I’m sure everyone is familiar with Lord Acton’s saying: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. However, I am more in agreement with Robert Caro as he believed that power always reveals. As is the case nowadays, people who are in power are not responsible enough and succumb to corruption. In fact, corrupt people are competing with each other to reach positions of power. As for the rules and procedures in use to keep corruption in check, they are flimsy in their entirety and the people who are enforcing these rules can be bought off. In such a scenario where there is literally nothing to curb corruption, here are 10 humble suggestions to eradicate corruption from the society.
10. Increase transparency in the system.
As long as every penny that is exchanged is accounted for and the transaction details involving any major deal or laws that are being enforced are accessible to everyone to peruse, there will be considerably less scope for corruption to take place. Be it during the election process or changing the prices of commodities or removing the facilities of subsidiary prices, if the system is totally transparent, then any discrepancy can be easily detected. However, at present a person has to cross many barriers and be in a considerable position of power to uncover these unethical behaviors.
9. Reduce the gap between the rich and the poor.
It is no secret that corrupt people in important positions often prey on the helplessness of the common man. Often, the common man is hard-pressed to give in to bribery because they need to access the will of their dead relative to pay for their mortgage or some equally painful situation. They do not usually have any choice in the matter as the ones involved usually make sure their dereliction of duty is not caught. As the vast disparities in the positions of the subjects involved is the pivotal reason for such a situation to arise, it is of utmost importance to endeavor to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor and even more so to improve the standard of living of the common man.
8. Increase job satisfaction in government bodies.
Government officials are often expected to keep the welfare of the common man their imperative and hence, their salary and taxes are considerably conservative compared to, say, the average private employee. In regions where inflation is high, this becomes a problem as no salary would be enough for their ‘needs’. It irrevocably follows that these weak-hearted individuals resort to professional misconduct. Even if the fact of the matter is that this inflation is due to a giant conspiracy between the political leaders and the business tycoons, we need to find a way to make their job more satisfying.
7. Strict legal actions against the accused.
This is for those insatiable officers whole are always greedy for more. These people will always be craving for more no matter how much they are appreciated. Let’s be honest. Fear of punishment can be a very strong motivation to not commit any malpractice to satiate their never-ending greed. Screening every potential employee may not always be practical. Nevertheless, an honest to God fear of undergoing a sentence enforced by law if caught can be a potent stimulus to hinder any evolving ideas of deception. It is therefore necessary to put in place strict legal laws describing the severe actions to be taken against people found guilty of corruption.
6. Give incentive to the whistle-blowers.
There will always be some fickle minded souls who are easily swayed and are manipulated into committing a corrupt act. Once roped in, they more or less have to continue with these acts for fear of discovery. These people are not obviously bright and are one of the first ones to get caught as they make good fronts to cover up the whole discordant deal. Hence, if they are manipulated into revealing more matter and given protection, (like placing them in separate jails, etc.) then there is a substantial chance of revealing a gigantic chain of corruption. There will be significantly more corruption chains unearthed if the corrupt persons already in custody are given incentives in the form of reduced or less severe sentences on the condition that they help in apprehending more such criminals involved.
5. Hire responsible media personnel.
Media is supremely powerful. This is a non-negotiable fact. It is therefore devastating for the innocent quarry if the media refuses to divulge crucial information for the sake of monetary gains or promotions. It should thus be stipulated that laws are enforced such that the personnel in the media are responsible and publish valid news irrespective of the status of the accused.
4. Anonymity provided to the informers.
Most people are apprehensive of the repercussions of aiding in the conviction of powerful criminals. They are more often than not threatened with bodily harm or impaling of their loved ones. It only follows that anonymity be provided to the person who is giving information about the corruption chains. When the fear of harm is removed from the equation, naturally, more cases are expected to be lodged. This can be ensured by organizing a private phone line accessible to everyone or an open forum which can be accessed online.
3. Provide protection to the informer if their identity is leaked.
If, by some twist of fate, the informer’s identity is leaked, then they should be provided protection and secure their position by relocating them, etc. If there are secure standard procedures in place to provide security for the informer, then there will be more citizens willing to come forth with news about the unprofessional behavior of officials in varied positions.
2. Standard deadline for all the procedures.
Oftentimes, it is seen that officials deliberately keep work on hold and prolong the matter in hopes of extracting bribes to increase the pace of the process. They generally get away with this because the workload far exceeds the workforce of the offices and any of these discrepancies can be easily explained away. This can be dealt by first increasing the workforce in government bodies and then introducing standard deadlines for all procedures. An inquiry should be done when any work is exceeding the stipulated deadline. If the subject can provide a valid reason for the delay, it can be excused and if he behaves suspiciously actions should be taken against him and a full-fledged inquiry should be done into all his assets.
1. Website for lodging complaints.
Corruption is prevalent nowadays mainly because the people (the lowest rung in the corruption chain) are made to believe they are helpless and can go to no one for aid. In such a scenario, we need to host a website where any person in the cover of anonymity can post about any corrupt practices that are being forced upon them. Every functioning office should have a group of officials that look into inquiries pertaining to their respective offices. Thus, at least a few of the cases can be detected and the accused can be apprehended for their misdeeds. As with any good action, there may be false alarms but these become a necessary evil. However, actions can be taken to curb these false alarms too.
It is true that Rome was not built in a day. Hence, we cannot expect changes to be brought about overnight. Every single one of us has to endeavor to bring about this profound change not only in the system but in the mind-set of the average citizen. Mahatma Gandhi’s words “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” should be heeded in the present situation.