Bribe Culture

Corruption and extra-preneurship: rotting roots; billion branches!

6/30/2017 2:16:31 PM
written By : Debashis Chatterjee Print

Think of de-notification of the State Highways as an inventive method to overcome the Supreme Court order banning liquor outlets within a 500-metre radius of the National Highway and State Highway to save the hospitality sector. Bizarre yet business as usual. A consultant even suggested that the State amend the Abkari Act to take out wine and beer from the category of liquor to help the tourism industry. Post- independence banking sector in India has seen many transformational changes in structure as well as processes. Yet, the ancient money lender as the middle man remains a constant in Indian banking.

An IIM research study in more than 2000 manufacturing firms in India examined how these firms employ middlemen to deal with corrupt officials for operational efficiency. In effect, these firms do not really achieve desired efficiency even by paying a ‘little extra’ as the top management time is eaten up by anxiety about the law eventually catching up. Indian entrepreneurship has long been under the shadow of extra-preneurship.

Virtually all our institutions are infected by a virus that has been differently referred to as ‘jack’, ‘influence’ or source’ depending on the subtlety of the disease and the apparent potency of the drug. What goes around in conference circles is an apocryphal story of a village panchayat that wrote a letter to a former Prime Minister complaining about the bribe they were paid to get some work done. Apparently, the grievance was not about the bribe paid but about the inequity in distribution of the bribe among the five stakeholders.

However there are sobering silver linings inside the corridors of power. A research study in 2017, conducted by New Delhi based Centre for Media Studies (CMS), which compares corruption in public services between 2005 and 2016, seems to be supporting the view that graft is declining. The report estimates that the total amount paid as bribes went down from Rs 20,500 crore in 2005 to Rs 6,350 crore in 2016. According to the study, Karnataka (77 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (74 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (68 per cent) experienced the most corruption in 2016 and Himachal Pradesh (3 per cent), Kerala (4 per cent) and Chhattisgarh (13 per cent) the least. Police services (34 per cent), land/housing (24 per cent) and judicial services (18 per cent) were found to be the most corruptible in 2016.

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