Friday, 3 October 2014

Who is the most corrupt politician in India and why?

Who is the most corrupt politician in India and why?

According to me, the most corrupt of all is the common man. Yep, you read that right.

1. Bribery
50 million BPL (below the poverty line) households in India paid as much as Rs 8,830 million in bribes, within one year, to access 11 selected public services in 2007 (Couldn't find more recent numbers)[1]. if we assume that average bribe is Rs 10 per person per year for the rest, then the figure would easily reach around 20 Billion. Corruption is not just taking bribes - it involves giving bribes too.

2. Black Money and Taxes 
Preference for fake bills - This is both, for sellers and consumers. People prefer plain paper bills to avoid VAT. Consider a small example - Purchasing a furniture of Rs 20000 would involve 2500 VAT (at 12.5%) on part of buyer and say Rs 1000 as income tax for seller. Taking a fake bill deprives the state Rs 3500 - straight away. This happens for sweets, jewelry, clothes - everything under the sun. Easily a scam of atleast a billion dollars.
Trade Mispricing - U.S.-based research and advocacy group Global Financial Integrity's report estimates that $462 billion in illicit money has been taken out of India over the last six decades [2]. The primary driver of illicit flows is trade mispricing.  That is, declaring a lower-than-market price for goods which are exported, and higher-than-market price for good which are imported. Forget international trade - when one buys a house for say, Rs 1 crore, he would report the figure to be just around 20 lakhs while registering the house - rest is black money and tax evasion.

3. Embezzlement, theft and fraud
So you thought that these were the privileges that only politicians can enjoy? Well then I have some news - common man does this too. Let me give you a very, very small example - most of the people working in companies take out personal printouts from the companies' printers. Isn't this theft? And this is just one example.

4. Abuse of discretion
This means misuse of one's powers and decision-making facilities. A principal in a school gives admission to an undeserving student in return of favors. A person goes and changes his statement in the court for money. A senior forces a junior to withdraw from elections because he gets better deals from other hostels. All these are cases of misusing discretionary powers.

5. Favouritism, nepotism and clientelism
To all the managers - have you always promoted the most deserving candidate? To all the doctors - have you never given preference to your family members? To all entrepreneurs - would you make someone other than your child the next CEO? So its love for your case and nepotism for the Gandhi family? 

So this is the common man. He would conveniently sit at home during elections. He would find wrongs  with the politicians. He would blame the system, forgetting that he himself is the bread and butter of the whole game.

Update 1
Many comments are about shifting the blame from politicians to common man. This is a logical fallacy - my answer does not do so. This answer is an attempt to bring into the light that how common man himself is a big part of this entire corrupt system. If you go through my other answers on India - you would realize I am a believer in the power of common man. And we can unite our energy only when we understand where we are wrong, accept it and then work towards its improvement. We have a bad tendency to blame others for everything without reflecting what we ourselves are doing - how we are passive/indirect promoters of corruption. The answer is not about numbers - its about attitude that needs a change, a habit that we are so used to that we overlook it. This is the concern raised here.
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