What are the basic causes of corruption

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Title: Understanding the Basic Causes of Corruption: An Examination of the Indian Context

Corruption is an age-old malady that afflicts societies worldwide, debilitating the effectiveness of political institutions while impeding social and economic development. It ensures that resources intended to enhance the public good are diverted, potentially creating vast inequalities between citizens. For UPSC aspirants, understanding the nature, magnitude, and adverse impacts of corruption is crucial. In this regard, this article aims to outline and analyze the fundamental causes of corruption, using examples from India’s context.

1. Poor Governance and Weak Institutions: A notable cause of corruption lies in the lack of good governance, characterized by weakness in public institutions’ systems and processes. The inefficiencies link directly to low accountability and reduced transparency, providing individuals with opportunities to engage in corrupt practices without facing significant repercussions. In India, the 2G Spectrum Scam and the Coalgate Scam highlight severe governance deficiencies, leading to a considerable misappropriation of resources and corruption.

2. Political Patronage and Influence: This is mainly observed where political figures use their influence and power to obtain undeserved benefits. Political figures may unduly reward their supporters, leading to graft. The fodder scam in Bihar serves as an example, where influential political figures used their positions to defraud the exchequer of large sums of money intended for the purchase of cattle fodder.

3. Low Wages and Poor Working Conditions: Policymakers often overlook this correlation, but low wages, particularly in the public sector, can motivate employees to seek informal methods to supplement their income, hence encouraging corruption. For instance, reports have often pointed out corrupt practices among India’s traffic police, primarily attributed to their low remuneration.

4. Absence of Strong Press and Freedom of Speech: A thriving democracy requires free, unbiased media and unrestricted freedom of speech. These factors act as watchdogs, effectively keeping a check on corrupt practices. Censoring these platforms gives corruption a fertile breeding ground. For example, attacks on journalists and reporters in India, as per the Reports Without Borders, threaten the freedom of speech and hamper anti-corruption efforts.

5. Cultural Factors: The acceptance and normalization of corruption as a necessary evil in society can significantly exacerbate the situation. An attitude of accepting petty corruption like bribery in everyday life, as it is often seen in India, contributes to educating the public to become used to and even expect and depend on corruption.

6. Economic Inequality: When access to resources and wealth is unevenly distributed, it puts pressure on the underprivileged to resort to corrupt activities for survival. The incessant income inequality in India could be seen as a contributing factor towards corruption.

7. Inefficient Legal System: A slow and cumbersome legal system can discourage victims from reporting corruption. Cases like Abdul Karim Telgi’s Stamp Paper Scam in India reflect how a lethargic legal system could possibly encourage corruption.

It is imperative for UPSC aspirants to understand that corruption, being a multifaceted problem, requires a comprehensive approach. The issue cannot be addressed solely through punitive actions. Instead, it demands robust institutions, systemic reforms, a vibrant civil society, and a comprehensive transformation of societal attitudes to foster a culture of integrity, transparency and accountability. By delving into the intricacies of the issue, aspirants can prepare themselves to combat corruption and, thereby, foster a more equitable society.

Prince Luthra (UPSC CSE AIR 577)

Hello Aspirants, I am Prince Luthra (AIR 577) from UPSC 2014 batch. I started the UPSC preparation way back in 2010. I was giving my time, effort, and energy. I was pretty sure to pass the exam in 1st attempt but I could not. After the failure, I asked myself why could not I clear prelims? After a lot of analysis, I figured out that I was reading the books toppers told me to; Nevertheless, in the prelims exam, I was making mistakes in MCQs. I started attempting MCQs for preparation. This strategy worked since when an MCQ is asked then your brain stimulates and starts searching for answers. Our MCQs series capitalize upon this concept and hence we provide you Spectrum MCQ series and Laxmikanth MCQ series so that you score 90-95% in History and Polity MCQs which will take your marks above cut off be it UPSC, PSC, EPFO or any other exam. This strategy helped me clearing Prelims of UPSC and UPPCS, I am certain that it will help you too. All the best! Prince Luthra (AIR 577)

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