Sucheta Dalal :Getting More Corrupt
Sucheta Dalal

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Getting More Corrupt  

November 3, 2010

A retired former bureaucrat believes that the booing of Suresh Kalmadi at the recently ended Commonwealth Games (CWG) would be the turning point for India’s fight against corruption because it embarrassed the elite class before the entire world. We disagree. Corruption in India is so rampant that it is no longer restricted to politicians or government officials. Private sector corruption in awarding contracts is just as rampant and widespread as government corruption but it is not something that will either be acknowledged or debated by our leading chambers of commerce. Corporate India may argue that private sector corruption is far less significant, but it is certainly rising.  Many mid- to top-level head-hunters admit to a payback on fees to HR heads. An event manager says that the CEO of a company demanded a 33% kickback on an annual contract to host events around the country to promote its products. Stories of money managers being feted and rewarded by brokers to get large institutional business are legion. Almost every aspect of business is involved in the collecting of kickbacks (purchase contracts of all kinds, marketing, HR and events) or giving bribes and kickbacks (to media, government, distributors, etc). Apart from corporate India, corruption is just as rampant among what were considered noble professions—medicine, judiciary and the media. Is it any wonder then that the 2010 Corruption Perception Index released by the Berlin-headquartered Transparency International (TI) shows that India has slipped three spots to 87th position in the global ranking and that its image was especially damaged by the scam-tainted CWG? We could have done worse but for the fact that corruption is booming globally. TI says that three-fourths of the 178 countries that it tracked scored below five (on an ascending scale of 0 to 10) on the integrity score—India scored a pathetic 3.3. Heartening for us, the clean countries at the top of the list also did better with a tie between Denmark, Singapore and New Zealand for the top spot. — Sucheta Dalal

-- Sucheta Dalal