By: Ishu Kumar (Communicating Reality Intern, CCS)
As the Baba Circus unfolds, we bring you 10 innovative ways to tackle corruption from around the world. In our June 3 blogpost we had argued that mass scale corruption is the consequence of economic repression. While that holds, we believe that increasing economic freedom needs to be complemented with innovative social thinking for making the transition to a corruption free society. Like all top 10 lists, we begin with numero ten.
10. In the world’s most troubled regions like Afghanistan, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation supports a mobile banking service that pays police salaries through cellular transactions. A small way to ensure that those who protect lives get paid what they deserve and no one eats the cherry off their pie.
8. Kautilya’s Arthashastra lists 40 ways of embezzlement of “public funds” by government officials. Kautilya recommends use of spies to find the corrupt, and recommends fines several times the loss to the exchequer. For example Kautilya says: “Whoever lessens a fixed amount of income or enhances the expenditure is guilty of causing the loss of revenue. Herein a fine of four times the loss shall be imposed.”
7. Sudanese-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim set about with the Ibrahim Prize for African leaders. He wondered why the continent with the richest natural resources had the poorest people. The award gives $5 million to an African leader who is not corrupt and leads office peacefully; it also provides an annual $200,000 award. Sadly, they haven’t had a winner for the past two years.
6. 5th Pillar, a non-governmental organization came up with the idea of a currency note of Rs 0! The Zero Rupee notes can be given by citizens to officials who solicit bribes for performing legitimate public services
5. Sanjay Uvach – an entrepreneur from Bihar – decided that all he wants to do is blog about corruption. A great initiative proving that social media and online communication is the new viral form of communication which spreads messages and points faster than ever. The blogger says “Just like the Freedom Movement of the 40s and the Economic Liberalization of 90s, our nation today is in the need of a basic paradigm shift”.
4. The Tata Group in India launched a campaign from their Tea division, Jaago Re. They put out interesting videos and advertisement campaigns with the slogan Khilao Mat, Pilao to gain awareness amongst people.
3. Singapore, the worlds least corrupt country has reached this point because of both economic freedom and policy actions initiated by Lee Kuan Yew. He thought that to tackle the problem of corruption amongst public officials, government ought to pay them at par with those in the private sector. Though expensive, it worked well for the small island nation.
2. Shaffi Mather, a Ted India speaker and founder of 1298 for Ambulance, investigates corruption through economics terms coming to the conclusion that both the demand and supply are extremely high. He wishes to start a for-profit organization working towards fighting corruption. Watch Shaffi Mather: A new way to fight corruption
1. The Honesty Canteen Campaign in Indonesia lets kids walk into an unattended canteen where they can “buy” items and pay a price they deem appropriate. Officials say this kind of a movement at the school level promotes honesty amongst students which they then adopt for the rest of their lives.
The opinions expressed in this essay are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CCS.