Indian Corruption


Political Corruption

Definition of Corruption

The word "corrupt" is derived from the Latin word "corruptus", which is the past participle of corrumpere, to abuse or destroy, to brea-) when used as an adjective literally means utterly broken. In modern English the usage of the words corruption and corrupt have many meanings like political corruption, Police corruption, Corporate corruption, data corruption, linguistic corruption, bribery in political, business or sport.

Corruption in India

Corruption in the Indian society has prevailed from time immemorial in one form or the other. The most basic inception of corruption started with our opportunistic leaders who have already done greater damage to our nation. People of the nation who work on right principles are unrecognized and considered to be foolish fellows in the modern society. Corruption in India is a result of the connection between bureaucrats, criminals and politicians. In the earlier times, bribes were paid for getting wrong things done, but nowaday's bribe is paid for getting the right things done at the right time. In today's society corruption has become something very respectable in India, because the respectable people are involved in it. Social corruption like less weighing of any products, adulteration in edible items and bribery of various kind have incessantly prevailed in the society.

Political Corruption

Political Corruption in India
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misusing of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties.

Forms of political corruption vary, but include nepotism, patronage, bribery, cronyism, extortion, graft, and embezzlement. While corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking, it is not restricted to these activities. The activities that constitute illegal corruption differ depending on the country or jurisdiction. For instance, certain political funding practices that are legal in one place may be illegal in another. In some cases, government officials have broad or poorly defined powers, which make it difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal actions. Worldwide, bribery alone is estimated to involve over 1 trillion United States Dollars annually. A state of unrestrained political corruption is known as a "kleptocracy", literally meaning "rule by thieves".

Political Corruption in India

The Political corruption is worst in India. The major cause of concern is that the corruption is weakening the political body and very harshly damaging the supreme importance of the law governing the society. If you see nowaday's politics is only for criminals and criminals are meant to be in politics. Voting and elections in many parts of the country have become associated with a host of criminal activities. The criminals are threatening voters to vote for a particular candidate or physically prevent voters from going into the polling booth especially the weaker sections of the society like the tribals, dalits and rural woman occurs frequently in several parts of the country.

Recently, the Government of India increased the salary of the M.P.'s (Member of Parliament) from Rs.16, 000 to Rs.50, 000, that is 300% increase when compared to the existing salary. But many of MP's are unhappy with the rise and want the Government to increase the salary to a much more extent. This clearly shows how politicians are in constant thirst for monetary benefits and not even caring about the welfare of the people. Tax evasion is one of the most popular forms of corruption. It is mostly practiced by Government officials and politicians which leads to the accumulation of black money which in turn spoils the morale of the people.

Effects of Political Corruption

Effects on politics, institutions and administration

Corruption poses a serious developmental challenge. In the political realm, it undermines democracy and good governance by flouting or even subverting formal processes. Corruption in elections and in legislative bodies reduces accountability and distorts representation in policymaking; corruption in the judiciary compromises the rule of law; and corruption in public administration results in the inefficient provision of services. It violates the basic principle of republicanism regarding the centrality of civic virtue. More generally, corruption erodes the institutional capacity of government as procedures are disregarded, resources are siphoned off, and public offices are bought and sold. At the same time, corruption undermines the legitimacy of government and such democratic values as trust and tolerance.

Economic effects due to Corruption

Corruption blunts economic development by generating considerable distortions and inefficiency. In the private sectors, corruption increases the cost of business through the price of illicit payments themselves, the management cost of negotiating with officials, and the risk of breached agreements or detection. Although some claim that corruption reduces costs by cutting bureaucracy, the availability of bribes can also induce officials to contrive new rules and delays. Openly removing of costly and lengthy regulations are better than covertly allowing them to be bypassed by using bribes. Where corruption builds up the cost of business, it also distorts the playing field, shielding firms with connections from competition and thereby sustaining inefficient firms.

Corruption also generates economic distortions in the public sector by diverting public investment into capital projects where bribes and kickbacks are more plentiful. Officials may increase the technical complexity of public sector projects to conceal or pave the way for such dealings, thus further distorting investment. Corruption also lowers compliance with construction, environmental, or other regulations, reduces the quality of government services and infrastructure, and increases budgetary pressures on government. Economists argue that one of the factors behind the differing economic development in Africa and Asia is that in the former, corruption has primarily taken the form of rent extraction with the resulting financial capital being moved overseas rather than invested at home.

Environmental and social effects

Corruption facilitates environmental destruction. Corrupted countries may formally have legislation to protect the environment, it cannot be enforced if officials can easily be bribed. The same is applicable to social rights worker protection, unionization prevention, and child labor. Violation of these laws facilitate corrupt countries to gain illegitimate economic advantage in the international market.

The Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen has observed that "there is no such thing as an apolitical food problem." While drought and other naturally occurring events may trigger famine conditions, it is the government action or inaction that determines its severity, and often even whether or not a famine will occur. Governments with strong tendencies towards kleptocracy can undermine food security even when harvests are good. Officials often steal state property. In Bihar, India, more than 80% of the subsidized food aid to poor is stolen by corrupt officials.Similarly, food aid is often robbed at gunpoint by governments, criminals, and warlords alike, and sold for a profit. The 20th century is full of many examples of governments undermining the food security of their own nations - sometimes intentionally.

Institutions which are dealing with political corruption
  • The few institutions which are dealing with political corruption:

  • Transparency International, an NGO which monitors and publicizes a corporate and political corruption in international development.

  • Global Witness, an international non-governmental organization established in 1993. The NGO works to break the links between the natural resource exploitation, conflict, poverty, corruption, and human rights abuses worldwide.
  • Groups of states against corruption, a body established under the Council of Europe. The committee monitors the implementation of instruments adopted by member states to fight against political corruption.

  • Trust Law - a service of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The Thomson Reuters Foundation is known to be a global hub for free legal assistance, news and information on anti-corruption.


India's lower house of Parliament, the Lok Sabha, has 545 elected lawmakers. As of May 2011, approximately 30 percent have criminal cases pending against them. Current election rules state that politicians may stand in elections or serve in elected positions while on trial or while appealing convictions. In such cases where the accused chooses to stand trial, the average criminal case in India finishes 15 years after charges are initiated.

Causes and Consequences of Political Corruption

The level of corruption and the form it takes is also varying rather systematically with the political setting. Corruption levels and forms vary with the regime type within which it occurs. One widely held general assumption is that the level of corruption corresponds negatively with democratisation, i.e. that the level of corruption is decreasing with increasing levels of democracy. There has been formulated a " law" or general regularity that says that the degree of corruption varies inversely to the degree that power is consensual. That is, the more the power is legitimate, the less the corruption. Corruption occurs at the interface of the public and private sectors. Sometimes officials simply steal state assets. But the more interesting and complex cases occur when a private individual or organization bribes a state official with power over the distribution of public benefits or costs.

What determines the level of corruption? The question is a vexing one, especially since no comprehensive empirical research exists on the incidence of corruption or its impact on resource use and the distribution of income. Many officials remain honest in the face of considerable temptation, and others accept payoffs that seem small relative to the benefits under their control. Others, however, amass fortunes. The level of malfeasance depends not only on the volume of potential benefits, but also on the riskiness of corrupt deals and on the participants' moral scruples and bargaining power. The overall impact of corruption, however, depends not just on the size of payoffs, but also on their distortionary effects on the economy. But even when the impact is significant, the efficient level of bribery will not be zero. Bribery is costly to control, and reforms must consider the costs as well as the benefits of fighting it.

Corruption in Politics

India is ranked at 87th position in the list of 178 countries in terms of corruption as per the Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). Such index includes both political and bureaucratic corruptions. An international organization has estimated annual worth of the Indian corruption market to be approximately USD 5 billion and in this 75% of them are corruption by politicians. That is the reason why today we are living in a rich country but we are termed as poor by the Western countries.

List of political corruptions or scandals after the independence are very much higher in number. In the 1971 Nagarwala scandal, the Bitumen scam Churhat lottery scam, Tansi land deal and Urea scam between 1980 and 2000, the major corruptions done by politicians and the impact of these scams were so powerful that several governments collapsed due to it. Some of them are most sorted out like the Bofors Scandal, Telecom scam, JMM Bribery Scandal, Fodder scam, St Kitts case and Hawala scandal. Rajiv Gandhi's "Mr. Clean" Image got tarnished in the Bofors scam and he lost the 1989 elections. In 1996, Lalu Prasad Yadav was forced to leave the Chief minister post of Bihar after the insurgence of the fodder scam. The major political scams for the decade are Taj corridor case, Oil-for-food program scam, and Cash-for-votes scandal, money laundering above Rs. 4000 crores by Madhu Koda, who is the Ex-chief Minister of Jharkhand and the 3G scam. Though, P.V Narasingh Rao is considered as the father of liberalized Indian economy, he had to lose the 1996 election due to scams only.

Reasons behind increasing political scams in India

In India, the election is not state-funded and these days winning elections are beyond imagination. This seems to be be a major reason behind political corruption. Inactive use of Right to information Act by Indian citizens is very much encouraging politicians to do corruption in a fearless manner. Pressure of coalition government prevents the Prime Minister or the Chief Ministers to take any stern action against a corrupted politician or minister. All the anti-corruption wings are under direct control of the Government and this could be the reason that the ministers and politicians usually get an easy way to escape from the charges by pressurizing the Investigation agency.

In the most recent past everyone has been animatedly supporting Anna Hazare's fight against corruption. India tops the list for black money in the entire world with almost US$1456 billion in Swiss banks which is accumulated in the form of black money. According to the data provided by the Swiss Banking Association Report (2006), India is embedded with more black money than the rest of the world combined. Indian Swiss bank account assets are worth almost 13 times the country's national debt. Indian black money is sometimes physically transferred abroad. The CEO of a Mumbai-based equity firm had recently told journalists that the money is flown abroad in special flights out of Mumbai and Delhi airports to Zurich. Indeed Indians could be the largest depositors of illegal money in Swiss banks, according to sources from the banking industry. The estimated average amount that has been stashed away annually from India during 2002-2006 is $27.3 billion US dollars. Independent reports have recently calculated that the traditionally ruling family (Gandhi) financial net worth to be anywhere between $9.41 billion (Rs. 42,345 crore) to $18.66 billion (Rs 83,900 crore), most of it in the form of illegal monies.

Harvard scholar Yevgenia Albats cited KGB correspondence regarding the payments to Rajiv Gandhi and his family, which had been arranged by Viktor Chebrikov, which shows that KGB chief Viktor Chebrikov sought in writing an authorization to make payments in US dollars to the family members of Rajiv Gandhi, namely Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Paola Maino, mother of Sonia Gandhi from the CPSU in December 1985. According to the compilation, the total amount of money involved in various scams over the years since 1992, is estimated to be over Rs. 80 lakh crore. While this figure is not claimed to be a definitive calculation, it has been arrived at on the basis of material published in newspapers over the years. Corruption has been widely prevalent since the first government in independent India was formed though an impression is being created that it is a relatively new phenomena in Indian politics. Corruption in India is a consequence of the nexus between Bureaucracy, politics and criminals. India is now no longer considered a soft state. It has now become a consideration state where everything can be had for a consideration.

Today, the number of ministers with an honest image can be counted by the fingers. At one time, bribe was paid for getting wrong things done but now bribe is paid for getting right things done at right time. It is well established that politicians are extremely corrupt the world over. This information will be a valuable reference material for researchers, educationists, educational planners and administrators as well as research scholars and students. The peak of irony was when Anna was allegedly lodged in the same jail that housed the people who were responsible for two of the biggest scams in the country ever. How must the authorities have felt when they saw Raja and Kalmadi fill their plates while Anna was on a fast because of their misdeeds. Corruption has become an unavoidable part of politics and every now and then, one or the other politician re-affirms this fact.

This web page explains the corruptions that occured in India. The information are collected from the media reports. or it owners do not take any responsibility for the authenticity of the contents. Since some cases are in the court of law, we do not endorse any cases or do not conclude on the same. If you need any changes to be done on the above information, kindly contact us with valid proof. However sincere attempt is being made to create awareness in the society against this evil and to prepare the younger generation for a corruption free India.