The Koda in Jharkand and Kasab in the Arthur road Jail in Mumbai represent the severe issues faced by our polity from corruption and terrorism. These two are entwined in our system to a large extent and one can say terrorism is easier in our context due to bribery and corruption.
The other day there was a civil servant along with his friends sitting next to my table in a restaurant and laughing away to glory. The important point is that the same morning his name has appeared in many news papers after a raid by the Karnataka Lok Ayukta which has recovered couple of crores of unaccounted wealth from his home. He was not feeling any remorse and his friends were in awe of him. There was no sense of shame or regret. He was more like a hero. In the fifties and sixties corruption was considered as a menace to be tackled with. Somewhere in the eighties it was considered as an inevitable byproduct of our system and in the late nineties it acquired respectability. Today attitude towards corruption is benign and slowly we are entering a phase of admiring corruption. We have reached a situation where corrupt are glorified and appreciated in society. This does not augur well for our societal existence since we are facing a major threat from terrorism and it will use corruption and bribery to destroy our society.
Government employees collect taxes on “Client Account,” that is, for the government, and on their “Own Account.” So much so that often, rather than supplement the regular official income, the “Own Account” collections significantly exceed it. The collection on the “Client Account” can be done only by employees in tax-related (like direct and indirect taxes) departments. But on “Own Account” can be done for any human endeavor of any citizen for inaction, speed, or by inducement, lure, threat or intimidation by any Government employee or his agent. It is to be noted that without political patronage “Own Account” taxes or in simple terms bribes cannot exist. We can call this as Bribe Taxes to distinguish it from taxes by budget. It is also a total solution situation namely it exists from womb to tomb of a citizen. To get birth certificate parents need to pay bribe upwards of five hundred rupees [depending on the number of originals needed].
For collecting death certificate the payment can run in to thousands if the government official senses that it is important for transferring huge amount of assets.
Recently there was a report that in Government hospitals in Bangalore the newly born child is shown to the mother only on payment to the hospital employees engaged to provide “service” to patients. The “fees” is 200 rupees for a boy baby and 100 rupees for a girl baby, which reveals an obnoxious gender bias even in corruption.
We should realize that terrorists do not arrive from alien planets, or are they air-dropped by our enemies in our midst. They are present in our midst even if they are citizens of Pakistan who are sent here to create havoc. Of course they are facilitated by good number of Indians since they require place to stay, transportation facilities food clothes and importantly material support for getting their deadly weapons.
This implies that bribe tax plus regular tax basis our tax to GDP ratio is more than 30 percent which is very much comparable to many developed economies. We may conclude that our “effective Tax rate” is around thirty percent of our national income, which is twice what is shown as “nominal tax rate”. Hence the chorus by leftist economists that India is under taxed nation is a bogus theory based only on regular taxes. In this case, several hundred miles separate reality and left experts. The bribe tax is one of the important reasons why a large number of posts in various government departments, are apparently auctioned to the highest bidder.
It is no secret that in many Departments like police, sales tax, land registration etc “critical” location postings need substantial payments to authorities. Needless to add, these bribe tax collections are done with the connivance and/or encouragement of the top political leaders who get a large share of this.
It is important that a thorough analysis and study is conducted regarding the methods by which they get identity, transportation and weapons. The role of corruption in facilitating terrorism is least discussed and analyzed by our media which is always interested in breaking news which has the same impact as that of breaking wind in a crowded bus.
The entry from other countries is the starting point. We carry the slogan Atithi Devo Bhava to absurd extremes. The entry from Bangladesh is facilitated by corruption at lower levels of security forces and the Chalta hai attitude of our system. After entry in to India the person concerned is interested in somehow establishing an identity to get benefits and help.
Then the all important ration card which provide the ultimate proof of one’s existence in India is obtained by corruption and that helps a lot. Even passports are obtained by fraudulent means which sometimes gets into limelight as in the case of the Chennai passport office last year.
Under such a system it is easier for Headley and Kasab to operate since money speaks and make everybody in position act in our country. The landing by boat by the terrorists in Mumbai the dysfunctional bullet –proof vests and the granting of visas for Headley and Rana all provide us the clue that the cancer has spread far and wide.
Koda’s of Indian political system that accumulates wealth in India and in Liberia do not worry about the implications of their actions. If devil is to be supped with so be it. Similarly the border police or the passport officer or the ration card giver also thinks of the cut-money to conduct his affairs. The growth of D company was facilitated at various points by different political leaders and bureaucrats thinking they are only involved in corruption. But knowingly or otherwise they were providing milk to a snake to grow and become bigger by the day. Koda’s contractor’s give “donation” to Maoists as well as to Government babus. For them both represent the system to be bought. A corrupt system at critical points like border watchings/coastal protection/passport issuance and ration card provision is facilitated by the likes of Koda’s and taken advantage by the likes of Kasab’s and his handlers.
Indian polity and society must take steps to stop this pincer attack by the two K’s and therein lies our future.