Corruption in the academic field means that merit is ignored and mediocrity exalted. Politicians embezzle public funds and take kickbacks. Corruption reigns even within the hallowed precincts of religious institutions. It makes a mockery of medical ethics in hospitals. The Satyam scandal blew the lid off the myth that India’s IT sector is immune to such things.
In short, nothing is sacrosanct when it comes to this evil practice. If left unchecked, corruption spreads rapidly. It also makes people resigned to it and saps their will to fight it. They become pessimistic and soon they also begin to ignore the law. Corruption causes inefficiencies and diverts resources. The poor are most affected by corruption. Even PDS rations meant for the poor find their way into the open market.
India’s rank slipped from 72 to 85 (out of 179 countries) in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. TI is the global barometer of corruption. In India, corruption exists in the form of bribes, tax evasion and exchange controls, embezzlement, etc. Corruption has many economic consequences.
It causes great loss to the exchequer, creates an unhealthy climate for investment and increases the cost of government-subsidized services. It is not very easy to do business in India. Compared to China and other prosperous Asian nations, the average time taken to secure the clearances for a startup or to invoke bankruptcy is much greater in India.
Recently, the Right to Information Act was enacted by the UPA government. A UN development report termed it the most progressive legislation in the developed world. This Act has enabled the public to demand accountability from government institutions regarding processes. But the power of the Act has not been fully utilized because of low awareness.
One way to diminish corruption would be to increase pay scales of lower grade government employees. Also, there should be a carrot and stick policy to reward efficient people and punish corrupt ones. Increased transparency and vigilance is the need of the hour.