The outgoing Central Vigilance Commissioner has said that almost one out of three Indians are totally corrupt and one in two is ‘borderline’. The Commissioner Pratyush Sinha, who retired this week, has attributed the increase in wealth in the country for this rise in corruption.
Sinha’s comments come at a time when India has been in the limelight in domestic and foreign media for the corruption that have been plaguing the construction projects for the Commonwealth Games which will open in New Delhi in October. There is also an ongoing scandal regarding tax evasion surrounding the immensely successful Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament.
In a moment of candid revelation, Sinha expressed his opinion that the worst part of the thankless job he did as head of the country’s watchdog institution against corruption was that he had to witness the rise of corruption as people became increasingly materialistic.
According to Transparency International – the global anti-graft institution- India’s figures in 84th position on the corruption perception index, having a 3.4 rating out of a maximum score of 10.
Sinha pointed out that in the past a corrupt individual was looked down upon by society, since being corrupt was generally agreed to be an undesirable trait. There was definitely a social stigma attached to being corrupt. Unfortunately, he says, in the recent years this stigma is no longer attached to being corrupt, and it is increasingly socially accepted. Calling corruption a ‘palpable’ thing in India, Sinha said that in modern India, a respect is given to a person if he is wealthy, without a question as to how the money is obtained
In the corruption perception index, New Zealand was the least corrupt nation, with 9.4 points and Somalia was the most corrupt, with 1.1 points. According to Transparency International, millions of poor Indian families are at a point where they have to bribe officials every year to access basic public services.
Sinha’s comments came in an interview where he stated that only about 20% of Indians possessed a real conscience, and were truly honest regardless of the circumstances they were faced with. He opined that around 30% were utterly corrupt and that the remaining 50% were on the fence on the issue.
The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh is another government official who has consistently been speaking out about the detrimental effect that corruption in the form of bribes, extortion and fraud will produce on all levels of life. He has also warned the nation that this problem is likely to be a real threat to India’s future economic prospects.
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