Causes Of Corruption

Causes Of Corruption

Apart from the causes of corruption cited reasons in Administrative Corruption some other causes of corruption are:

1. Social Environment:

Public administration is a sub-system of the political system which itself is a part of the larger whole called the social system. Therefore the societal culture of societal environment has a powerful impact on public administration. That is why it is said that administration is culture bound. Bureaucratic culture is part of the total culture of society. Bureaucratic culture reflects, in varying measure, general social values, because a civil servant is essentially a creature of his society. His actions are bound to be the manifestation of his cultural moorings. The value orientations of the society, to which he belongs, will affect or influence his behaviour. Thus only a systematic and ecological approach to the study of corruption can help us understand its causes and dimensions.

The Indian society is passing through transition where modern mixes with the old. It is still traditional, feudal and largely Hindu. Here the ties of family, caste, tribe, community, religion, language and region are still strong, Public servants, therefore, ( both at the political and administrative levels) are unable to sacrifice their group loyalty for the sake of their loyalty to the nation. This is conflict of loyalties. This results in corrupt practices like nepotism, favouritism, casteism etc. Alongside, the Indian society is going through a process of modernisation which includes industrialisation, economic development, urbanisation, mass communication, migration of populations, democratisation, globalisation etc. in which old societal values are crumbling and materialistic ambitions have become the chief motive. The acquisitive society breeds corruption. To quote E.A.Ikoiwak in his article Public officials and Corruption (IJPA 1987) Corruption is in a sense a product of the way of life of an acquisitive society, where money talks, where that which works is justified, and where people are judged by what they have rather than what they are….

There is another side of Indian social life. Unfortunately, corruption has found an acceptance in our social psyche and behaviour. It is often heard that in India Saints, and not Capitalists, are worshipped. But our behaviour pattern shows the opposite. Evils like bribery, nepotism and favouritism have come to be accepted in society. We often approach some one known to us for favours which we know is not legally due to us. Whether it is for job, or admission of the child in school, or railway reservation, or getting favours out of turn or just bribing for benefit which is illegal is just done as a part of social ethos. We just respect a person who has acquired wealth or high position without questioning how he has done it. We feel happy when one of our family or group member is able to show favours to his own men though illegally.

P.N. Duda in his article anatomy of corruption (The Hindustan Times June 1997) remarks, In the third world countries, India included, the corrupt walk majestically to court, dressed up as though they are to attend a wedding reception, and acknowledge people’s greetings as though court processes are Nobel Prize citations. Whatever the people may say in coffee houses and seminars, they show respect and awe to the corrupt. They vote them to power. they genuflect before them. They seek favour from them which they known is not their due. This group psyche is very infertile soil for the growth of public morality.

So it is very difficult to curb corruption in such an atmosphere. We must known that in the ultimate analysis the corrupt administrator or politician is our creation and “is a concrete ghost of the psychologically corrupt man in the street whose approval of his conduct the corrupt takes for granted”. Contrast it with what happens in some of the other societies. It does not mean that there is no corruption there but what it shows is that social disapproval acts as a deterrent against corruption. To quote Shri. P.K.Duda “In other countries too, in the past and at present, people in power have been corrupt and immoral. On being found, they have not rushed to court and treated it as a forensic football and played the game by hitting the ball out of the field to gain time for exhaustion. They hide their faces, walk out of public life, flee the country and occasionally “commit suicide”.

2. Low Salaries of Civil Servants:

One of the explanations offered for corruption in India is the relatively low salaries paid to the senior civil servants compared to their counterparts in the private sector. It is said that there has been a sharp decline in the real incomes of various sections of the community, especially of the salaried classes. Though Pay commissions have periodically revised pay scales, (the Fifth Pay Commission initiated major changes in the pay structure of civil servants and the Sixth Pay Commission which has been setup recently is expected to ranationalise the pay of the civil servants) the salaried civil servant continues to be in a poor plight. To quote Krishna Gopinath “Though this cannot be pleaded in extenuation of the fall in the standard of integrity, the fact remains that economic necessity has, at least, in some cases, encouraged those who had the opportunity to succumb to temptation.

3. Administrative Delays:

This is another cause of corruption in India. In our country, as in many others in Asia, the administration moves very slowly. Administrative procedures and practices are cumbersome and dilatory. This is added by the negative attitude of the bureaucracy and red tapism. The files move endlessly from one desk to another because every one wants to avoid the responsibility of taking decisions. This results in delay in administrative action whether it is responding to the request of an ordinary citizen or work of big project. Projects are rarely completed in time, resulting in cost over-runs. As someone has said no snail moves more slowly than administration in Asian countries. It is therefore, understandable that the anxiety to avoid delay has encouraged the growth of dishonest practices like the system of speed-money. To quote Krishna Gopinath “Speed Money is a common type of corrupt practice….. A secretary to the government of India testified before the Santhanam Committee that even after an order had been passed on the file the fact of the passing of such an order is not communicated to the person concerned; the order is kept back till the unfortunate applicant has paid appropriate gratification to the subordinate officials concerned.

4. Clumsy Handling of the Corruption Cases

A contributory factor to the growth of corruption is the clumsy handling of cases relating to corruption. Those in the hierarchy vested with disciplinary powers shirk duty and show unwillingness to use these powers against a corrupt subordinate. This may be due to trade union pressure, political interference or simple attempt to avoid unpleasantness in future. No one wants to bell the cat. The result is that either the corrupt is not caught, or if caught he is let off subsequently with or without minor penalties. In most of the cases the guilty is suspended from service when he is found in the act, but is reinstated after some time when the heat is off. No explanation is given for either of such actions. This type of an atmosphere accentuates an individuals temptation to resort to corruption.

5. Inefficient Judicial System

This is common knowledge that our judicial system is inefficient, expensive and dilatory. It takes years and years for the cases to be decided. The result is that the accused often escapes punishment because a long time span has an adverse effect on the evidence in the case. The witnesses may become unavailable with the passage of time if they may not remember what happened long time back. Even if the corrupt is punished ultimately, that does not achieve the desired objective. The impression gains ground that the corrupt go scot free. Swaminathan in his article “The World Bank Discovers Corruption” ( The Times of India June 29 1997) India inherited from the British Raj a top class civil service, police and judiciary. All three have plummeted downhill since. Don’t blame just venal politicians. Blame also the police-judicial system that has become incapable of speedily convicting wrong doers. This in turn has distorted politics…. we need more than an independent judiciary. We need judicial predictability and greater speed. Justice delayed is justice denied.

6. Political Causes

Since 1967, a new generation of politicians, a different political class has emerged. Unlike the first generation politicians (who emerged immediately after independence) who regarded politics as a mission or a responsibility to build a new India, class apart. Amoral politics, self aggrandisement, disregard of the democrat responsibility to build a new India, this generation is aent, disregard of the democratic norms in the pursuit of powers, political survival at any cost are the rules of the game for this genre. The politicians today interfere not only with the routine administration but administration of justice and have bent bureaucracy to do their bidding To quote in the routine administration but also with the in his article Bondage of Bureaucracy, (The Hindustan Times Feb, 10th 1996)

The absolutely rotten political system that we have developed has ensured that this role can never be played because the politician is not interested citizen but in furthering his own interests. this he has been doing destroying the morale, the fibre and structure of the cell services through transver, favouritism and harassment of any civil servant who is true to his salt.

Such a political culture can have devastating effects on the bureaucracy. The upright and honest officers are harassed through transfers, suspension or supersession in promotion while the corrupt and cooperative official’s are rewarded with plum postings, promotion etc. become willing collaborators to feather their own nests. To quote Prol. Pushpesh Pant in his article Taming of the Shrewd ( the Sunday Times New Delhi July, 14th 1996.

The juictest carrot that politicians can danale before obliging civil servants 18 u of a plum posting or a long tenure at the centre. The stubborn and suitably deserving can always be sent back to their parent cadre and punished even more severely with obscure, painful postings……

The nexus between corrupt bureaucrats and corrupt politicians had been clearly proved by scams like the Animal Husbandry scam in Bihar. Coal scam in Tamil Nadu, Urea scam etc.

So when corruption comes from the top it cannot be stopped or limited. It has a devastating effect on the administration and the society in general.

7. Inadequate Laws to Deal with Corruption:

There is no comprehensive law which deals with corruption. At present the corruption cases are dealt with under the Civil Services Conduct rules, Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 and the Indian Penal Code. These laws which were made many years ago are full of loop holes and individuals have found ingenious ways to escape from the clutches of law. Also the legal process is so cumbersome that it takes years to bring the culprits to book. Even the punishments provided under the existing laws are mild and not deterrent.

8. Lack of Willingness to Enforce Laws:

In general the will to enforce the law is lacking in India. There is a general atmosphere of permissiveness. For various reasons the willingness to tackle corruption is found wanting. While discussions are held on corruption at every for a possible and the necessity to appoint agencies like the Lok Pal etc. nothing concrete emerges.

9. Pressure Groups:

There are several types of pressure groups like chambers of commerce, trade associations, trade unions, caste groups who are said to help in breeding corruption through their activities of getting favours for their communities. They employ different means to influence the political class and bureaucracy. Trade unions particularly play negative role in this regard. They shield their corrupt members by resorting to protest’ action when some corrupt employees are caught and action is taken against them. Sometimes they resort even to intimidatory tactics. So nobody wants to take action for fear of getting into trouble with the unions. The surprising thing is that political rulers, in such cases, often side with the trade unions to keep their vote-bank intact.

10. Absence of Strong Public opinion against Corruption:

India as Gunnar Myrdal has said appears to be a Soft State. Yet there is no strong public opinion or protest against it. While the society at large is informed about the individuals who are corrupt, yet, it does not raise a collective voice against it. Lack of such a vigilant and expressive public opinion acts as a breeding ground for administrative corruption.

Check out public administration notes in detail.

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