Corruption in India

There’s absolutely no way getting around this issue. Corruption is a major problem in India, as it is everywhere else. In India, the issue’s been on the front page of its very watchful & critical newspapers for a very long time. In fact, some like Tehelka.com have built a reputation around exposing scams. The sheer fact is that corruption continues, and it seems not much can derail the gravy train in India.

From an international investment perspective, they all know that corruption exists. They all know that people need to be paid off or provided hospitality to. They all know the importance that the business world places in cementing its relationship with Government, so they try to replicate it – rather than take a stand as per their corporate governance rules in their own countries.

Or do they?

Evidence suggests that corruption is as much an issue in the western world as it is in places like India. In well known cases of British firms, the Government has blocked enquiries into trade deals (BAE Systems), been complicit in trying to sway deals by offering generous hospitality (FIFA World Cup bid) etc etc.

In the past when I’ve discussed India’s woes with Indian business leaders, their view is summed up in the following quote “as long as our work is done, why should we care if a margin needs to be paid”. I suspect most western business leaders would disagree with this on the face of it, but privately would concede that they’ve had to somewhere down the line compromise on their ethics.

Given that India has a free and (very) critical press, is a very (colourful) and vibrant democracy, the only hope it has of tackling this scourge, is that of inspired political leadership.

It’s fair game to be critical of Manmohan Singh, the Gandhi’s and the ruling party, as it is about LK Advani and the BJP lead NDA coalition.

What’s the point of being a man of character & integrity as Prime Minister, or having a vibrant democracy, when they keep quite on scams such as those witnessed recently – Commonwealth Games, Adarsh Society, and the massive 2G scam.

One can only conclude with such behaviour that they’re on the take. India needs inspired political leadership.

Who will that be?

  • Jaihind

    Hi,
    This is the most ridiculous article I have read. There are Indian Businessmen and women in India that have never and I mean never taken bribes or would get involved with taking bribes. No businessman unless corrupt through and through will want to do business this way even if they are forced to. Two wrongs don't make a right, what happened with BAe doesn't make it O.K for India to fall foul (this is no justification or argument). We should be looking at “our motherland” with critical eyes, not with glossed ones. Look at the Bhopal disaster, the commonwealth games fraud,IPL, 2g fraud, these are huge massively fraudulent episodes which will be forgotten and swept under the carpet. Like everything else, no decisive action by any one. I have read almost all your glossed “India articles” and none of them give the impression that India should be weary,not just weary but actually should be scared, of China and Brazil. I believe you have recently visited China, and what did you see. As far as I am concerned absolutely nothing. Which newly built city in India is comparable to any new built city in China? Absolutely none. The infrastructure that China is putting in should be scaring the living daylights out of India. From Buildings to roads to sewerage system to hygiene to layout to future planning to absolutely everything, China is ahead. You will say at the cost of what? You might be correct, but India has the same problems. There are pockets of places in India (Hyderabad), but where is the long term infrastructure? At every level in India there is Corruption. This is the root problem. The same amount of money made by the rich in India is made by the rich in China. The same amount of money that the middle-class make in india is made by the middle class in China. However, China as plc makes more money than India plc and China plc invest in their country, where India plc most of the money is stolen by corrupt politicians. Just look at what happened in China a year ago when there the milk problem occurred. I believe the company directors were imprisoned. The UK passport holder who tried smuggle drugs in was shot. This kind of thing will never happen in India, but to manage a billion people some stringent laws must be applied, and you cannot let politicians be corrupt. We should be ashamed and shame people of there actions. Look at the wheat fiasco, milk fiasco in India, they would rather throw away food than give it away. If corrupt can't make any money then they won't let ANYONE benefit either. This is the most ridiculous thinking I have ever come across. We have lots to learn yet from the west. Lets look at the best thins we can learn and the worst thing that we do, only then will we learn to improve and set standards.
    This UK being the junior partner will come back and bite us in the foot someday if we are not humble. We have achieved a lot since our independence and india is setting new goals, but to be a global player as Britain once was we need to be organised at home. We are far from that.
    Regards,
    Jai Hind