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Kerala Development Model - II

Let me try to reflect on the issue of corruption.

In Kerala, vast majority of people have something to lose. They possess something. Even poor people have dignity. They have a lot to lose. In such a society, it is not impossible to create a good law and order system, reduce corruption etc. But our third-world mentality, and a contituation of our cultural mentality, and a disconnect between realities and laws probably make it somewhat difficult. Then comes lack of strong institutions. We only have ourselves to blame here.

Corruption:- Why do people give bribe? To get things done? Let us see how unscientific this is. Let us say, people are in a queue in a panchayat office to get different certificates. If the queue moves along everybody gets a chance and everybody gets delayed equally. Now, if things are very slow, that means situation is same for everybody. How will advanced societies address such issues? This is not an issue of resources. Attitude is what matters here. If things are slow, then a systemic analysis is done. Then, say a resolution is taken by the Panchayat officer along in consultation with the workers of the panchayat office. The resolution says "OK we will give all birth certificates within a maximum of 7 days. Average will be 3 days."

Now think about this situation. Can such a thing happen in Kerala (or India or any third world country). Not probably. Why? Because we forget the primary purpose of a panchayat office. Isn't serving the people efficiently? Nope. Under our "our rights" attitude, the primary purpose of a panchayat office is "to give job to and protect the same of one or two dozen employees". Here again there is no balance between the rights of, say 50,000 people in that panchayat vs. the rights of these two dozens of employees. Can this ever happen in a first world country? Well, if this can happen, then the country will not have become a first world country in the first place.

Now, let us see what happens next. People in real life want certificates for various important things. But the wait time is, say one month. Now, whoever wants the certificate gives some bribe and gets it. Only a few people fight the chances and get it without bribing. Let us analyze this now. First, bribery encourages unethical behavior. It is against law. If majority of the people are breaking law, this encourages cynicism against laws and the system becomes ineffective. Then, if majority of the people are ready to bribe, why the hypocrisy? Let us increase the fee for these certificates, or create another scheme to expedite this and legalize it. Nothing wrong with that. Also, since we know that majority of employees take bribe, let us increase the pay of the employees (get it from the extra fee) so that they don't have to engage in illegal and unethical activities.

These are commonsensical as far as first world countries are concerned and they implement then very well.


By Haridas

Part I

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII


Part IX

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