Tag Archives: corruption

“Bribe-sourcing”–The latest tactic employed by Traffic cops

Two days ago,I went shopping in a locality near my house and parked my car in front of a jewelry store. There was no “No Parking” sign anywhere. After I returned to my car after making the purchase,I was surprised to see that the front tire of my car was “locked” by a wheel clamp (so that I could not drive off) . There was a number in a piece of paper that was held against the windshield by a the windshield wiper. I called the number and the voice at the other end informed me that I had ‘violated’ the traffic rules by parking in a NO PARKING ZONE and that my car would be towed away within the hour.

I waited patiently for 15 minutes after which a small tow vehicle pulled up accompanied by 2 motorcycles with people in plainclothes.The police in the pickup truck signaled to the guy in plainclothes who undid the wheel clamp. The traffic police then asked me what my occupation was and where I lived (to gauge the amount of money that could be extracted ) and finally said “If I book a case,you will have to pay Rs.1500.Since it is the first time you pay just Rs.200 ;just be careful in the future”.

Now this post is not a rant about paying bribes or about unclear NO PARKING signs.This post is about how traffic cops have now outsourced the “spotting of prospective candidates” to others to increase ‘revenue’. Usually the people who are identified by the traffic policemen as “prospective candidates” are spotted and flagged by the policemen themselves.In my case, the plain clothes policemen in the motorcycles (not even sure if they were police) were the ones who helped spot “offenders” (I hung around for some time in the area to confirm this by observing ).

Everyone adheres to guidelines when there is a cop nearby,so the cops have come up with this unique (though questionable) means of identifying offenders.

This is the reason webcams are not installed at vantage points—the presence of webcams would mean that money garnered from traffic rule violations would never reach the pockets of the traffic cops.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.Also,let me know if the term I coined for this (see title of post) is appropriate 🙂


Are Indian Movies Muting Public Conscience?

All Indian movies involving politicians and policemen have one central theme : the corrupt behavior goes unpunished till a savior (the protagonist) steps in and takes the law into his own hands to restore balance.

This post is not meant to ridicule the villains or celebrate the heroes.I want to look more closely at why so many films—that are centered around more or less the same concept i.e hero stepping in to correct the wrongdoers—are made.I live in  Chennai,Tamil Nadu.I am not six feet tall.I do not weigh 200 pounds.Heck,I don’t even weigh 150 pounds.The point I am trying to make is that my appearance is not intimidating to scare anyone into action. But,whenever I have had an issue with something I have explored the relevant channels and have got answers (The trick is to always send emails as follow-ups as they serve as proof).

Indians generally watch a lot of movies and the uneducated classes get their ‘education’ from movies.When they see normal complaints/petitions thwarted on-screen,they eventually come to the conclusion that corruption is a way of life that should be circumnavigated rather than dealt with head-on.They also come to the conclusion that they are powerless against the might of the corrupt and don’t even bother to question anything as they feel that only a superhuman can face up to corrupt practices.

Most of these movies are funded by politicians and one gets the feeling that misinformation is being propagated through films by unscrupulous politicians to discourage the public from pursuing the correct course of action.

I hope that one day people in India are educated enough to get over their fears and learn to question any (or atleast some)deviation without fear of retribution.

3 Ways Corruption Can Be Monitored

Corruption is something that we(Indians) have come to accept as part of our life.The reason corrupt practices continue to flourish is because of the lack of comprehensive mechanisms available.Technological changes are the way forward to ensure more transparency in all dealings(involving general public) with the government.Here are some of my suggestions :–

1.All transactions in government offices should take place in the presence of webcams. This will ensure that bribes and intimidatory behavior which might influence decisions are monitored closely.

2.Computerization of procedures should be encouraged and implemented. Most corrupt practices that take place in sectors like real estate are due to duplicate documents being used.Digitization would hinder fraudsters,as it would ensure that decisions are made quickly due to ease of access of information.

3.Justification for all repair work of public services should be clearly documented. Every wondered about why the roads that were laid a few months ago had to be dug up again to accommodate underground pipes? Poor planning might be a reason —shouldn’t someone have checked if pipes were being laid out before the new roads were laid out?Maybe,stupidity is not the reason —maybe everything is carefully orchestrated to ensure that same work is being done every 6 months instead of every few years to ensure a regular cut out of the deal?Every taxpayer has a right to know about improper use of government money.

These are some of the things that came to my mind.If you have any further suggestions,let me know in the comments section.

Recommended Reading :

Technology – India’s quiet anti-corruption crusader

Transparent Government, via Webcams in India