Simple solutions for complex problems

Sitaram Naik

Corruption

The root cause of corruption is common man. Corruption is neither caused by rich people nor by politicians. Corruption is not started by government employees. Corruption is created by common man. Corruption is fed by common man. Corruption is of/by/for common man. Common man is using government employees for maintaining corruption.

Only common man can destroy corruption. Common man likes to kill corruption because he is affected maximum by corruption. But common man is waiting for government to destroy corruption. Government cannot destroy corruption without help of common man. Common man is ready to help government in all possible ways to destroy corruption. But common man cannot stop himself involving in corruption. Now it is responsibility of government to destroy corruption by taking help of common man to save common man.

Corruption started when a common man tried to save some time by intruding a queue with help of a known person. That got extended and reached to government offices to move files ahead of others in the queue with help of known person or money or power.

One day common man went to a theatre to watch a movie. There was a queue of 10 people. He just scanned the queue and found the 7th person as a known person. He went to the 7th person, said "Hi" and stood behind him. Corruption started there. Others had not objected him. With this, he saved time taken for 3 people to take tickets. But 3 people got delayed.

Next day the common man went to a government office. He gave his file and asked how long it will take. The officer said that there were 3 files before his file, by afternoon his work would be completed. He thought for a while and said, "I have to come all the way again. Please take 100 rupees and complete my work first". The officer thought for few seconds, "My work is not increasing or decreasing. I am getting extra money for doing my work, why to lose it? After all who knows in which order I have done my work?" and agreed. The officer took 100 rupees and completed common man's work.

From then onwards, every time common man goes to government office for work, gives 100 rupees and gets the work done immediately. The officer got used to it and when somebody comes with urgency and requests him to complete work immediately, he started demanding 100 rupees. As people understood that by paying 100 rupees their work gets completed immediately, many people started paying. The files of those few people who are not willing to pay are pending forever.

Another day common man went to the office, gave 100 rupees along with file. The officer asked him to come after 4 hours. Common man was shocked and asked, "I am paying money to get the work done immediately. Why should I wait for 4 hours?" Then the officer said, "The other people also paid 100 each. Why should I do your work first?" Common man thought for some time and gave 200 rupees to get his work done immediately. The officer took the money and completed his work.

All those who could pay money got their work done. Those who never paid bribe were still waiting for their files to move. One person went to the officer after a long wait and checks for the status of his file. The officer strongly says, "I am busy with my work. Pay money if you want your file to move faster". The person understood that his work can never be done without paying money. He paid money and got his work done.

The officer understood how to gain more money. He just kept most of the files untouched for a long time. He got hundreds of files piled up on his desk. Now he shows these files to new customers and tells them that if they go in queue it will take very long time and if they pay bribe their work gets done faster. The choice is given to the customers. If customers want their work to be done, they have only one choice, "Paying bribe".

Now there are millions of corrupt officers. Common man is asked for money for every work and everywhere he goes. The bribe he started with 100 rupees has grown to thousands of rupees for simple tasks. Half of his earning is going for paying bribes. Now he is ready to wait for his turn. But officers are clearly saying that his work cannot be done without money.

When his hard-earned money is going out of his hand for unnecessary reasons, common man is helpless and has started complaining. But there is no one to listen to him. Corruption is happening at all levels of all offices. Some people started taking bribe because they need to pay bribe at all walks of their life. They started taking bribe at their work place to compensate what they pay at other places. Some officers take bribe because of pressure from both seniors and juniors. If they don't take bribes, they will be treated as untouchable.

The most affected is the poor common man. One day if all common men decide not to pay bribe, corruption ends. But that is not possible in this millennium.

Corruption has to be slowed down slowly to stop it completely.

The best solution for all types of corruption is Complaint Box. This is an independent department that supports all types of communication mediums to collect complaints. This department does not control any other department and is not controlled by any other department. The main tasks of "Complaint Box" department are:

  1. Collect complaints
  2. Create statistics - It has two groups to create statistics. One group gives area-wise statistics and the other group gives crime-wise statistics.
  3. Report generation
  4. Give data on demand - CBI or police department can request for data.

Complaint Box does not disclose identity of the people who give complaints. This is the most important thing in this process. Only when we hide identity of the people, we can get more number of complaints. The idea is to get maximum number of complaints for all small and big crimes.

Complaining people can be contacted to know whether they can give evidence at court of law. Even if they don't agree to disclose their identity, CBI and police departments should follow up on the complaint depending on severity and type of the crime.

Terrorists cannot hide without local people's knowledge. But people don't give information to police because of fear of their identity getting exposed. When they can hide their identity, they will give all the information. The timely information about terrorists helps to control their attacks.

Nation-wide and state-wide detailed reports are generated and given to heads those states. Summary of the reports will be given to the media periodically. Only report creation will be done for few months. Robust action plan will be prepared by looking at the reports.

As the reports show the city name and corrupt departments, corrupt people understand that they are getting exposed. Though corruption is everywhere, no corrupt person likes to get exposed himself/herself. Corruption slows down even before real action is taken when reports point out the corrupt people with number of complaints on them.

For few months, only the statistics will be announced without any action. When the number of complaints increases, the action can be started from all over the country. But taking action against all complaints at once is not possible. So for selecting the corrupt person, we can have an algorithm in the system which selects the person and gives the details. The algorithm selects a set of corrupt persons for action in each district as follows:

  1. The person with highest number of complaints
  2. The person who involved in maximum amount of corruption
  3. A randomly selected person from complete list
  4. A randomly selected person from the latest complaints

Random selection shows the real action against the corruption. When we go in a strict order of level of corruption many people feel safe. But when randomly selected for arrest, action is visible everywhere and corruption slows down. Whether it a single complaint with small amount or relative of a minister, when it comes in random selection that person has to be arrested and prosecuted. One day in one corner of the district and the next in a remote village of the other corner of the district. Before people think that arrests are happening very far from their place, they understand that their neighbour or colleague is also arrested.

Arrest the corrupt person. Request the people who gave complaint to come in real to give evidence. CBI and police can also do little bit of ground work to collect evidence apart from the complaints. If CBI cannot find evidence and the complaining people do not turn up in real, the person is released. But for the people with large amounts of corruption, CBI has to do enough ground work to get all the evidence before prosecution.

Other crimes have to be separated from the general corruption cases. Other crimes have to be handled on priority basis. There may be signals of terrorists, bomb installations, attempt to murder, etc. These cases have to be responded in real time. Complaints on other crimes also have to be monitored in real time and responded depending on the priority.

People can be given guidelines on how to give complaints. Categories of crimes, urgency of response, number of criminals, number of people that may be affected, simple traceable address, whether you are available to give more information and so on.

The following process can be followed to avoid corruption in government policies.

When government allocates money for a policy, the money is deposited in a bank. For example, the policy is to give loans to the poor farmers. The concerned person identifies all the states that get the benefit and the amount for each state and gives the number to the state head, does not give money. That person breaks the number in to parts and gives them to the district heads. District head identifies the villages that will get the benefit. Gives number for each village head. The village heads identifies qualified farmers for this policy, takes their bank account details and sends the list back to district head. The district head collects lists of all the villages and sends them to state head. State head sends the complete state list to the concerned person of central government. That person collects bank account details and the amount to be given to each farmer and gives the list to the bank. Bank deposits money according to the list and gives the tallied full report back to the government. If one of the states could not find enough farmers to utilize the entire budget, the gap will be clearly shown in the final report and the money remains with the government.

The same process has to be followed for all policies. Verification of government money distribution has to be done by matching amount given and the amount received by the end users. The reports of all the policies have to be compared to see if there are any repetitions. Same person may be enjoying benefits from many policies. The system shows list of people that got more than one benefit. Illegal cases can be easily identified from that list. Similar reports have to be generated every year and compared with old reports to find who all are enjoying benefits every year.

Major scams happen when there is natural calamity. Large amounts of donations are collected. But very little goes to the affected people. If money distribution happens through banks, corruption can be minimized in these cases. Donations should be deposited in banks. Banks should deposit money in to the affected people’s account directly. Politician’s job is to identify real affected people and give their details to the bank.

Government should make sure that every poor person has a bank account with zero minimum balance. At least all the people who seek government benefits should have bank account. Government should negotiate with the banks to give zero balance saving accounts for all poor people. Let government take care of the expenses incurred by banks to maintain these accounts without balance. Every village should have at least one ATM. Banks can join hands to provide one ATM in each village and allow villagers to withdraw money with other bank cards also.

If we can stop all new people from entering corrupt path, corruption will die in few decades as current corrupt people will retire from work. So we need to make sure that none of the new employees will get any option of corruption. To save the people who take bribe because of the pressures from seniors, we can give an option to them. If the person can show at least three persons who are more corrupt with proper evidence, this person can be released without punishment. If any complaint comes on this person after this, he will be prosecuted without any options.

Brand building of anti-corruption has to start from schools. Every student should utter anti-corruption slogans at least once a day. That gets recorded in their brain. When they see a corrupt person, their mind shows the person as bad person. With this discriminatory power, their mind won’t allow them to become a bad person when they grow.