Monday, August 27, 2012

Be Happy – Join Crusade Against Corruption (Part 1).

Undoubtedly, we are continuously proceeding ahead in achieving advancement of our civilization. Though it is a natural process of development as the necessity is the mother of the inventions and discoveries, we need to make efforts also to meet our growing requirements. With the passage of time, we have developed our requirements to the new heights, providing them new dimensions and classification – individual requirements, family requirements, community requirements, national requirements, global requirements and so on. Accordingly, our methods also change from individual to individual, community to community and country to the country.
Some time, our individual requirements prevail over other requirements and this step creates problems for others. Our greed or ego enters in and there starts differences. Some time, we reconcile and sit peacefully. But when we do not reconcile, we try to settle the disputed matter through many forums or methods like being polite in our exchanges, employing money and other materials/channels in the process, using force/threats etc. to create pressure and/or being diplomatic. It is also true that while settling the matters/differences, one party may feel to get some injustice and the other party may feel happy. Here too, in spite of having settled, the aggrieved party does not sit coolly unless that lacks sufficient resources to follow up. If really, there is some injustice which has been accepted due to pressure or coercive measures adopted by the opposite party, it won’t bring the desired peace of mind.
What do you mean by the word “Injustice”? It is an unjust act which affects someone or some other ones in social, financial and/or emotional terms, an act that inflicts undeserved hurt, involving unfairness to another or violation of one's rights.  Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Injustice of any kind is injustice. Even rigid justice is also injustice. But injustice never rules forever.
When the criminal court system was established its intent was to punish the guilty in a humane way and to set the innocent free. From personal experience I observe that the court system is now not about innocence or guilt. The court system is about whom you know and money, usually forcing most people into an involuntary plea. How would you expect that you are going to have fair play in getting justice? Those who get benefits out of turn appreciate judiciary overwhelming. Why does judiciary not take action against majority of its officers and employees who take bribe or do not perform their duties properly when they understand that even a minor slip or mishandling on their hands can cause terrible losses to the persons who come for seeking justice? The corrupt practices carried on in the corridors of the judiciary temples have made the process so costly that the poor people never feel easy to go to judiciary for justice. There are millions of cases pending for disposal but neither the judiciary or the Government is serious to take action for early disposal. Those who have got influence get their matters settled as per their convenience. Money and terror too prevail over the judiciary, it appears.
In Criminal Justice,   the most   important   real - world fact about our criminal justice system is that   a person accused of crimes enjoy no advantages, no matter how many rights the courts and legislatures have apportioned them. For the overwhelming majority of cases, they have no opportunity to exercise any of their rights. Instead, these rights are plea-bargained away.
First of all if you don’t have friends in high places i.e. police, lawyers, politicians, and judges then basically you are up a creek without a paddle. It has been proven time and time again that police, judges, and politicians can be in one’s pocket for the right price. Which brings me back to taking a plea, without these people in your court, your life is left in the same peoples hands In “Criminal Justice”, because the accused have robust rights, formally it would be too expensive and time consuming actually to permit them to exercise those rights, and as a result defendants are compelled to bargain them away.
Rights are now just an illusion created so that you believe you are going to be treated fairly. If the prosecutor could not threaten defendants by “upping the ante” so the court reasoned, there would be fewer guilty pleas and the system would collapse. So the prosecutor can bring even higher charges against me if I don’t plead guilty to my original charges. It makes sense in a corrupt system. Mankind must put an end to injustice, or the injustice will put an end to mankind.
Injustice with you means you are not getting what you actually deserve. Why do you not get you deserve? It means that in the process of delivering you the goods, there must have been some corruption involved either in calculation of your eligibility or in the delivery process itself. We need to find out where it is hidden.
Corruption means requesting, offering, giving or accepting, directly or indirectly, a bribe or any other undue advantage or prospect thereof, which distorts the proper performance of any duty or behavior required of the recipient of the bribe, the undue advantage or the prospect thereof. This may be called bribe, kickback, or you can call it as “Baksheesh”.
Embezzlement is also a form of corruption. It is outright theft of entrusted funds. It is political when it involves public money taken by a responsible public official. A common type of embezzlement is that of personal use of entrusted resources; for example, when an official assigns public employees to renovate his own house.
Corruption creates trading in influence, or influence peddling in some countries. This refers to the situation where a person is selling his/her influence over the decision process involving a third party (person or institution). The difference with bribery is that this is a tri-lateral relation.
In government it takes place when an elected representative makes decisions that are influenced by vested interests rather than their own personal or party ideological beliefs. The use of power by government officials for illegitimate private gain and misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality are the other forms of corruption. . It can be difficult to make a distinction between this form of corruption and some forms of extreme and loosely regulated lobbying where for instance law- or decision-makers can freely "sell" their vote, decision power or influence to those lobbyists who offer the highest compensation, including where for instance the latter act on behalf of powerful clients such as industrial groups who want to avoid the passing of specific environmental, social, or other regulations perceived as too stringent, etc.  
Philosophically, corruption is spiritual or moral impurity or deviation from an ideal. An illegal act by an officeholder or bureaucrat constitutes corruption if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under color of law. Forms of corruption vary, but include bribe, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. Corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking etc.
Corruption differs at various places. For instance, some political funding practices that are legal in one place may be illegal in another. In some cases, government officials have broad or ill-defined powers, which make it difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal actions. Worldwide, bribery alone is estimated to involve more than 1 trillion US dollars annually. A state of unrestrained political corruption is known as a kleptocracy, you can say it "rule by thieves".
Corruption poses a serious challenge. In the political realm, it undermines democracy and good governance by flouting or even subverting formal processes. Corruption in elections and in legislative bodies reduces accountability and distorts representation in policymaking; corruption in the judiciary compromises the rule of law; and corruption in public administration results in the inefficient provision of services. More generally, corruption erodes the institutional capacity of government as procedures are disregarded, resources are siphoned off, and public offices are bought and sold. At the same time, corruption undermines the legitimacy of government and such democratic values as trust and tolerance.
Corruption comes up in the shape of Patronage too. Patronage means favoring supporters, for example with government employment. This may be legitimate, as when a newly elected government changes the top officials in the administration in order to effectively implement its policy. It can be seen as corruption if this means that incompetent persons, as a payment for supporting the regime, are selected before more able ones. Many government officials are often selected for loyalty rather than ability. They are almost exclusively selected from a particular group.
Favoring relatives (nepotism) or personal friends (cronyism) of an official is a form of illegitimate private gain. This may be combined with bribery, for example demanding that a business should employ a relative of the official controlling regulations affecting the business. This is also the practice of corruption getting popular now-a-days.
In democracy we find Electoral frauds. It is an illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result, whether by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates, or both. Also called voter fraud, the mechanisms involved include illegal voter registration, intimidation at polls, and improper vote counting.
Taking kickback is another form of corruption. It is called as an official's share of misappropriated funds allocated from his or her organization to an organization involved in corrupt bidding. For example, when a politician who is in charge of choosing how to spend some public funds gives a contract to a company that is not the best bidder, or allocate more than they deserve. In this case, the company benefits, and in exchange for betraying the public, he receives a kickback payment, which is a portion of the sum the company received. This sum itself may be all or a portion of the difference between the actual (inflated) payment to the company and the (lower) market-based price that would have been paid had the bidding been competitive.
Another example of a kickback would be if a judge receives a portion of the profits that a business makes in exchange for his judicial decisions. Kickbacks are not limited to government officials; any situations in which people are entrusted to spend funds that do not belong to them are susceptible to this kind of corruption.
In the private sector, corruption increases the cost of business through the price of illicit payments themselves, the management cost of negotiating with officials, and the risk of breached agreements or detection. Although some claim corruption reduces costs by cutting bureaucracy, the availability of bribes can also induce officials to contrive new rules and delays. Openly removing costly and lengthy regulations are better than covertly allowing them to be bypassed by using bribes. Where corruption inflates the cost of business, it also distorts the playing field, shielding firms with connections from competition and thereby sustaining inefficient firms.
Corruption also generates economic distortions in the public sector by diverting public investment into capital projects where bribes and kickbacks are more plentiful. Officials may increase the technical complexity of public sector projects to conceal or pave the way for such dealings, thus further distorting investment. Corruption also lowers compliance with construction, environmental, or other regulations, reduces the quality of government services and infrastructure, and increases budgetary pressures on government.
Corruption facilitates environmental destruction. Corrupt countries may formally have legislation to protect the environment, it cannot be enforced if their officials can easily be bribed. The same applies to social rights worker protection, unionization prevention, and child labor. Violation of these laws rights enables corrupt countries to gain illegitimate economic advantage in the international market. It should not be permitted otherwise.
The Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen has observed that "there is no such thing as an apolitical food problem." While drought and other naturally occurring events may trigger famine conditions, it is government action or inaction that determines its severity, and often even whether or not a famine will occur. Governments with strong tendencies towards kleptocracy can undermine food security even when harvests are good. Officials often steal state property. In Bihar, India, more than 80% of the subsidized food aid to poor is stolen by corrupt officials. Similarly, food aid is often robbed at gunpoint by governments, criminals, and warlords alike, and sold for a profit. We have seen many examples of this nature.
The scale of humanitarian aid to the poor and unstable regions of the world grows, but it is highly vulnerable to corruption, with food aid, construction and other highly valued assistance as the most at risk. Food aid is directly and physically diverted from its intended destination, or indirectly through the manipulation of assessments, targeting, registration and distributions to favor certain groups or individuals. Elsewhere, in construction and shelter, the corrupt people find numerous opportunities for diversion and profit through substandard workmanship, kickbacks for contracts and favoritism in the provision of valuable shelter material. Thus while humanitarian aid agencies are usually most concerned about aid being diverted by including too many recipients themselves are most concerned about exclusion.
Corruption is not specific to poor, developing, or transition countries. In western countries, cases of bribery and other forms of corruption in all possible fields exist: under-the-table payments made to reputed surgeons by patients attempting for out-of-turn surgeries, bribes paid by suppliers to the automotive industry in order to sell low-quality connectors used for instance in safety equipment such as airbags, bribes paid by suppliers to manufacturers of defibrillators (to sell low-quality capacitors), contributions paid by wealthy parents to the "social and culture fund" of a prestigious university in exchange for it to accept their children, bribes paid to obtain diplomas, financial and other advantages granted to unionists by members of the executive board of a car manufacturer in exchange for employer-friendly positions and votes, etc. Examples are endless. These various manifestations of corruption ultimately present a danger for the public health; they discredit specific, essential institutions or social relationships.
Corruption also affects the various components of sports activities (referees, players, medical and laboratory staff involved in anti-doping controls, members of national sport federation and international committees deciding about the allocation of contracts and competition places). The recent Common Wealth Games Scam in India is one of its burning examples.
Fighting Against Corruption:
There are many forms of corrupt practices affecting us in many ways. Measuring corruption statistically is difficult if not impossible due to the illicit nature of the transaction and imprecise definitions of corruption. While "corruption" indices first appeared in 1995 with the Corruption Perceptions Index CPI, all of these metrics address different proxies for corruption, such as public perceptions of the extent of the problem.
Transparency International, an anti-corruption NGO, pioneered this field with the CPI, first released in 1995. This work is often credited with breaking a taboo and forcing the issue of corruption into high level development policy discourse. Transparency International currently publishes three measures, updated annually: a CPI (based on aggregating third-party polling of public perceptions of how corrupt different countries are); a Global Corruption Barometer (based on a survey of general public attitudes toward and experience of corruption); and a Bribe Payers Index, looking at the willingness of foreign firms to pay bribes. The Corruption Perceptions Index is the best known of these metrics, though it has drawn much criticism and may be declining in influence.
The World Bank collects a range of data on corruption, including survey responses from over 100,000 firms worldwide and a set of indicators of governance and institutional quality. Moreover, one of the six dimensions of governance measured by the Worldwide Governance Indicators is Control of Corruption, which is defined as "the extent to which power is exercised for private gain, including both petty and grand forms of corruption, as well as 'capture' of the state by elites and private interests." While the definition itself is fairly precise, the data aggregated into the Worldwide Governance Indicators is based on any available polling: questions range from "is corruption a serious problem?" to measures of public access to information, and not consistent across countries.

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