Though it is a few years now since RTI Act has been enacted, this has not been able to reduce the level of corruption and nepotism in the country to any visible extent.
Obviously, it implies that laws however strong it may be, cannot defeat the forces of corruption , unless there would be determined and strong minded activists willing to make the necessary sacrifice for the sake of the cause. Let not anyone think that I am belittling the RTI Act but only express my deep anguish at the state of affairs in the country.
While Himalayan corruption gets some media attention, thousands of petty corruption taking place all over India everyday go unreported. Common men suffer heavily due to this sort of corruption. What is needed is concerted campaign urging people to resist corruption at the individual level at day today life and corrupt politicians and bureaucrats should be humiliated by the individuals at every opportunity and such people should be boycotted. This is not a difficult job but a sustained micro level campaign is necessary.
Read the story below that took place in August,2012 and this is the typical pattern of corruption in India , exposing the innocent and law abiding citizens who feel frustrated and hopeless.
A gentleman applied for legal heirship certificate to the Tahsildar office . He was asked to fill the form with around ten details. He filled it up and brought the form next day to the Tahsildar office. He was asked to produce some more details with proof. He brought it again to the office after three days. He was then told that some information were not complete and therefore he has to resubmit the form. He did this again and brought it the next day and he was asked to come after ten days. When he went after ten days, he was asked to come after another ten days.
The tired applicant asked the clerk straightaway what exactly he would want. Then the clerk told him “with reluctance” that donation of Rupees one thousand was required for a “noble cause”. Expecting this, the applicant immediately gave Rs. 1000/-. He was then given a receipt as donation for a flag hoisting ceremony and the receipt had no number and no signature.
Then, a copy of the receipt was put in the file along with the application and immediately sent to higher authority. Obviously, the higher authority looking into the file and receipt would know that “the donation” has been paid.
In the next few days, the clerk went out of the way to call the applicant over telephone , spoke to him very affectionately like a brother and said that his certificate was ready.
As the applicant did not want to look at the face of the clerk again, he sent someone else to collect the certificate. Thus ended one more story of Indian corruption.
(N.S.Venkataraman is a Chemical Engineer from Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu and Director of Nandini Consultancy Centre. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)