Friday, December 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Of power and corruption

This refers to the thought provoking article by Mr Hari Jaisingh entitled “Of power and corruption: problem of missing political will” (Dec 8). The writer has suggested various measures to fight corruption. In my view, one single formula which can minimise this evil to a very large extent is “less government, less corruption”. Reduce the role of government to the minimum possible to reduce the extent of corruption. Today governments are operating buses, managing hotels, running industries, trading in foodgrains and so on and so forth. Government has no business to do business. It should only focus on governmental functions. So far as business is concerned, its role should be that of a promoter and not operator. Human mentality is the same all over the world. We cannot say Indians are more corrupt than those living in other countries of the world. It is the system that matters. If the system provides room for corruption, people would be naturally corrupt. So, we need to change the system to minimise corruption in India.

Delays in getting justice from courts is still a major factor breeding corruption. As the judicial process is painfully lengthy, one is left with no other choice but to take the short cut route of greasing the palms of officials to get his work done.


Unless the judicial process is expedited and people get immediate justice, corruption cannot be rooted out. Thus reducing the role of government to the minimum and expediting the judicial process are two major areas crucial for tackling the menace of corruption.

In this context, it may be pertinent to quote Alexander Pope’s lines: “The best government is the one which governs the least!”

A. R. Sharma

Distressing scenario: It is heartening to note that conscientious journalists are voicing genuine concern about the malady of corruption. However, it is distressing to see that there is hardly any sphere of activity which is free from corruption in India. It casts its evil shadow over politics, administration, sports and even religion and academics.

Everyone feels anguish over the menace but none seems to do anything concrete about fighting it. Unless values are taught at home and in schools at an early age, the country will have future citizens who will not have any scruples about giving or taking bribes.

The society as a whole has to fight to eradicate the evil. For this, those in power should set an example first. Political leaders, ministers and administrators should lead the way for the rest of the country.

Sukhdev Singh

Cancerous growth: Corruption and black money cannot be eliminated overnight as their roots have spread like cancer in every field of activity.

Mr Hari Jaisingh has aptly pointed out that Mr V.N. Vittal, the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, cannot do the job of eliminating corruption alone. He needs the cooperation of the public as well as people in politics and administration.

Enlightened citizens should come forward to fight this menace through public fora. They can mould the young minds so that they develop into honest and upright citizens. Let us try this method with honesty and determination.


Clarion call: Mr Hari Jaisingh has given a clarion call to fight the menace of corruption. The views expressed in the detailed piece are worth serious consideration by our countrymen.

In my view, the main problem with our country is that its people tend to condone corruption as a way of life. Unless the society shuns corrupt people as well as the bribe-givers, the problem will continue to persist.



World Aids Day

Usual formalities were once again observed on the World Aids Day this year (December Ist). Seminars were held, walks and runs organised, insertions in newspapers published and at the end of the day we all patted our backs for having accomplished a ‘gigantic task’. On the ground the deadly HIV continues to spread unabated claiming new victims every minute. Aids is much more than a health crisis, it is an economic and social crisis.

An estimated 3.7 million Indians were living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 1999. This number is more than in any other country in the world except South Africa. India has an adult prevalence rate of 0.70 per cent. In certain states of India it is as high as 2% or more, according to a World Health Organisation report. In India the major route of HIV transmission is sexual route. India has more than 25% of Sexually Transmitted Diseases cases in the world. A pre-existing STD increases the risk of HIV transmission up to 5 times.

Whereas the Sub-Saharan Africa (which is facing the worst HIV epidemic in the world) has shown a significant fall in number of fresh HIV infections in the year 2000, the scene in India continues to be grim.

Young girls are emerging as a vulnerable group. A lack of communication between parents and children bottlenecks the flow of vital information to children. We need to learn to start talking to our children about sexual health. A quality information can help them to stay safe and make wise decisions. The earlier you begin the easier it is. By the time they are teenagers they will be prepared and less likely to make unwise choices. Create an environment of trust and communication. “Once in a life time” talk will not give them all the information they need. It has to be a continuous process. Do not give more information than they want or need. The girls especially need to be empowered to resist sexual harassment, abuse and assault. Our school education can play an important role in imparting health (including sex) education but our teachers don’t possess the requisite skills nor a national consensus has been reached on the issue. We are running out of time.

If we want to slow down the pace of HIV/AIDS pandemic in our country we will have to take our children into the confidence. They are needed as active partners in national effort.


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