India: Where Corruption Is A Bigger Issue Than Economic Slowdown
The most important global economic news right now is melting down of Euro zone and fears of another long recession all around. One important nation in today's world economy, India, however, is more concerned over corruption than economy. This, despite high inflation and slowing down growth. Reason: corruption so wide-spread in all aspects of life that it is testing common man’s tolerance.
In a bye-election to be held later this month to the country's parliament, anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare has pitched himself against the ruling party, Congress on the issue of corruption. The tall leader of main opposition party [BJP], LK Advani, has started a country-wide procession / travel to highlight corruption. Nearly a dozen high and mighty - including some ex-Ministers - are in jail on graft charges. A number of prominent citizens including corporate heads this week wrote an open letter to the prime minister to tackle corruption and bring in reforms. Yesterday, the Prime Minister and a cabinet colleague of his have announced that they will work hard to bring a very strong institutional mechanism [lokpal] soon to try cases of corruption. In September, Anna Hazare’s indefinite fast to force creation of a lokpal institution had shaken the government and parliament so much that a special session of parliament was held with a promise to bring in a bill for this purpose.
With its huge potential to grow, India might turn the world economy's final saviour - an economic power that has much stronger base than the western economies that have been shining on borrowed money, and one that is more ethical and open than China. What it needs to control, it seems, is its high level of corruption. Some economists feel that it can deal with burgeoning population, hunger, diseases, filth, urban mess and other problems fast if it has a clean system.
It is to be seen whether there is political will to clean the system or the people in power are just buying time [and indulging in corruption all the while].