It is impossible to live in India and not come across corrupt practices in everyday lives, whether it is getting out of a traffic ticket, obtaining a government service or starting a business.
Transparency International ranked India 79 out of 176 countries in its annual Corruption Perception Index in 2016. There is nothing inherently corrupt about us. Most Indians are good people and do not want to indulge in corrupt practices. We are forced to do so because of inefficient and unnecessary intrusion of the government. Our convoluted regulations, complicated tax and licensing systems and opaque bureaucracy with unfettered discretionary powers make sure that any government official can harass us for bribes for smallest of infractions.
Instead of solving the fundamental problem by removing antiquated and unnecessary regulations, successive governments have burdened us with more of them. The bloated regulatory structure leaves people with two options, either wait for years and run from department to department to get their work done or pay a bribe and move on with their lives.
Additionally, the judicial and police machinery in the country is completely broken, and any voice against the corrupt system falls on deaf ears. It is a great shame that in the largest democracy in the world, simple things like filing an FIR or getting ration can’t be done without greasing someone’s hands.
After 70 long years of suffering, the time has finally come for us to break free of the clutches of the government and attack the problem of endemic corruption at its root. We must limit the excessive intrusion of the state into our everyday lives and remove unnecessary regulations which restrict our freedoms.
If an entrepreneur is not required to obtain 12 licences to start a business, the opportunity for government officials to get bribes will automatically go down. Further, timely and accessible mechanism for delivery of justice must be made available to every person so that corrupt official cannot continue to operate with impunity.