Saturday, May 04, 2013

Where the Rot Starts

A recent corruption scam in the Indian Railways exposes how corruption at the top trashes the entire system. When all the departments malfunction from corruption, the standards of life fall hopelessly. The government, if it aims to enforce correction at the grass roots level, will only evoke resentment and ill will among the people. The surgery has to begin from the top down.

The nephew of the Union Railway Minister of India has been arrested for receiving bribes of just under ten million INR (170,000 USD) for a top level appointment in the Indian Railways, the eighth largest employer in the world.

Let's look at how this scam can affect the quality of Indian Railways and life in general in India.

The appointed candidate holds a top level job. He has to make up this money and turn this investment into a profit as much times higher as possible. He will in turn demand and receive bribes for candidates that he recruits during his tenure. If a post can be had for money, then naturally the highest bidder becomes the most eligible. Qualifications and skills required take a back seat. Thus ineligible persons come to occupy the positions from top down. These people will be lax in discharging their duties, bringing down the efficiency of the Railways. The people subordinate to them whom they recruit-these recruitments will also be made based on money. Thus more ineligible candidates fill in the ranks of the Railways. The higher up the rung the occurrence of corruption, the faster and more thoroughly the rot spreads. In no time, the majority of the Railways posts are manned by inept employees.

The consequences will be constant delays in train services, frequent cancellation of services, frequent accidents, scams in purchase of machinery, ....

Dacoities and robberies on trains will be wide spread as nobody cares any more and any authority can be bought to help culprits.

The volume of passengers steadily goes down. The organization plummets into loss after loss.

Looking at the news, the railways has been suffering all of the above calamities for quite some time. Robberies are common. Trains slow down at designated points  ( Look at this story:

One wonders whether this is just one scam that has been exposed-whether it has been going on for some time?

Air India, the national carrier, has been suffering a similar fate with tales of rampant corruption.

When many of the state departments have been rendered inefficient because of corruption, it emboldens  neighbouring countries to make incursions into Indian territory with impunity. China probably seized the opportunity.

One wishes the Government, instead of trying to muffle anti-corruption movements by Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal, had taken on the corruption challenge and tried to mitigate it.
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