The Indiagate scam
This incident dates back to the pre-Independence period. My father must have been in his early 20s when, as a fresh graduate, he was selected in the defence accounts department of the central government. Rama Kashyap writeschandigarh Updated: Jun 21, 2013 10:23 IST
This incident dates back to the pre-Independence period. My father must have been in his early 20s when, as a fresh graduate, he was selected in the defence accounts department of the central government. For joining the job, he required a medical certificate. After his medical examination, he had to get the final stamp of approval from the chief medical officer (CMO), who happened to be British.
As my father's name was called out, he entered the officer's room. The CMO kept shuffling papers with one hand and gesticulating with the other beneath the table as if he was asking for something. Repeatedly, the officer asked my father, "What shall I write?" My father could not comprehend anything. Ultimately, the officer signed and my father came out with the medical certificate in his hand. The other candidates, who had to part with whatever money they had in their pocket, were curious to know how much my father had to shell out. He did not pay a penny. He was too naïve to understand that the officer was asking for bribe.
Corruption, which has nothing to do with need but greed, has always been there but it was never so open and brazen. Today, bribery is demanded shamelessly as a matter of right. You cannot get a passport till you pay the cop who comes for police verification. No property registration is possible without greasing palms. So rampant is bribery today that it has assumed fancy names in different contexts. When a petty government servant demands illegal gratification, he is asking for 'bakshish', but when it is demanded by higher-ups for doing a job, it's called 'commission'. Bribery is given the name of 'cutback' in departments where corruption is institutionalised; here, for the entire officialdom from top to bottom, there is a cut. In big arms deals, 'kickback' is more sophisticated a name for bribery.
Corruption is no longer sporadic but endemic. Its scale and magnitude has tremendously gone up. No wonder scams involving crores of rupees keep tumbling out every day. The latest to join the long lists of scams related to the government are Coalgate and Railgate. What is common in these two scams? It is the suffix '-gate', which has come to be attached with the scams.
This media coinage draws its analogy from the 'Watergate' scandal in the early 1970s which resulted in the resignation of then US President Richard Nixon. India seems to have been hit by the 'scam syndrome'. The way bigger and bolder scams are coming to light; the day is not far when we hear about a mega 'Indiagate' scam.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
First Published: Jun 21, 2013 10:19 IST