Dear PM, what transparency are you talking about? We are still Number 1 when it comes to bribery

According to International Transparency Report, of 16 countries surveyed in Asia Pacific, India has the highest rate of bribery

“I did not make any big speeches but acted upon working against corruption.”

-Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Well, it seems acting against corruption just remained in speeches and never percolated to the real world. All the hoopla over demonetisation and the hype around bringing back black money has done little to ease the life of common man. According to International Transparency Report, among 16 Asia Pacific countries, India stands at number one when it comes to bribery. Of every ten Indians, seven Indians agreed to have paid bribe for accessing public service. In fact, a little more than 40 per cent of respondents believe that bribery went up in the last twelve months.

On the opposite spectrum of this list is Japan. Only 0.2 per cent respondents reported to having paid bribe. Thus proving that it is possible to create a corruptionless society where people don’t have to cough up money to get a driving licence or an LPG connection. But not that scenario is not possible in India. Simply because, our Prime Minister has higher ambitions of bringing back black money and filling our banks with a mythical Rs 15 lakh in our bank accounts, so that we have more money to splurge as bribes. Or for that matter banning notes all of a sudden, arm twisting RBI to follow its diktat and get the whole of India on streets.

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While the tangible benefits of these moves can be best left for the experts to deciphers, our tiny brains and tiny pockets are more concerned about paying up bribes. Moreover, it’s just not about giving money. It’s the humiliating experience of giving bribe and the guilt feeling that you are left with; of knowingly participating in something unethical.

It’s not that Indians aren’t concerned about black money stashed in foreign banks or tax evaders getting away. Nobody would mind Rs 15 lakh in their banks, as and when it happens(Sigh!). But the fact of the matter is bribery is the biggest of all evils and reflective of poor governance. It directly impacts the poor and the middle-class. It’s a financial strain and a mental hassle. And it needs to end.

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So, our Prime Minister needs to reorient his approach towards bringing more transparency in the system and give fight against bribery a little more importance.