One of the common arguments put forth by many is that anti-corruption must start from within, at a very personal level. “When you are stopped by a policeman for a traffic violation, would you stop paying a bribe? When you want to get ahead in the line in a government office, would you stop paying a bribe?” they ask. In other words, they believe that in order to eradicate corruption, everyone must pledge not to encourage corruption in any form themselves — it is a question of our personal values and the culture of our society as a whole. Extending this view, they argue that this is the ultimate solution for our corruption woes and that no law is going to have any impact as long as this change does not take shape in the minds of each one of our citizens.
In an ideal world, these are truly noble, idealistic intentions that can certainly help alleviate corruption. The reality in today’s India, however, is very different. A policemen accepts a bribe because he simply can’t make ends meet with the salary he receives. Besides, he knows that this is a safe and easy way to make money without getting into trouble. The reason why he is looking to make extra money is because the salary he receives is not commensurate with the increasing cost of living.
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