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Source: The post is based on the article “Petty, ugly & costly: Karnataka is proof how much ‘small’ corruption hurts India, reputationally & ultimately economically” published in The Times of India on 7th March 2023.
Syllabus: GS – 2 – Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability.
Relevance: About petty corruption in India.
News: Successive raids in Karnataka have unearthed huge sums of money stashed through petty corruption.
About petty corruption in India
Big-ticket ‘scams’ dominate the conversation about corruption. But the research estimates suggest that petty corruption in India is bigger than ‘scams’.
For instance, in 2020, a report based on a survey on corruption in Asia concluded that India has the highest rate of bribery and use of personal contacts in accessing public services. Many of the respondents indicated that was the only way to access services such as government documents.
Note: India ranked 85th out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index, 2022, with a score below the global average. Within India, Karnataka has a poor record.
What is the reason for increased petty corruption cases in India?
The reasons include a) information asymmetry, b) poor grievance redressal mechanisms, and c) the disproportionate power of different arms of the state.
Speed money is one of the most common manifestations of the system as the bureaucracy is not going to be penalised for delays.
How one can tackle petty corruption?
Two quick ways in which Karnataka and other states can deter petty corruption is to implement both RTI and state Right to Service Acts. This will help offset information asymmetry and minimise the opportunities for speed money.