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Can Bribing be Curbed by Punishing the Bribe Taker Alone ?

Consider this option which is being hotly debated by none other than the Chief Economic Adviser for the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Kaushik Basu, http://finmin.nic.in/WorkingPaper/Act_Giving_Bribe_Legal.pdf . Read the above paper to enlighten yourself.

The gist of the paper is this. A few type of bribes such as giving bribe to fulfill a duty of a government official. For example, a government official accepting bribes to issue Driving License or Community Certificate, even though it is his duty to perform that job. These types of Bribes are called as Harassment Bribes, where the public is harassed to get what is rightfully theirs. There are lot of instances of such bribes. The paper suggests to let go the Bribe giver and punish the Bribe taker. Thus, curbing the Bribe request itself. Because if the Bribe giver complains to the proper authorities the Bribe taker will only be punished. And it is in the best interest of the Bribe giver because he/she will get their money back.

Surely this will help curb the bribe policy as a demand from the bribe taker. But as there is no set accountability on such processes of the government officials, such as how many community certificates were issued based on the number of requests filed (A performance metric for any post). There is certainly, no benefit for the bribe giver to not entice the government official to accept bribe. So if we don’t put accountability into order the government official may not demand a bribe, but as a result of this action more people will suffer because of the official’s clumsy attitude towards his job (if the public is not willing to entice the official into bribe). As a thumb rule, no government official is forced to work with accountability as all supervisors don’t punish or report clumsiness with an official memo. Mostly because of the sympathy they carry towards a fellow government employee and some due to practicing such clumsiness themselves.

So it will push the public to not waste time in honesty and bribe the damn hell out of these officials. Even now the scenario is the same. Which sane person would like to continue wasting time in reporting a malpractice of a government official when all he needs is to get a tax refund or a registration certificate in a day. I welcome the move to not punish the bribe giver, which will certainly curb actual bribing, but if performance accountability of a particular official is not audited by a 3rd party firm, then it might not fetch the necessary outcome we all are hoping for.

Jay is the Founder of JKL Technologies (http://www.jkltech.in), which specializes in SaaS products on the cloud & Mobile Apps. JKL Technologies is also known for Cloud Consultation for various enterprises to move from their current intranet (on premise) Apps to the Cloud. Nerd @ Heart & Competitive by Nature.

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