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Curbing Corruption

It is time to make corruption a human rights issue as it deprives millions of basic amenities 

8/1/2016 4:52:56 PM
written By : Ashali Varma Print

The only consistency of the various Congress governments through 60 years is that it kept India poor. Our villages remained without electricity, water, sanitation and health. Even education was neglected. All because the money for these schemes was siphoned off from the leaders downwards to the bureaucrats and petty officials. The corruption at the top was so endemic that officials down the line thought nothing of following their leaders in lining their own pockets.

Rajiv Gandhi famously said that of every Rupee spent on alleviating poverty only 16 paisa reached the poor. But till the Modi government came to power no government had thought of ways to curb it. Our Prime Minister, however, will have problems in trying to get the huge amounts of money siphoned abroad in the decade that the UPA was in power. Apart from tax treaties with countries he has also to get tax havens like Panama, Cayman Islands and several such on board.

A very close friend of mine Aruna HarPrasad, a well-known film maker who has lived in India but travelled to several countries abroad, in the course of her work, came to me with a brilliant idea, which she explained thus: 

Why not make corruption a human rights issue? Why not give it legitimacy that will take it from a simple white collar crime to a hard-core criminal activity like murder? 

After all, the human rights of the poor who were deprived of their basic rights to food security, education and electricity all came under the gambit of the monies that should have gone for development but was taken by ministers and their progeny and stashed abroad - this not only at the central level - but even at the state levels. This leads to loss of productive lives that would have benefitted from education, electricity, health and sanitation initiatives taken by the state. A poor angered population than turns to terrorism such as the Maoist problem in India and comparable problems in Africa and the Middle East.

As in India so too in Nigeria, as Aruna found out, a political party was chosen because it wanted to seriously tackle corruption.

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