaching its limit. Tolerance of people towards corruption, complete lack of intense public outcry against corruption and the absence of strong public forum to oppose corruption allow corruption to reign over people. -So, whoever wants to support the cause of anti-corruption, both from the higher and lower social order namely lead actors and actresses, sportsmen etc to non-corrupt retired govt.

employees shall openly come forward to align as a movement to fight corruption. Cooperation of the people help them successfully contain corruption and empower them and implement their right to recall the elected representatives if they see them becoming indifferent to the electorate. -Corruption is a deadly disease which every Indian must strive to cure. Even humble private initiative should be appropriately encouraged by all of us to raise awareness about Corruption related issues and to build anti-corruption platforms. A few honest men are better than numbers said OLIVER CROMWELL. -Above all we shall stop wailing with utmost regret that I have to say that I don t see the possiblity of this menace ever vanishing from India but do something productively, however humble that effort be, to proudly declare soon that We are Indians. Raising against corruption soon with vigour, commitment and determination only can save our nation to realize the Ramraj dream proposed by Gandhiji . -We shall all remember the words of Martin Luther King that the silence of the good are more dangerous than the atrocities of the bad. If we do not raise our voice against corruption, we can not avoid our nation becoming a victim of Kleptocracy, rule by thieves. -If we the future pillars of the nation can not be honest who else can? Honest disagreement is good sign of progress, says Gandhiji. He also has said and lived as an example of be the change you want to see in the world. Hence, we the young, the non-corrupt & the uncorruptible, shall unite to fight corruption. JAIHIND!! ***